How to Complete a 100% Wall-to-Wall Inventory Quickly

We’ve noted before that the Department of Defense is becoming more strict about financial and asset management. In order to meet Defense accountability goals, the DCAA and DCMA have stated that they plan to drastically increase the number of audits performed in the next few years.

The Navy is continuing this trend with its latest Commercial Asset Visibility (CAV) Statement of Work (SOW). The CAV SOW v 7.8, released in August 2019, states that Navy contractors are responsible for maintaining 100% inventory validity. It also states that Navy contractors are responsible for performing a wall-to-wall inventory annually. It should be noted that the wall-to-wall inventory can be replaced with a cycle count inventory, though the inventory must still meet the 100% validity standard.

The Department of Navy states that contractors must complete this 100% wall-to-wall inventory by March 31 annually.

While some contractors may be ready to complete a thorough inventory like this, many will find themselves struggling to meet the deadline. Performing an inventory audit can be a giant task, especially for contractors with large inventories or complex systems. With a strict deadline looming, it can be even more challenging.

Thankfully, there are some strategies and tools that can make this easier. Let’s explore some ways contractors can achieve a thorough inventory quickly.

How to meet CAV SOW v 7.8 requirements:

  • Plan, plan, plan!
  • Break it up
  • Use a modern system
  • Try Parkinson’s Law

Plan, plan, plan

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln

We like this quote because it expresses the importance of planning when undergoing a big project. Planning is essential to determine the scope of the project, who needs to contribute, and the order and number of tasks. By pinning these things down before beginning a project, it enables the project to go more smoothly.

That’s why, before jumping into the inventory audit, make sure you thoroughly plan the Before, During, and After of the audit. It’s also helpful to plan for the worst. Anticipate setbacks and create contingencies in your work schedule. This should give you enough leeway to finish the audit despite (seemingly inevitable) obstacles.

Break it up

Recall the last major project you were a part of. At the start of the project, your team likely talked out a general plan, including who does what. But often, these plans are not granular enough; we assign people to broad duties without specifics.

Thinking back to your last project, was this true? And what was the result? Many times, when duties are not divided clearly and specifically, teams will spend time later assigning tasks.

How many hours do you think get wasted when this happens? How much of this time could have been spent actively working towards a goal?

That’s why, when planning your inventory audit, it’s important to clearly divide the labor. This ensures everyone will know what they’re supposed to be doing and where, and no time is wasted arguing over tasks. By communicating the division of labor, you eliminate confusion and make the audit more manageable.

One easy way to do this is by dividing the audit by location. Make sure they’re also separated into sub-locations, if they aren’t already. Then create a table or spreadsheet with columns for each worker and rows for each location or sub-location. Once you’ve created all assignments, make sure the table is accessible to all relevant workers.

Use a modern system

When the pressure is on, it’s easy for your inventory to get pencil whipped. But in a high stakes inventory audit like this, it becomes even more vital to get everything right. If your asset data is off, you may need to spend precious days (or even weeks) correcting it. Having the right tools can make this easier. That’s because scanners and databases are quicker and less error-prone than spreadsheets and hand-counting.

In addition to improving the performance of an audit, a modern inventory system can make tracking progress and presenting your findings easier. After all, your data is all digital and all in one place. You can create an ad hoc report to help you see how far inventory has progressed. That simple report means less time organizing files and tracking changes in a shared spreadsheet. It also means your auditor will spend less time shuffling documents.

Try Parkinson’s Law

Have you ever been amazed when you finished a project just in the nick of time after procrastinating for weeks or even months? You may remember this last-minute rush from high school science projects and April 15th tax filing.

While this phenomenon may seem counter-intuitive, it has been observed to be a predictable part of project management. It even has a name: Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

You can use Parkinson’s Law to cut down on inefficiency in your inventory audit. Dedicate a day, a few days, or whatever it takes to complete your normal annual audit. Then shrink that timeline just a bit. By creating a more urgent deadline, you will increase productivity during the audit.

In addition to decreasing the time set to perform the audit, you may want to set your self-imposed deadline significantly before the official March 31 deadline. This will give you extra time to ensure the results of your audit are in the proper reporting system.

Conclusion

If your organization contracts with the Navy and you manage Navy property, it’s very likely that CAV SOW v 7.8 applies to you. And with a 100% inventory requirement, the clock is ticking to meet compliance.

As of writing, we have not yet seen an official statement explaining the consequences for non-compliance with CAV SOW 7.8. Some contractors fear serious repercussions, such as payment withholding. Regardless, we’re certain most contractors would prefer not to find out.

If you want to use a modern inventory system during this audit, eQuip is a fantastic option. The software has been used by many government contractors to meet compliance and gain insight over their inventory. To learn more, read about eQuip for government contractors here.

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