All organisations have important assets they need to monitor, maintain and manage, but we’re not just talking about stocks and shares. From laptops and books, to desks and chairs, schools have hundreds of items, both physical and virtual, that need to be managed in some way.
Most schools will keep an inventory of some kind, but doing this on paper or an excel spreadsheet is time-consuming and, well, rather boring. Couldn’t that time be better spent doing something else? What if you have a fire and lose that inventory? Do you have a backup?
Asset management software enables you to keep a handle on everything your school owns and is responsible for, but what does asset management actually involve?
Hard and soft assets
Asset management concerns the monitoring and recording two types of assets: hard and soft. A hard asset is any physical object that is either owned or maintained by the school, such as keys, laptops, books and the school minibus.
Soft assets, on the other hand, are important documents or procedures that need to be monitored and maintained. This may include inspection documents, fire procedures or financial documents. Most organisations think to manage their hard assets, but they often forget about their soft ones. If these aren’t backed up or maintained on a regular basis, though, your school could get into real trouble and there could be huge repercussions.
How does asset management software work? What can it do?
You could choose to monitor and manage every soft and hard asset manually, but this is a time-consuming task which often yields inaccurate and incomplete lists of items. Asset management software allows you to monitor every important item; to see where it is, its financial value and even whether it’s due to be updated or replaced. In fact, your software will actually send you a notification when certain things are due, such as asbestos and legionella checks or risk assessments.
If you forget to carry out these critical tasks, the school could face some serious fines. Further, it’s important to know the lifecycle of every asset you have. When are those new iPads going to need replacing? How long have the students been using that version of Windows? Knowing the answers to these questions is vital, otherwise your technology could break down on you without warning.
Teachers won’t be able to do their jobs properly with a lack of resources, and the old assets won’t be replaced straight away if the school doesn’t have enough budget set aside. Asset management can help you prepare for the future, as well as document the past and present.
It’s not unusual for teachers or indeed students to borrow school property, like books or tablets, but it can be difficult to monitor who has what and when. If you don’t make a record of who is borrowing what, it’s quite likely you’ll ‘lose’ a lot of the assets which were loaned out – a costly mistake to make. Asset management software makes all of this easy; you can even document when you expect the item to be returned, and chase up anyone who is well past their due date.
Why use asset management software?
No one wants to ever think the worst is going to happen to them, but sometimes it does. Even if you put the appropriate measures in place, fire and theft can still take place, often when you least expect it. Any school that has suffered a theft or fire will know that the time it takes to get everything back to normal largely depends on the length of the insurance claim process. Essentially, if you don’t have an accurate document of all the assets lost and how much they’re worth to hand, your insurance claim is going to take a long time to process.
This is one of the main reasons to use asset management software: it makes the insurance claim a smooth and simple process. You can sleep easy at night knowing that the school is well-protected should a fire break out or a theft occur, and everything will be back up and running in no time.
Moreover, when you have so many assets, it can be difficult to monitor how much of each item you have and where they are located. Unfortunately, this can result in the purchase of duplicate items, and we all know schools don’t have money to burn. Asset management can prevent this, as you can see exactly what you have straight away – you can even use the software to relocate items which aren’t being utilised in one area but could be useful elsewhere.
The same can be done with software. After all, why would you want to invest yet more money into programs that aren’t being used? Asset management software can help you evaluate the value of your software investment, allowing you to make informed decisions instead of second-guessing.
Since your software allows you to see where all your assets are, there’s no need to conduct annual audits anymore. As you well know, this manual task takes up a lot of time and resources (not to mention mental investment), which could be better spent elsewhere.
Ultimately, managing your assets can help save you time, money and stress. Whatever software you choose to use to monitor and control your assets, make sure it’s easy to use, does what you need it to and is cost effective, like ours! You can find out more information on our School inventory Manager.
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