Hi! I am a member of the 2412 Robototes and would like to know, what do other teams have on their annual inventory list? I am in charge of managing inventory this year and would like to know where to start. Thanks!
Every year over the summer we empty out our storage, go part by part adding everything in our inventory to a spreadsheet, then re-group everything properly. Once everything is inventoried, we decide how we want our storage to be organized and put everything back in its new place. Then we go over our inventory list and decide what we need to order new for the upcoming season.
Despite doing this each summer, everything still seems to manage to get out of place by the end of the season. This inventory is critical for us to know what we have and what we need, and put it in a place where we can easily find it during the season when we need it.
Do you have a specific list of parts you need going into each season? How many people do you need for your process? How long does that take?
Nothing static from season to season. We reevaluate what parts we think we’ll need every year based on the parts we used in previous seasons and what we’re pretty sure we’ll need next season.
I’d say the whole process takes a handful of members about a day or two. It’s a decent way to get new mechanical members acquainted with the parts we commonly use.
One note: the process goes a lot faster if you physically mark the tooth count on all of your gears/sprockets/pulleys when you first get them. Counting teeth is long, tedious work. If you can save yourself that time every year by marking the parts when you first get them (or the first time you do an inventory for parts you already have), that will significantly cut down the time it takes.
Our team maintains accurate inventories of the following:
- Robot radios
- Pneumatic cylinders (spreadsheet provided for example)
- Timing belts
We don’t have a strict accounting of anything else, but our veteran team members do have a good idea of what we have on hand, and this informs our design and prototyping efforts.
Here is a short video of our storage room, taken about 6 months ago.
AriMB is doing it the (IMO) best way, it is best to know how much of any given item you have so when you are at home you don’t have to wait to order something until you get back to the shop. While you are doing this if you don’t already have organizers take the time to get them and make sure EVERY part has a place the faster you can find something the more time you can put towards building.
1293 has a named list and inventory of batteries.
Laptops don’t generally get inventoried, as we only have a couple and one of them dying would be notable enough to get immediate attention.
Robot materials have a spreadsheet with where each item is supposed to live, though we don’t try to track down to the individual gusset or rivet. Part of this is the manpower suck that constant inventory would do, part of this is because our inventory needs are often adapting to the state of the art.
Our budget and manpower resources don’t lend themselves to grabbing the bleeding-edge stuff, and the packrat tendencies occasionally yield interesting finds (say, 2006-era Skyway hubs in with our wheel spacers). I push for the more advanced stuff (say, finally getting some Talon SRXs on spec to give our programmers something to sink their teeth into), our teacher pushes back (budget!), and we find a balance that works (SRXs on the arm, old-school Talon SRs on the drivetrain). Keeping track of that drift to newer things is something we haven’t attempted to document yet.
948’s electrical subteam tries to keep an accurate inventory of our batteries and their internal resistances, and every major pneumatics component. We have also started attempting inventorying every single component that we own over this offseason (we’ll see how it goes)
What is this “inventory” thing of which you speak?
|RoboHawks 346 inventory
Blue Banners re-supply
lead mentors see above
As for actually tracking inventory, I’m thinking of using Zoho Inventory (which also has a slack integration). Although there is a lot to Zoho, the free plan should provide enough to track parts. Anyone else try this? If interested, I can post later once we implement it and see how it goes.
What category do you put the robot parts or tools that acquire legs after storage? Each year it’s something different.
Is there some kind of Theory or Law that in order to find the part you want you must look for a different part?
@Billfred Could I see your teams spreadsheet?
(Add Part Name) [motors, limit switches, MCs]
- what type?
- how many?
Repeat until every part is accounted for, remember to write this in a doc, print and hang on the wall for next year.