From a technical standpoint, inventory management or asset management is the management of stock or inventory. In many educational institutions like high schools, universities, and colleges, these would be assets like stationery, teaching aids, chairs, tables, books, etc. The management of inventory is critical in running a business efficiently and productively. This is why successful schools and educational institutions need to emulate their business counterparts. If a school maintains an inventory, the institution chooses to purchase items at a fixed price. This main objective is to sell the items at a marked up price from the buy price. Failing to account for inventory means the loss of income for a school and should be prevented at any cost. This post highlights a few ideas to manage your school's inventory effectively.
Ideally, asset theft is expensive if you're working on a tight budget and can also be disruptive for your students and staff. This is especially critical if the theft touches on your IT infrastructure. While it's not always possible to curb theft if your school is a target, a robust school asset tracking software can significantly lower this risk. The advantage is that assets can be tracked and monitored through the use of such digital software. Any school staff or student looking to hire equipment can request through the system. This means you will have the appropriate data to assess whether to approve or reject such requests. Using an inventory management tool reduces any potential unauthorized requests, and informal exchanges can be a thing of the past.
The first step is to create an inventory if you don't have one already. While this isn't as simple as making a list of assets, ensure you include as much detail about each item as you can. Eventually, it's up to you to decide what details are more vital. We recommend that you include data elements such as condition, quality, building, and room location, estimated value, and the serial number if it's available. If your institution has an outdated inventory, take some time to examine it and rectify all the information. Generally, it's practically impossible to maintain an inventory if you're unsure whether the current information is error-free. Avoid deleting any item from the inventory even if it's been written off, disposed or sold off.
One of the notable benefits of using inventory management is that you will visualize the whole process becoming more coordinated. When schools use inventory management software, many are forced to make auditing of all assets they possess. Additionally, they will also register them within the software. In simple words, this means they have one place where they can turn to have a detailed description of their assets. In the long haul, this makes the management of assets easier for the school's administration.
You don't have to experience long queues filling out forms for inventory managers or students and staff who want to access them. The process is much faster and easier if you're using the correct type of software. It is through such software that educators and students wishing to check out an item can do so. Additionally, they can only do this if they're allowed to do so. This helps to exclude unauthorized stock misuse. Procuring an item and managing such inventory helps ensure that everything flows smoothly with no noticed drags.
Every request for procurement, use, requisition, and disbursal of assets is processed through inventory management. As we mentioned above, all school property is also tracked using inventory management. This reduces instances of one-time borrowing or any informal exchanges. Ideally, this is how many educational institutions lose track of their property. Additionally, it also means there's a significant reduction in the theft or loss of school property.
Accounting for each item in inventory management is vital as this allows your school's store manager to be aware of things you have or don't have. This is also when the store manager discovers any variances or discrepancies in the report compared to the store's actual items. If you take longer to initiate inventory audits, the higher chances you will have of errors occurring. Over time, this makes it challenging for everyone to reconcile the items you have versus what is on paper.
The benefits of inventory in a school system cannot be overstated. Having a functional inventory equals a successful and detail-oriented school store. Additionally, we also recommend a periodic backup of data to avoid any unplanned emergencies. If you plan to keep paper records, you should also include digital versions of the identical records. You can use external drives for this or opt for the cloud.