Challenges in Managing School Equipment and Inventory

6 min

Depending on how much funding they get, for some schools equipment is more costly than others.

Most schools don’t have the option to buy whatever equipment they need, so they must be cautious with assets and ensure that the school has enough inventory for the students to use in their everyday education.

In other words, you have to do the best you can with what you have.

We will list some of the schools’ main challenges regarding inventory and explain how you can get better at equipment management.

You can do this even if you’re on a tight budget!

Scarce Equipment Due to Low School Funding

It’s no secret that most schools today suffer because of insufficient school funding. The US spends 11.6% of public funds on education, falling behind the international standard of 15%. 

Of course, the numbers also differ per state and district, and wealthier states and districts have more money to invest in public education than those from more impoverished neighborhoods. 

For example, districts in New Jersey and Connecticut invest $3,000 more in wealthy communities than impoverished ones.

Because of the unequal distribution of funds, some schools do not have the privilege of stocking up on assets and quickly replacing equipment, so they need to be mindful of whatever inventory they have.

The better you are at inventory management, the more use you will get out of the equipment. 

When you cannot afford misplacements, damage, or theft, you must be more oriented towards asset management and keeping track of inventory.

If you know where your assets are, who is using them, and what state the equipment is in, you can plan for the future and understand how effective your management is while also keeping track of the equipment quality.

All of this can help you with future purchases.

Equipment Theft

Thefts at schools happen a lot more than we are aware of, and most of them are done by students or employees. 

Since school equipment is often left unattended due to a lack of staff, it is easier for the thief to take the inventory without others noticing.

You can prevent such incidents by keeping the most valuable assets under lock and key when they’re not in use. 

Whoever wants to use the item should ask for the key from the designated person, who will record who is using which asset. 

This form of organization will prevent theft as you make sure that the equipment is stored safely and that you know who is using it when it’s not.

Another way you can deter thieves is to place the assets in less visible places. 

For example, a classroom laptop doesn’t have to remain on the teacher’s desk after class. You can move it to a locked room or in a less visible place, such as a drawer or a closet. 

The best way to prevent equipment theft is to use an automated check-in and check-out system

Instead of assigning one person with equipment tracking, use software instead. 

Opt for one that lets you have a centralized database, track your equipment and the state it is in, and understand who is using it and when they are returning it. 

Student Vandalism

Student vandalism can lead to many problems with your equipment, from damage to total malfunction. 

Students don’t feel responsible for the equipment and assets they use on school grounds, so negligence and vandalism happen. 

They often deface school desks or walls by doodling on them, thus leaving permanent marks that are difficult to remove. Another instance is carving into the school walls.

Fires, whether unintentional or arson, are a more serious problem. 

An excellent way to put an end to such acts is to always have a conversation with the student who vandalized the school property and their parents, so they understand what happened and can assist you in pointing the student in the right direction. 

Also, publicly discuss acts of vandalism to ensure everyone understands the consequences of such actions. 

Another strategy you can use is making students responsible for school property by assigning a piece of inventory to them. 

The students should keep track of the equipment and report any damage. This will help them understand why it’s important not to damage property and put things into perspective. 

When they realize how much time and effort it takes to take care of one piece of equipment, they will be closer to understanding how much the school invests in managing all inventory.

Managing Multiple Buildings

Multiple buildings represent another challenging aspect of equipment and inventory management. 

Schools often have more than one building that the staff need to look after.

Those businesses have to be safe to use, equipped with the necessary assets, and up to local and federal standards.

Such buildings require regular inspections and evaluations as the school has to guarantee all students and staff are safe and can use all rooms in the building without any threats to anyone’s health or safety.

To certify that the buildings are in good condition, you should invest in regular preventive maintenance for more critical assets. 

This type of servicing will help you fix any minor issues that might lead to complete breakdowns if left unattended, prolonging the useful life of the asset, or parts of the building. 

It is challenging to keep track of all maintenance dates for all inventory across buildings. 

Consider using software designed to serve as a database of all the equipment where you can enter the last and the next maintenance date, leave comments, and upload pictures of each asset. 

Such software allows all those with access to view and understand the item’s current state and the subsequent maintenance date.

Disruptions in Classes and Activities

Unorganized inventory can lead to interference with classes and different activities. 

When you don’t quite know how many assets you have, which equipment is unavailable, or which classrooms are reserved and which are under maintenance or nonfunctional, your plans will likely fail.

After all, you won’t be able to entirely rely on your equipment.

Unless you have a system that lets teachers and staff reserve rooms and equipment, they cannot completely rely on the availability of the items they need.

If you only have a couple of employees, there is a chance that you all might be on the same page, but when you have more than a couple, classroom use can be hard to coordinate, leaving room for errors and double bookings.

When your teachers share classrooms or equipment, they might run into problems if the classroom or the equipment they wanted to use for the class is already in use.

This can be problematic if their lecture revolves around that specific piece of equipment. Such issues will disrupt the class and hinder the students’ progress compared to those who are able to use said assets.

Asset tracking software can help you with this problem and let each teacher reserve assets and see if they are free to use in the desired period, as well as when they will be available. 

How Automated School Equipment Management Helps

Many of the challenges listed above can be prevented or reduced if you implement an equipment management system.

While you can do this using pen and paper or spreadsheets, the most modern and organized way to go is software and apps designed to help you track the equipment.

Such apps will let you know who is using your equipment at all times, allow you to view the asset’s condition and last maintenance dates, and give you insight into user’s comments, eliminating the risk of theft or misplacement.

If you can schedule maintenance efficiently, you’re preventing avoidable damage and investing in equipment to prolong its lifetime—thus saving your already insufficient funds.

Being able to reserve the asset when needed allows your team to plan and check if the equipment is available in the period they plan on using it. 

If not, the staff can readjust their schedule accordingly and avoid any class disruption. 

You can count classrooms as assets, allowing your staff to schedule the room in advance, while everyone else can understand when each classroom will be available. 

Your team will be more organized and productive.

Using equipment management tools saves you money, boosts efficiency, and helps you be more organized and informed.

Conclusion 

Schools face many inventory-related challenges, from understanding where the equipment is, to monitoring its current state and identifying intentional damage or theft. 

Poor asset management can result in double bookings or class disruptions, which causes the students to lose out on classes and dissatisfaction among staff.

To ensure that your staff can perform their job seamlessly and have the necessary assets even if the equipment is limited, use software that will help you manage your inventory.

Once you know which equipment you have, who is using it, and what state it is in, you can help your entire team organize their time better and have an uninterrupted class with all the equipment they need.

GoCodes Can Help

Label your school property with our QR code tags with a unique visual code and scan them with your smartphone. 

When scanned, GoCodes tags provide GPS information about equipment location, last service date, and usage, making school inventory management easy. Sign up for a free trial here

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