Warehouse gives buying in bulk a new meaning

By Greg Gelpi

When he buys toilet paper, he buys more than a four-roll pack.

Bryan Nation, the supervisor for the Clayton County schools warehouse, said the school system buys in bulk to save money.

The warehouse, which supplies all of the schools and facilities in the school system, purchases about 1,500 cases of toilet paper each year, which is about 144,000 rolls of toilet paper.

"We handle everything from this facility," the 24-year veteran of the warehouse said. "The only thing that we don't really supply is major roofing supplies."

Office supplies, janitorial supplies, textbooks, instructional materials and government commodities for school nutrition programs are processed through the 128,000 square-foot warehouse, Nation said.

Toilet paper isn't the only paper that the school system buys in bulk, he said. The purchasing department orders about 14 tractor trailer loads of white copy paper in a school year. Each load contains 880 cases of paper.

A staff of six warehouse workers handles an average of 20 tractor-trailer loads each week, he said.

In addition to working a 40-hour a week schedule, Nation said his staff is also on emergency call around the clock.

When Clayton County school students and staff were out of school due to icy conditions earlier this year, warehouse workers continued to process shipments and stock schools as on any other day.

"It's not uncommon for us to come in in the middle of the night," Nation said. "We don't get all those days off."

According to the latest purchasing report presented to the school board, the system purchased $74,140 in copy paper, $6,879 in light bulbs and $10,638 in pencil sharpeners in February.

The warehouse is part of the purchasing department and is one of seven departments housed at the school system's maintenance complex.