Expanding the Awareness and Adoption for Government Property Management Standards in Your Company
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With the increasing scrutiny from Department of Defense and its auditing agency DCMA on Government Property Management system, many government contractors find themselves in an urgency to improve the processes in managing Government Property. Government Property Management system is one of the 6 required business systems in DFARs and DCMA is responsible for auditing the system in government contractor organizations.
If the contractor is in a manufacturing business, improving the Government Property Management process will involve many stakeholders, including people on the floor repairing and assembling assets, tagging assets, and people who are conducting regular inventory audits. They are what the FAR will call “Property Custodians”. In order to implement the Government Property Management system and deliver the 10 outcomes as defined in FAR 52.245-1, the Property Custodians must be on board with the policies and procedures.
The title “Property Custodians“ suggests real responsibilities. They are the guardians of government property, some of them are strategically important to our nation’s security. However, tracking Government Property (GFP and CAP) in a way that is compliant to FAR/DFARs is not their primary responsibilities. So how do you introduce Government Property Management process to a large group of employees, that may view the new processes and rules as “extra work” or “interruption to their regular job.”
In the past few months, we have been working with the team in Cobham, to implement our Government Property Management system eQuip!. We have witnessed how they are solving this problem. It comes down to 3 key takeaways.
- Obtain senior leadership’s support to the Government Property Management business processes and system
Many employees in Cobham work with Government Property. In order to improve the practice for managing Government Property, Cobham needs to expand the awareness and adoption of Government Property Management standards among them. With the support of their senior leadership, the core implementation team was able to successfully train a lot of employees on their government property management policy and procedures.
- Implement the Government Property Management system within a core group first, before expanding it to the “Property Custodians”
Tharus Bradley, CPPA, is the Government Property Administrator at Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions. He is instrumental in selecting eQuip! to be the system of record for managing Government Property. Tharus said he has selected eQuip! because “it is easy to use, and intuitive. It allows Property Custodians to learn a new system in support of continuous improvement.” To further ease the burden of learning a new system, Tharus has set up limited permissions in the eQuip! system for the Custodians. They will only focus on moving assets, assigning assets, shipping assets, and auditing assets.
“At the end of the day, we have to understand that managing Government Property in a FAR/DFAR compliant way is everyone’s responsibility.”
- Invest in training, training, training
After the core group import the data, set up the workflows, set up the roles for individual users, it’s time to train the users on how to use it.
When it comes to training, the core implementation team in Cobham spares no effort. They printed the User Guides, which is a costly investment. They designed the first training program with careful thoughts on everything from choice of training room to agenda.
You may be surprised at what actually is a big obstacle for people to adopt a new system. Sometimes, just the hassle of setting up a new user log in ID and password could turn people off. That’s why the Cobham implementation team insisted that all the users come to the classroom, and set up a new user log in ID next to their peers. James Buck, Senior Manager of Finance and Government Accounting at Cobham, speaking from his experience in implementing new software systems,
“Having everyone in the room walking through the system log in process is a big deal. Every time when we introduce a new system, I found that learning how to log in the new system is half of the battle.”
Implementing a new enterprise software system is never an easy task. Introducing a new system in a short period of time and among many users is even harder. The Cobham team did it in less than 3 months. This shows, that with the right leadership, tactful planning, and the willingness to learn and improve, it can be done.