Why asset and inventory management is important to the education sector
Asset management for education in the 21st century means preparing for a globalised and connected workplace, where technology resources are incorporated in the classroom and put in the hands of teachers and students. And with so many shared assets, resource allocation needs to be efficient, and utilisation high to maximise value.
Assets in the education sector can encompass an enormous range of items from buildings and the fixed and moveable furnishings they contain; equipment such as laptops, projectors, tablets and other high-value devices; office and school supplies; IT assets like software programs; and more.
Administrators are required to account for these expensive assets; their whereabouts, condition, and the current value for auditors and stakeholders. And when there are many locations/campuses under an administrator’s control, locating assets can be time-consuming, and costly if items cannot be found.
Schools receiving funding are required to account for very specific and up-to-date asset details in order to maintain their funding compliance. Providing anything less to funders puts schools at risk of losing much-needed money.
And although most items are covered by insurance, proper asset management procedures must be followed on purchases, ownership and loss or disposal of these items, to ensure accurate and up-to-date information is maintained and reported.
With technology spending on the rise tracking equipment, location and ownership, plus transfers from other schools or business units, as well as maintenance, is even more imperative when looking to reduce spending.
Educational facilities have a wide variety of consumable inventory as well as assets and equipment that must be accounted for and maintained. And however this equipment is purchased, they are valuable assets and need to be managed to satisfy stakeholders involved.
Getting it right the first time
Given the wide range of equipment schools and universities have to deal with, asset management across educational institutions can be a complex and expensive process.
Getting it right the first time around has never been more important in relation to tagging, capture, audit and reconciliation of your assets and register. Efficient and accurate data collection of new equipment information and auditing of existing equipment is vital if the maximum value is to be realised.
Tagging and capturing asset data may not seem like rocket science, but doing it correctly is critical to achieving a successful asset management outcome. The seemingly smallest details can mean the difference between success and failure of your entire asset management strategy.
Information Technology (IT) asset management is an even bigger challenge when trying to satisfying accountability and maximum usage.
Here are just some equipment management challenges faced by the education industry when trying to satisfying accountability and maximum usage of critical assets.
Tracking equipment; securing funding and preventing loss
Asset tracking for education is not only important to prevent losses; schools have to adhere to strict reporting requirements regarding funding and financial donations. Accurate reporting on the fact that money and goods are being used for the purposes they are intended and are in good working condition, ensures funding and compliance requirements are observed.
Accurate reporting will assist with budget planning, secure increased grants through proven transparency, and safeguard non-profit funds in the future.
A centralised asset tracking database that is updated in real-time allows you to be confident when auditors come or stakeholder reports need to be drafted and it ensures you can always find assets when you need to.
Manage loaned and leased assets effectively and reduce costs
It is very easy to lose oversight when loaning out equipment. Keeping track of due dates, who last used which item, and the equipment’s condition becomes time-consuming if you are manually searching through documents to retrieve information.
If an item is returned in dubious condition, it can be hard to verify or prove that the damage was caused by a specific person, resulting in unnecessary confusion or disputes. Equally important is the obligation to maintain, track, and manage leased assets.
Scanning equipment when they are issued or returned to/from storage or ownership each time will make locating this equipment in the future easier and provide clarity around who last used the item.
Benefits of managing school inventory
Generally, in the education sector inventory or stock assets can be items such as stationery, furniture, blackboards, teaching aids such as overhead projectors, televisions, video players, DVDs, library resources such as books and magazines, etc. Inventory management in schools, therefore, is ‘asset management’ and managing these tools and resources ensures they are correctly cared for.
Using a comprehensive asset management solution, you can make full and effective use of all the resources at your disposal.
Strategic asset management; renewal plans, forecasting and budgeting
Schools have governance requirements around asset replacement and are required to maintain an Asset Renewal Plan which generally facilitates a five-year periodic replacement of equipment, and covers all items of capital assets and higher cost portable and attractive equipment (for example, laptops).
Updated every year, renewal plans benefit significantly from accurate asset data as they are consulted in budgeting. An accurate asset register will produce reports that contribute greatly to your governance, risk and compliance.
