Why We Now Love School Inventory Management (And You Can, Too!)

By Leonard ChanceLeonard Chance

Our friend Leonard Chance has been an asset manager for over ten years. He started managing assets while in the Marine Corps and now he is the Technology Asset Manager for Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. Below is a blog post that he wrote about his district’s experience upgrading their outdated inventory management system in order to take control of 200,000 assets.

A few years ago, my school district, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, was struggling with inventory management. The legacy system we were using to conduct inventory was extremely outdated (think early 90’s technology) and time-consuming to the point where our employees dreaded and even feared using it. We were also wasting a lot of money as a result. The district didn’t know what they owned and where it was, so they kept having to buy assets to respond to school needs. As a former marine, I wanted to use the tactics I learned in the Marine Corps and apply them to our business operations at the district.

Our Need for Change

I knew that improving our inventory processes needed to be my top priority. Our district had just gotten a new CTO, Frankie Jackson, and she was going out for one of the largest technology infrastructure bond initiatives in the state of Texas. This required us to know what technology devices were on our campuses, what we needed to replace, and how our assets were being used. We also needed confidence in our systems and processes because this was going to be the largest bond in the district’s history and incredibly important to the local community.

Choosing the Right Solution

Since our staff was frustrated with the old inventory system, we started looking for fresh ideas. Above all, we were craving accuracy and time savings. It was taking us four months per campus to do an inventory and that inventory was only about 75% accurate. After taking a look at a few options, we selected Hayes Software Systems’ TIPWeb-IT inventory management software. We went with TIPWeb-IT because it’s a system made for education.

Implementation took a little bit of time (when you’re dealing with 200,000 assets across 84 campuses, it’s not going to be quick). And while there was a little resistance from our staff when they heard we were switching to a new inventory system, once they saw how TIPWeb-IT worked, they were on board. It’s extremely easy to use. Our Hayes trainer kept telling us, “If you can use Facebook, you can use this system.” And it’s absolutely true! Plus, if we ever have questions about how to use the software, the Hayes customer support team is always there. Our staff and I love working with the Hayes team because they actually listen to us and then take action. If we need extra functionality, they’re on it. We’ve gotten every feature we’ve asked them for.

Our Amazing Results

With TIPWeb-IT, inventory that used to take up to four months per school, now takes a single technician less than a month to complete a full campus inventory. Our staff has more time now to focus on the other aspects of their jobs because they are saving weeks and weeks of time when it comes to inventory. This also allows us to do more inventories throughout the year instead of only annually. It’s not a huge ordeal to conduct an inventory at the beginning, middle, and end of the year because it’s so easy now.

When it comes to our big 1:1 student device initiative, this system is ideal. The tracking is a great feature because besides being able to track the age of the device, campus/room location, and funding source, we can also see which student every device for our 1:1 initiative is assigned to (which is a huge help with a district of 113,000 students). Now the right technology is in the hands of teachers and students when they need it to learn. We’re also able to plan for our district’s future with the reporting TIPWeb-IT gives us access to. Knowing exactly what we have allows us to plan purchases to match projected enrollment and better accountability of aging assets assists us with scheduling replacements.

– By Leonard Chance, Technology Asset Manager at Cypress-Fairbanks ISD

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