In this fourth installment in our series on understanding the FedITAM Framework, we’re going to take a look at managing on-hand inventory, as always with an eye toward reducing cost and increasing efficiency.
Three Questions to Ask When Managing Inventory Usage
The FedITAM Framework recommends you ask three questions about your past, current, and future inventory usage and stocking patterns:
What installed assets are not being actively used; and (how) should they be re-used or retired?
If you’ve got the right IT asset management system in place, determining what IT assets are actually being used to generate value in your agency might be as simple as generating a report listing all out-of-service items with their locations and then running a quick physical check to make sure that your list is accurate. Otherwise, you might find yourself walking around for days with a checklist, manually reading off serial numbers, hunting for items that have apparently fallen prey to a black hole (or simply wandered home with someone), and wondering if you shouldn’t have become a doctor like your mom wanted.
Once you’ve got a handle on what’s not being used, ask yourself if it can be. If you can put it back into service, all the better for your budget. If not, why hang onto it? It’ll only be in the way — and waiting for you the next time you have to check for unused assets.
What assets are sitting on the shelf in large quantities reflecting potentially unwarranted ongoing expenses?
Like the last question, answering this one can be a walk in the park. Or, it can be an excuse to take a really long lunch — say until you’re 65 (or whenever you can retire). It should be as simple as compiling a report showing current quantities and usage over the last 12 months or whatever time period interests you, though this again requires an IT asset management system with enterprise-level reporting capabilities and data capture.
What critical asset inventories are nearly depleted?
Here, you’ll need to define “critical” and “nearly depleted”. There’s a decent chance that some of what you’d call absolutely necessary for running your agency really isn’t, not if you’ve maximized the use of existing assets and really taken a hard look at real-world use. And even if it is critical, you’ll need to understand usage patterns to know if quantities need to be refreshed now or six months from now, when it might be better for cash flow. Plus, you might find other items that changing operational requirements have quietly promoted in importance — and which are in continually low supply.