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Asset Management Horror Stories

rsz_gettyimages-476824974final Do you know how much your assets are costing you? If you aren't using asset management tracking software, you probably don’t and it can be the start of your own asset management horror story. That’s because your business might be one of the 55 percent of small businesses that either use inefficient manual methods (like Excel) for asset management or don’t even track assets at all. With workplaces depending on tens of thousands of dollars in technology, it’s crucial to protect it. It’s all too easy for phones, laptops, and other electronic devices to disappear without a trace. [Tweet "It’s all too easy for phones, laptops, and other electronic devices to disappear without a trace. "] Though it may seem like you have little goblins at your office, the fact is the loss of assets due to theft or mismanagement, is costing your company something ghoulishly frightful. Learn from the following asset management horror stories so your small business won’t end up six feet under.

Local government covers its assets

City assets are not only expensive, they are vital to protect and serve the public. That’s why the City of Dallas’ Department of Intergovernmental Services, which oversees the purchase of Homeland Security equipment for several city units, including the bomb squad, urban search and rescue, and SWAT, and more, is serious about keeping assets to itself. Altogether, the units own and operate more than 4500 armored cars, laptops, police radios, mobile GPS, and helicopter parts. These grant-funded assets are worth over $15 million.


Over the years, each separate unit was responsible for managing its asset management, maintenance records, as well as tracking which employees had checked items in and out. This system was decentralized and inefficient. When it came time for grant-required biannual inventory checks, their manual methods were scarily inaccurate. “We found that we were spending more time trying to fill in the gaps to make sure all equipment had been inventoried than actually analyzing the reports,” Dina Colarossi, Fund Analyst for Dallas’ Department of Intergovernmental Services, said.


She added that the issues were even scarier for annual audits, when each unit had to file reports quickly. Due to their manual methods, it often took more than two weeks to generate the data. Once the city implemented an automated asset management system, it revolutionized the way the employees managed grants. Everything is now centralized and everyone is connected. Now audit reports are completed in one day. “The whole process has been transformed and works smoothly,” Colarossi said. Shadows of people moving in room by touch

Reading, writing, and asset management

On any given day, $10 to $100 thousand of IT equipment is used at the Miami Public School District in Oklahoma, with no accountability for its safekeeping and return. Computer Specialist Jason Garrison determined the school system needed a better way to track and manage fixed assets.  Without an integrated process to keep tabs on IT assets, it seemed school employees spent more time tracking assets than teaching students. However, effectively managing $1.6 million in assets at five elementary schools, a middle and high school, administrative services, and several satellite building, to educate nearly three thousand students, asset tracking because the administrators’ worst nightmare (cue “Psycho” music”).
Asset Management Software
Not to mention, when the school year ended, IT coordinators removed technology from classrooms due to possible classroom changes for the upcoming school year. And since IT assets were not officially assigned to teachers, they had no idea where their equipment would end up. Jason Garrison said once the technology was finally recovered, they relied solely on an honor system to re-distribute IT equipment. That didn’t work at all. “After running a report, we would discover that the wrong numbers had been reported. We wasted a lot of time following up with teachers for missing information,” Garrison said. The asset management horror story continues with the fact that most of the school district’s assets are grant funded and must comply with the award agreement. District leaders must know the exact location of the assets, along with the person responsible for them. Not having asset management was risky business. “It is a big deal to make sure grant dollars are being spent properly. If something is purchased with special education dollars, it has to physically stay in the special education department,” Garrison added. Since Miami schools implemented an asset management system, audit times have decreased by 93 percent. Losses have been 100 percent eliminated.

Stadium not on the ball with asset management

In order to put on hundreds of entertainment shows, trade events, and Arizona Cardinal football games at the University of Phoenix’s stadium, it costs up to $100 thousand a day for equipment and production. When Nick Heller took over as production manager of the Cardinals Scoreboard Production department, he noticed that none of the stadium’s equipment was tracked. If an item went missing, there was no way to know who used it last or where it might be. Since the stadium would often hold multiple events on any given day, it was crucial to know where equipment was needed each day. With such high-ticket assets like TV cameras, speakers, microphones, and truss structures, Heller made it a priority to better manage the equipment and prevent theft and other loss. Since implementing asset management, the production team has spent less time managing assets, kept more accurate records of equipment use, managed an equipment database, and incorporated mobile devices into their processes. “The reliability and accuracy of the product is key,” Heller said. “Wasp’s barcoding and asset tracking system is a must have item for any major sports team or large production venue.” Instead of the constant threat of losing expensive production equipment, Heller said their new asset management system has saved 1000 labor hours, increased production accuracy by 100 percent, and have spent 20 hours less on event production. Do you have asset management horror stories to tell?