Looking around, Joe the installer asks, “Where is the faucet for the kitchen sink? I thought I saw it yesterday in the garage, right behind some boxes.”

“Gee, I don’t know,” replies Bob, the helper, “I think it was delivered last week. Ask our customer Mrs. Jones if she has seen it.”

Ever overheard or been part of such a conversation, or had to search for a product you know should be on site but can’t locate?

Kitchen projects have more product line items to control than any other room in the house, with inventory that includes cabinetry, countertops, appliances, flooring, wall covering, lighting, and finish items. It is critical to have a system in place to control the process from selection through installation. To avoid mistakes involving missing items, create a simple checklist that includes every product that will be used for a job. You may want to use an electronic spreadsheet like the one below.

Customize the form by adding or deleting columns to accommodate your specific needs. Another important aspect is to track customer involvement in selections. Document these choices by keeping, or asking the customer to provide, information sheets with design and installation specifications from each product manufacturer. You could also add a column to indicate customer approval or to check off receipt of these information sheets. —Morton Block is a an award-winning designer, training consultant, author, and speaker. mortonb@comcast.net.