Why K-12 Technology Inventory Matters

February 10, 2016

Why K-12 Technology Inventory Matters

This article was written by Dr. Ramiro Zuniga. 

Even though technology inventory is a key part of district technology management, it is often neglected.

Two Reasons to Maintain Complete and Accurate Inventory

There are two great reasons to maintain your K-12 technology inventory: planning and theft reduction.

Planning -The most important reason for a complete and accurate inventory is planning. Without accurate inventory, districts will not be able to develop any technology initiative.

  • Equipment replacement cycles cannot be established without knowing the age of the equipment. Inventory data provides this.
  • Student-to-device ratios cannot be determined without inventory data.
  • Maintaining hardware standards is difficult without knowing what equipment is found across the district.

Theft Reduction – A second reason to maintain an accurate technology inventory is theft reduction. Knowledge that protocols are in place to not only record inventory but also hold individuals accountable spreads fast. Although all theft cannot be eliminated, solid inventory practices will serve as a deterrent.

Four Bad Practices for Managing K-12 Technology Inventory

Districts lose control of their technology inventory through bad practices like those outlined below:

  1. Technology equipment is shipped directly to campuses or departments when purchased.
  2. Some districts rely on campus or department personnel to keep complete track of their inventory.
  3. A lack of mandatory inventory reconciliation.
  4. Transfer or disposal of equipment is not recorded.

Four Best Practices for Maintaining Accurate K-12 Technology Inventory

Here are some ways to keep better track of technology equipment:

  1. Technology equipment should be shipped directly to a receiving center. Once received, the equipment purchase can then be verified for completeness and inventoried. It is only when verified and inventoried that the equipment is shipped to a campus or department.
  2. A signature should be obtained from the respective principal or director confirming the delivery of the technology equipment.
  3. At minimum, an annual reconciliation, managed by receiving center personnel (or Business Office) should be carried out. During this process, campus principals and department directors are held accountable for the inventory.
  4. Transfer or disposal of equipment should be documented and forwarded to the receiving center. Following that process the inventory can be adjusted accordingly.

How to Track District Equipment

Fortunately, there are many software solutions that a school district can use to track their inventory. In many cases, the business software that most districts use often comes with a fixed assets module. Typically, fixed asset tracking is carried out for items with a specific dollar value. Exceptions can be made to use this module to track all technology purchases regardless of value.

Third party software solutions can be purchased if the use of a fixed assets module is not desired.

Where to Begin?

If you are not sure where to begin, you can always call in some outside help. There are companies that will conduct inventory services. These companies send in teams of individuals that will walk every building, classroom, and office and take a physical inventory for a school district. These companies will also provide the information in spreadsheets, databases, and various other formats as part of this process.

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