4 Critical Features Higher Education Institutions Should Look for in an Inventory Management System
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In our work with with higher education institutions, we have learned a lot about their unique inventory management challenges.
Key challenges for higher education institutions include:
- Buying equipment in large quantities and frequently
- Equipment may be funded by different sources
- Equipment is loaned to faculty members
- Higher Ed institutions are required to do a wall-to-wall inventory audit annually
4 critical features in inventory management
Given these challenges, we believe that high education institutions should be looking for these 4 critical features in an inventory management system:
1) Integration with purchasing system
Connecting the inventory management system to the purchasing system streamlines data entry. The inventory management system should be able to itemize serialized assets when they are purchased in one line-item on the purchase order, so each asset in the same PO line item will have its own barcode and be assigned to its own location.
2) Set-up inventory assets with funding codes
This will make it easy to generate reports for a specific funding source on the use of equipment. This can be automated by connecting the inventory management system to the purchasing system.
3) Tracking equipment easily
Tracking equipment on loan with minimum paperwork in essential to managing inventory efficiently.
With teaching faculty distributed geographically, tracking the equipment on loan can be time consuming. The inventory management system should be able to generate automatic reminders before the equipment is due for return, also allow easy extension of the loan period for the equipment.
What’s better, if the approval can be accomplished in an email transaction on smartphones, this will make it so much easier, and better customer service to faculty members.
4) Efficient audits
Completing annual inventory audit efficiently makes life for school administrators much easier.
With distributed campuses and year-round use for classrooms, it’s no longer a given that summer time is the best time for inventory audits. You need an inventory scanning tool, such as mobile phones, that is highly accessible and easy to use, so you can ask an administrator in that building, or a student intern, to go through different rooms quickly to help scan the inventory.
We have recently completed the implementation of eQuip! inventory system in the System Office of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, which is consisted of more than 10 colleges.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you to improve your inventory management system, please let us know by calling 1-866-845-2416.