Effective asset tracking in education requires your asset management software to interact with many functions and departments as assets can touch many areas.
A sustainable Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) organisation should have a framework and management structure which include clearly defined roles, responsibilities, activities and systems to analyse and manage each recognised aspect of GRC.
Reduce expenditure; deter theft and loss of productivity
Educational establishments are spending more and more on new IT hardware and software. However with little governance over the process for distribution, asset monitoring and accurate reporting, devices can go missing, increasing spend and making it difficult to get approval for new purchases for mobile assets such as laptops, tablets, and projectors.
Implementing an asset management tool will not only facilitate the tracking of loaned and leased equipment but also how many have been distributed and how many are still available. Streamlining distribution reduces spending on technology, and reduce excessive inventory.
Maintenance, equipment downtimes and IT support
Education assets need to function when they are put to use. In this high-availability environment, asset selection is important, and maintenance management is crucial. To ensure a smooth transition between asset uptimes and downtimes, scheduling alerts, so you receive (for instance) an email when computers in Lab A are scheduled to be serviced, is invaluable.
This proactive maintenance strategy reduces unnecessary failings or malfunctions, reducing costly losses in instructional time. In addition, students having technical issues with their equipment should have access to a knowledge portal for “self-help”, reducing costs via the reduced number of calls, emails and resources needed from IT support.
Centralised asset tracking is cutting asset management costs in schools
At Hardcat we have been providing asset management and tracking solutions to leading universities and the schools sector globally for over 32 years, utilising a combination of barcode scanning and RFID technology in conjunction with our world-renowned asset management software solutions.
In addition, our tools will help you to demonstrate that your critical assets meet compliance objectives irrespective of whether they are for internal governance, work health and safety, occupational health and safety or any other statutory or warranty obligations.
Easy asset tracking with your mobile device
Our easy to use mobile asset tracking technology and audit tools plus barcode and/or RFID tracking software provides our customers with the technology to effectively and accurately manage every aspect of their critical assets, over its full lifecycle, while providing real-time asset registry accuracy and effective auditing.
Simply understanding the varied asset base and then consolidating supplier contracts, procurement savings of over $1.5M were realised.
Using Hardcat to document the IT asset profile of a large tertiary education establishment, operational costs were reduced by 25% which equated to a saving of $400,000 pa
Hardcat enabled us to control the university’s extensive asset spread with state-of-the-art barcode enabled database solution.
Barcode audits greatly reduced the manpower and time it takes to conduct these asset audits. One audit would normally take two days, now completed in 6.5 hours.
More than one way to deploy Hardcat solutions
HardcatCloud is a cloud-hosted deployment built on the industry’s best data centre and network architecture. It leverages a wide variety of security features, automated monitoring and reporting services to ensure our clients have the best asset management experience (and reduce IT spend) in a stable, secure environment.
Leverage our extensive knowledge; ensure best practice and compliance
Implementation is effective only when it’s configured to the specific needs of your business. To achieve this, our professional services team works closely with you through every aspect of your asset management, from business analysis, requirements, configuration, data migration, through to roll out and beyond.
For your long-term success, we are available to ensure that your asset management strategy remains effective as your business evolves. Through our partners, we offer independent audits and advice on your compliance with the ISO 55000 series of Asset Management Standards to achieve best practice asset management. Read more on effective asset management.
Ensure your new asset management regime starts its journey with an accurate asset register in a fraction of the time and cost that would be incurred using your own staff. The Hardcat team will create an accurate up to date asset register that satisfies all your reporting, compliance and auditing requirements
Streamlined asset tracking in education
- Asset operations – ensure higher levels of regulatory compliance
- Asset acquisitions – visibility of asset possession and ownership
- Cohesive inventory and consumables management
- Track loaned equipment and history of ownership
- Asset maintenance – schedule service alerts
- Centralised help desk functionality with a knowledge base
- Asset movement – reduce time looking for assets
- Asset auditing and stocktaking – accurate and timely
- Support insurance claims in the event of fire, theft or other losses
- Permissions based on specific user roles for greater security
- Improve asset recycling, plan for replacement and eventual disposal