Do You Know Where Your Assets Are? Still Hunting and Tracking Capital Assets and Equipment, Hit-or-Miss? It's Time for Software. (Technology)

By Savarese, John | University Business, June 2002 | Go to article overview

Do You Know Where Your Assets Are? Still Hunting and Tracking Capital Assets and Equipment, Hit-or-Miss? It's Time for Software. (Technology)


Savarese, John, University Business


Big numbers grab attention, and one of the biggest numbers a university has to deal with is the total value of its capital assets and equipment. If you doubt this statement, take a look at the Texas A & M University system: In a recent public request for proposals, the system revealed that it was carrying in its asset database over 100,000 items totaling more than $3 billion. Even for less massive institutions, the sheer number of items included in calculating this total can be enormous, and the job of tracking them as they are acquired, moved, maintained, and retired is daunting. But there are plenty of good reasons to pay attention to this task--time-consuming and tedious though it may be.

Accountability. Every institution wants to exercise good stewardship to make sure that the equipment in its care is properly accounted for. After all, no one wants to have problems verifying the fixed assets records during the financial statement audit.

Regulations. Federal and state requirements provide an added push for public institutions, which now must comply with the phasing-in of GASB 34/35: new guidelines that require capital items to be valued and depreciated in a detailed and accurate manner.

Grants. Institutions with funded research have to fulfill myriad requirements for calculating indirect costs, responding to audit requests, and returning or disposing of equipment after a grant is completed.

Cutting losses. On the positive side, lowering your Loss rate on equipment can return significant savings. Most of us don't even want to think about what happens when a periodic inventory reveals an excessive toss rate.

Keep it running. Finally, maintaining equipment and making good decisions about service contracts and purchasing sources become much easier with accurate records of purchase dates, location, and usage.

Still, doing a good job of managing capital assets and equipment inventory requires cooperation across many functions of the institution: purchasing, business office, physical plant operations, grants management, principal investigators, space planning, and others. The software you use can help this cooperation or hinder it. And if your school is Like many institutions, you may find yourself with legacy databases that grew up in different departments over time, each serving a special purpose. Now you need to pull those records together for better management.

MANAGING INVENTORY, WORK ORDERS, AND SPACE Lansing Community College (MI) wanted a system that would be Web-based, would integrate with its Oracle-based financial system, and would combine inventory, space management, and work orders in a single system.

"Now I can pull up my AutoCAD drawing of a building, Linked to an Oracle database," says Glenn Cerny, chief information officer at Lansing. "I can say, `Give me all the classrooms in this building; and it color-codes them on the drawing. I can see the inventory items in the room. T can even pull a report on any piece of data in the system." Cerny says that his system [Prism Computer's Facilities Administration and Maintenance Information System (FAMIS), www.famissoftware.com] is helping establish better institutional control over equipment. He adds, "Periodic audits can be performed by internal college staff who are not responsible for the equipment."

SCANNING MAKES IT EASIER

If your current system for tracking inventory is too reliant on hand Labor, can software help you do the job quicker and more effectively? Certainly--which is why many institutions have recently decided to take this plunge. One of the advances that has made automated inventory systems so attractive is the improvement of hand scanners. Modern barcode scanners are really full-blown computers, complete with megabytes of storage. Scanner displays now can flash information about the asset, including its manufacturer, model, serial number, description and its current location.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Do You Know Where Your Assets Are? Still Hunting and Tracking Capital Assets and Equipment, Hit-or-Miss? It's Time for Software. (Technology)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.