Keeping track of continually moving items within the education sector is an increasingly critical aspect of the day to day activity. Although there is often someone within an organisation who controls the finances and purchasing and has the responsibility for tracking assets, many do not have a working asset register in place but manually monitor assets via a spreadsheet.
For those who have been told that they need to have an accurate asset register and be able to track the location and status of assets more easily but are not sure about the practicality of creating an asset register; or for those who understand the process of barcoding and using scanners but again, are not sure how they go about it, RAM has pulled together some tips and questions to consider before embarking on a new asset management project that we’ve taken from our experience of working with other schools, academies and colleges, which we hope helps those looking at ways to improve asset management processes:
1. Asset Type
The first step is to review an asset base and decide what is a sensible level of detail that needs to be recorded for each asset. When it comes to IT equipment, the make, model and serial number are usually captured but for desks and chairs the supplier might be the only piece of information that is recordable. From digital cameras, laptops and tablets to desks, chairs and whiteboards, does each piece need to be barcoded? Or just those over a certain value? Does each table and chair need to be listed or just a note of the number needed per classroom?
Depending on how big a school, academy or college is and how many sites it has, do assets need to be recorded at building and department level or drilled down further into classroom number and those cupboard based? Think about what location structure is needed and where assets currently are. It’s important to remember that it is not possible to track every small item and it can be advisable not to get bogged down into too much granular detail for those below a certain value such as stationeary.
3. Plan Ahead
- Resources - how much IT resource currently exists in the organisation? Is there enough resource to tag assets in-house or will external help be required? If resources are low, a cloud-based system could help by removing the need for a lot of IT support
- Funding - how will a new asset management system project be funded? How long is a new system required, less than 5 years, over 10 years? It could be better to pay up front for a licence and receive a lower annual fee or purchase as software as a service and pay an annual subscription rather than a one off cost, spreading the cost over a number of years
- Project team – keep to a small team and agree roles early on. Try to ensure individuals do not get too focused on the smaller activity and that attentions remain on the bigger picture of keeping the asset register up to date.
There is no right or wrong way to track assets, it’s what works for the individual organisation but it really doesn’t need to be a complex system. By considering the above points and using the experience from others, it can be a seamless move to a fixed asset register and improving the way assets are tracked.
If you need help with barcoding assets at the start of a project, an external supplier can assist. They can also help in designing a form with relevant headings and asset locations, and populating a spreadsheet before software is installed or after implementation.
RAM would be happy to help steer you in the best direction by sharing what we’ve seen has worked in other educational organisations and what hasn’t. If you would like to know more about asset registers and asset tracking software, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0)1689 892 137.