Storage of Materials - Stores Custody


Safe custody of materials received in stores happens to be the foremost activity and concern of any stores.
Materials received from various sources need to be stored properly in Stores for ensuring the proper upkeep of material till its use, to ensure security and safety of the material, the ease of retrieval and handling. The various aspects considered in the storage of material are as given below:

Central stores- Sub stores :

The materials used by multiple users are usually stored at a central stores from where all the users get the material. On the other hand, material which are used in a particular user department only can be stored in a stores nearer to that department itself . Such Stores are Sub stores in which all department / shop/ user specific items and some regularly used central items are stored.

Commodity wise Stores :

The storage of material is also done on the basis of the nature of the commodity being stored as the storage requirement, handling requirement and the precautions to be taken depend ,  to a great extent, on the commodity being stored. For example, Lubricants are stored in a Lubricant stores in drums are located in a central storage from where lubricants can be pumped out to users. Similarly, Refractory bricks & other Refractory items are stored in the Refractory Stores. Gasses are Stored in cylinders in Gas stores. Mechanical & electrical Spares & consumables are stored in the respective Spares Stores/ consumable stores.
Petrol & diesel are stored in centralized storage with pumping facility for dispensing.

Codification / Cataloguing of items:

While using large number of items it is difficult to identify, account and handle the material by its nomenclature alone. There can be near similar nomenclature yet items may be different. So, in order to identify , each item is given a unique code representing that item alone for enabling easy identification, accounting and handling it. The item code thus becomes a the communicating mode for the item in the company and even outside. These item codes while associated with full description of the item are also known as catalogue number of the item. Thus for a scientific management , the items being handled by a stores need to be properly codified. The codes are specific to an item and therefore are non repetitive and unique for each item.

Bin Card :

Bin card is the document in the stores custody where the history of transactions of an item is maintained. There are separate bin cards maintained for each of the stores item under separate catalogue number. Each receipt and issue transactions are posted in the bin card giving the up to date stock position of the item. The item description, unit of transaction and location of items are also maintained in the Bin card. A typical Bin card has two parts , the top of the card and the bottom of the card. Usually, while the top of the card shows the receiving history of the item , the bottom of the card shows issues of the item.
Functionally, when an item is received in the stores, its receipt details are written on the top of the card and thus its history of receiving gets maintained. Similarly, when it is issued from stores , the issue details are written on the bottom of the card to maintain its issue history.
With increasing use of computers now a days, the role of Bin cards is slowly and gradually diminishing and in most of the stores the manual handling of this vital information database has given way to a highly sophisticated computerised system.

Location :

Location of an item in stores is the place where it is stored. The location of the stock of each item is maintained so that any item can be easily traced , located for transactions like receipt & issue.
There are two ways of maintaining item locations: Fixed location & random locations. In case of fixed location system the item is stored in a specific place every time it is received. This fixed location is maintained in bin cards.
In case of random location system, items are stored in different locations based on the
availability of space and corresponding location reference is given on the bin card against the corresponding stock.

Preservation of material :

In any Stores, there is a time lag between the receipt & actual use of the material. Different materials get deteriorated to different extent during the storage period based on the nature of items. So, the items need to be preserved to maintain their useful life. The action taken to maintain the useful life of the material to avoid its deterioration and maintaining its useful life is known as




preservation of material. The useful life is also referred to as Shelf life. Items need to be initially preserved to avoid deterioration during storage and subsequently they need to be verified for any change in their conditions and corrective actions need to be taken to restore the preservation.

Usually, preservation of materials is done in the following manner:

1. Shelf life items monitoring :
Some items have fixed useful life beyond which they become useless. Such items are known as shelf life items & the period within which they continue to have their useful life is known as shelf life. Some of the items having shelf life are : Medicines, chemicals, rubber items, chemicals and reagents etc.
The shelf life information of these items need to be maintained on the bin card or the tags on them so that they can be issued for use before they get deteriorated.

2. Proper Storage :
For maintaining the useful life of the items stored for future use proper storage needs to be ensured. Different materials have different storage requirement for ensuring their useful life & to avoid damage /loss. The items which gets affected by keeping in open weather needs to be stored in the closed storage spaces.
Also, there has to be a customised storage for hazardous materials.


Security & safety aspects of Storage :

While Storing the items care needs to be taken to ensure the security of the items so that the items are available when required. Proper security needs to be maintained to ensure avoidance of  theft/pilferage of items. Costly & pilfer-able items may have to be stored in strong rooms, Safes with lock and key. The movement of items in a store needs to be with proper documentation to ensure accountability as well as precaution against pilferage/damages.
While storing the items it also need to be ensured that these material will not be a safety threat to the persons handling them or the other material in the vicinity.
Thus Storage of materials , also known as Stores Custody is a critical activity of any Stores


Read on ...more Stores topics

Inventory Control
Stores relationship with other Functions
Advantages of a Centralized Store
Responsibilities of Stores
Store Planning and Layout



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