The school year is winding down and districts across the United States are preparing to collect devices from students and teachers alike. With more devices than ever before, end of year collections can be a daunting task. Utilizing your asset inventory management system will help keep the collections process organized with up-to-date data and reporting. Here are some quick tips to remember while tackling the end of year collections process.
Prepare Collections Site
The first step in the collections process is of course, deciding where to collect devices. While in the past, it made sense to collect at each campus, now it may work best to collect them all at one campus, at an administration office, or for larger districts, at the warehouse where devices are typically stored.
Given the COVID-19 landscape, our Hayes Software Systems experts recommend having a few centralized locations throughout the district for drop off. Rather than having every campus as a check-in location, having a reduced number increases the staff manpower at each campus, and reduces the burden on parents to have to go to multiple locations to return multiple devices.
Additionally, it is important to determine who will be checking in devices at the collections site – will it be only the tech team, assistant principals, media specialists, or other staff members?
Communicate Collections Procedures
After determining who will be assisting in the collections process and where the collection will take place, you’ll want to decide what the process looks like for students and parents. Will there be carlines to drop off devices drive-thru style, will there be certain traffic flows or protocols in place that anyone bringing in a device should be aware of? Clearly communicating the process to parents, teachers and other relevant staff members will ensure that the process will run smoothly and efficiently.
Here at Hayes, we recommend thoroughly documenting the procedure and making certain that the documentation is available to everyone, whether it be on a shared on an internal drive for staff, posted on a website, and communicated to parents in an easily accessible fashion.
Train Staff Members
Deciding early on who will be helping ensures each member of the team is properly trained. If others outside of the tech team who do not regularly use the inventory management system or are not aware of the process to collect devices will be assisting, it is vital to train each person on how to update device statuses, assess damages, print receipts, retain a digital signature, and any other information you like to record.
Training staff members on best practices includes teaching what each status means and how to determine what the status should be – does it need to be in repair, and any additional steps that go with each status – should a help desk ticket be created, a fee issued, etc.
We also recommend establishing guidance around collection receipts including who gets a receipt and the method of receipt delivery, such as printing verses emailing and any variations in student verses staff collection.
Ready Your Equipment
Ahead of starting collections, choosing and setting up laptops and barcoding scanning equipment that will be used by staff to complete the collections is key. Plan to have any needed hardware on site, on time and tested. Ensure that all barcode scanners are accounted for, establish what will be used to collect (i.e. cell phones, tablets or computers), and ensure chargers will be available.
To save time and ensure the quickest possible collection, Hayes Software Systems recommends using barcode scanners for checking in devices rather than the camera on cellphones or tablets. Scanners reduce the room for human error by most effectively picking up the asset tag without the risk of issues caused by bad lighting or camera focus issues.
Given COVID-19, ensure that you also have PPE available – will staff members need face shields, or will they need to sanitize devices as they are checked in?
Post Collection Considerations
Keeping post-collection top of mind is also important. Consider where the devices will be stored and how they will be distributed to students for the next school year. Decide what assets need to be disposed of and keep accurate records for later purchasing decisions.
It is also worth noting that many districts work hard during collections to make it possible for students to receive the same device the following year. Unless a parent or student has purchased insurance specific to the device, when utilizing an inventory management system each device status and location is known, often eliminating the need for the device to go back to the same person each year.
The Bottom Line
While the end of year collections process can feel unnerving, keeping these things top of mind will assist in streamlining the job and ease the burden of distributing assets when school begins in the fall.