Performing these 3 types of inventory audits throughout the year will improve your data accuracy and usability.
By Gena Blankenship
School districts need to know where their assets are at all times, and a reliable inventory tracking system is the first step to having great data at your fingertips. The next step…audits! One of the best ways to boost the accuracy of your inventory data is to complete these three types of inventory audits throughout the year.
1. Real-Time Audits
- Completed on a regular schedule
- Completed at random locations
- Take less than 20 minutes to complete
A real-time audit is a quick verification of the inventory in one small area. Real-time audits should be executed at random locations yet built into the schedule so they are not forgotten or put aside for other priorities. Real-time audits are easier to execute when merged with another task already happening in that location. For example, you could randomly flag three work orders per week and have the technician verify the inventory in that location. Having an inventory system that allows you to perform audits using a mobile app makes this process quick and easy. The staff that are responsible for real-time audits may be different at each district, but it is very quick to train staff on the process. Completing at least one real-time audit between comprehensive audits will help your comprehensive audit be more successful.
2. Situation Audits
- Completed when an employee is hired or departs
- Completed when a change is made in the location of a group of assets (like a computer lab)
- Can be completed quickly – but must be timely
A situation audit is completed anytime there is a change of situation either for an employee or for a physical location. For example, if a secretary leaves his/her position, before he/she leaves there should be an “exit” audit. As a replacement comes on board, there should be an “entry” audit. These audits help the district and employees by leaving a record of asset locations during times of change. It is best practice to have a supervisor or building leader sign off on an exit audit. The biggest challenge with these audits is making sure they are completed as close as possible to the time staff comes on board or leaves.
3. Comprehensive Audits
- Completed yearly
- Requires an audit team
- Requires extensive planning
- Involves stakeholders at district and campus levels
- Includes a reconciliation process
A comprehensive audit is completed once per year. During this audit a team of people will go through every room in every building in a district and scan any item they find. The scanning process is then followed by a reconciliation that accounts for every asset that was not scanned or scanned in an unexpected location. This is an extensive audit that takes planning and involves all stakeholders. Depending on the size of the district and audit team, this audit can take two to six weeks from scanning to completion of the reconciliation.
Completing these three types of inventory audits will make a significant difference in the accuracy of your inventory data. Many districts already complete annual comprehensive audits and real-time and situation audits can be implemented without significantly burdening your budget or your staff. Additional tasks can be worked into the responsibilities of several employees to share the workload. At the end of the day, accurate inventory data benefits everyone and allows you to confidently budget, purchase, and distribute inventory needed for student success.
Gena Blankenship served as the Director of Technology at Deming Public Schools (NM) for 20 years, growing the district’s education technology program from 900 computers to 6,000+ computers and assets. Recently retired, she enjoys working on projects around the house with her husband and spending time with her horses.