ordering and inventory
I have an order guide for my main supplier set up in an excel spreadsheet. I separate it by location in the restaurant (Expo Line, prep, bibb hall, dry storage, cooler 1, cooler 2, freezer, chemical, paper). I do the same for my smallwares, produce, and so on. I'm a fan of using as little paper as possible so my guide is good for two weeks, plus it gives me an immediate look at recent history when doing an order.
In terms of keeping it in order and whatnot I find a good old filing cabinet in conjunction with folders on my office computer works well. That way I have a daily log of what I ordered, so if there's a question I just go to my produce drawer and look for the date and check whether or not I double ordered the maitake mushrooms that I happened to notice in the prep area during my morning walk through.
We have extensive systems to run accurate par levels, so I don't have that on my order guides, I just check it when sitting to do the order.
I use Excel spreadsheets for food cost accounting. My inventory and order sheets are in Word. I still work do a lot of work on paper. My order and inventory sheets are organized by category rather than location. Even though I have considered organizing the worksheet by location (main walk-in, produce & dairy walk-in, freezer, storeroom, BBQ supplies and chemical room for me), I'm happy with my current scheme.
Weekly menus are typed into Word, printed and modified in ink once the week begins (to avoid miscommunication from multiple copies floating around). I markup the master copy of the menu with purchasing quantities and use it to construct my orders. My sous chef consults the master menu when making pulls and planning production.
I was using an inventory phone app (that's since gone under) at a job in the big city several years ago. My camp is in an area with poor cell phone reception, so that's not an option.
Before I answer, a quick disclaimer: I am employed by Gordon Food Service, so my insight comes from that experience.
Gordon has NextGen ordering. It is a web-based platform that integrates a visually driven ordering system that folds into an inventory manager. As prices change, the inventory is adjusted. Further, there is a recipe collection that allows you to add your own recipes or use the existing the pieces. Those, too, will update with pricing.
Ok, so that's my pitch. I will also say that I recently came out of kitchen operations and doing inventory was never a pleasant experience. Using a good web-based system makes the task easier and, more importantly, more accurate. If you can integrate an order guide with inventory system, life is grand.
I hope I didn't come off sounding like an advertisement. Again, I am a recent kitchen emigre, so I feel your pain.