It goes without saying that all educational establishments – and certainly schools – have records that they need to manage and maintain, including in relation to their inventory and fixed assets. Accordingly, an up-to-date asset management approach is essential if a school is to ensure important assets are always available to teachers, students and other members of staff.
Whether your own institution for which you are an asset manager is a primary or secondary school, a suitable asset management platform can go a long way to helping everyone at the school to make the most of its assets.
The importance of using asset management software in schools
The effective and responsible management of assets is as crucial for schools as it is for any other organisation with fixed assets that it depends on for the fulfilment of its objectives.
In the case of your primary or secondary school, the right asset management tool will make it easier to keep track of what assets – such as science equipment and laptops – the institution actually has, as well as where they are and how available they are for use by students and teachers.
Effective asset management also enables a school to make sure that such vital equipment is always in working condition, and to reduce the costs incurred by having to replace lost or stolen assets. After all, every pound that a school saves as a result of minimising unnecessary expenditure is a pound that can be put towards other aspects of the establishment’s operations, and perhaps other assets.
The management of assets is also partly about keeping an eye on how the condition of certain assets may deteriorate, so that a suitable schedule can be implemented for maintenance and repair. This, in turn, will help deliver the utmost longevity for assets that may otherwise need to be replaced sooner.
The benefits of implementing asset management in schools
- The improvement of record-keeping. Schools that still depend on paper-based arrangements for managing their assets in the 2020s run the risk of fire or other circumstances destroying all of their records. This can have many negative implications, including making it harder for insurance claims to be filed in relation to lost assets. By contrast, having your school’s asset management system ‘in the cloud’ – as is the case, for instance, with ACMS UK’s Vision software – provides a single, central location where details on the institution’s assets can be kept and continually updated, out of harm’s way. Cloud based software allows for futureproofing, flexibility and scalability.
- Avoiding spending on duplicate assets. In the absence of an adequately maintained and accurate asset register, a school can easily find itself spending its finite budget purchasing assets to which it already has access. A teacher may request more chairs for use in their classroom, for example, without realising there are chairs they could use in another classroom in another department. An up-to-date asset management system helps avoid this.
- Improved budgeting and tracking. No school has a bottomless budget, but many institutions compound the issue by failing to sufficiently keep track of how much is being spent on assets for each department. When there are arrangements in place for accurately tracking spending on different departments within the school, better-informed decisions can be made about budget allocation and what assets are prioritised for purchase.
- Reducing the risk of assets being stolen. The importance of schools sticking to what is likely to be a stringent budget only makes the headache all the greater when certain key assets go missing. A teacher may notice, for example, that a projector has gone missing. If asset management software is in place with the projector having been suitably tagged, it will be easy to simply refer to this system for information on where the projector was last located and who most recently used it.
- Reducing the number of manual asset audits. The most sophisticated asset management platform will provide live data on where a given organisation’s assets are, and exactly what equipment is accessible for use. It’s no less the case for schools, which therefore won’t have to carry out so many time-consuming manual audits of their assets.
What are the most important features for managing school assets?
- Storing data in one place. Any given school can have hundreds or even thousands of assets, encompassing such vital equipment as chairs, desks, laptops, keys and documents that are crucial to the management of the institution. Investing in an asset management platform like our own Vision software gives your school a single, centralised register of assets that can be referred to from almost anywhere and is not under threat from fire or other disasters in the same way as a paper-based system would be.
- Tracking departmental spending. It can be a challenging task for a school to stick to its allocated budget, and even more so if there is not an accurate and up-to-date asset register in place. The right asset management software makes it straightforward for department heads to see the current level of spending on assets for their faculty, with this data allowing for better decisions to be made in future to optimise use of the school’s budget.
- The sharing of reports. Something else that it is easier for a school to do when it has access to a suitable asset management system, is generate reports showing data that can then be shared across the hierarchy of the establishment – such as between teachers, managers and department heads. One example of this could be a department head asking the teachers within their department to provide a regular report on the usage and condition of IT equipment in their classroom. In a situation like this, a continually accurate asset register makes it a simpler process to gather the relevant data and share it.
- The tracking of asset locations. A paper-based system is unlikely to be adequate for keeping track of where a given physical asset is within the school at the immediate moment, especially in the case of assets used by many different teachers and staff from one day or week to the next. Today’s industry-leading asset management software provides a visual ‘map’, with the help of a suitable tagging technology like RFiD, to leave users in no doubt about where certain assets are presently located.
What factors should you consider before purchasing school asset management tools?
Various factors will help determine the suitability of a given asset management solution for your own school, including its ease of use, functionality and reputation in the education sector.
Our own Vision solution here at ACMS UK caters to all of the aforementioned priorities that a school is likely to have when transitioning from a paper-based or even spreadsheet-based system for keeping track of its assets. The modules making up this customisable compliance and risk management platform include – but are not limited to – an Assets module that makes it a straightforward process for a school to better know, manage, view, edit and audit its assets. The option is available to uploaded maintenance schedules, images, how-to guides, drawings, even video footage to each individual asset, if required.
Any good asset management tool should also be available for demonstration use before you commit to a final purchase – and this is, again, true of ACMS UK’s renowned software. Simply call us for a discussion with one of our specialist advisors.