Schools are known to have a large variety of assets and equipment like computers, chairs and tables, stationery, textbooks, maintenance tools, projectors and cafeteria equipment among others. For school administrators and managers, tracking and monitoring so many assets manually can be a daunting task. Also, it is becoming more and more important to implement robust asset tracking features in schools as school investments are continuing to decline. Schools now need to protect their assets against misplacement, theft, and abuse in order to optimize on the investments.
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A record of enormous school losses.
In a survey conducted in 2013 at the Shelby County School in Tennessee revealed that about $48 million worth of assets was reported missing. There were more than 54,000 assets such as computers, training cars, tools and other equipment. The problem was detected after a recent merger of two schools. Eventually, the authorities managed to recover half of the missing equipment, and the other missing half contributed to significant financial losses. Public education institutions have seen only a reduction in funding. More and more states are providing less money for the K-12 education programs post the 2008 recession. According to a study conducting by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states that more than 35 states have spent less on school funding in 2013-14 when compared to the post-recession years. The figures have not improved over the course of years. Another audit conducted in 2010 revealed that a school in Los Angeles had more than $10 million worth of textbook assets missing. More than $500,000 worth of the missing books were found in a local warehouse. Schools today need to employ advanced asset tracking services and software to minimize their losses.
Some common challenges in school asset tracking.
The challenges faced in school are mainly caused by the sheer number of assets and the presence of children. Supervision is not always possible in such an environment where assets are incredibly likely to get abused. Be it mischievous students or thieving staff, managing assets in schools can be a daunting task. Some of the common challenges faced by schools in their asset tracking department are mentioned below
- Textbook tracking- Textbooks are one such asset that can be easily modified or damaged. Added to their perishable nature, textbooks are vast in number in any school. Traditional check-in/Check-out methods are cumbersome and time taking. Textbooks are one of the most common assets that go missing from schools in bulk quantities.
- Old tracking processes- A lot schools even today are yet to adopt the software as a service technology and advanced tracking technologies like barcodes, QR codes, GPS tracking, network monitoring among others. Schools still rely on paper records and manual data entry and management methods. It is easy for error to creep in and these processes are time-consuming.
- Difficulty in supervision- As mentioned above, schools are dynamic environments with limited staff and funding. Managing so many children and monitoring their activities can be extremely difficult. Added to this is the possibility of dishonest staff. Protecting all the assets against can be difficult. With the absence of advanced tracking and monitoring capabilities like GPS tracking, the sheer number of school assets can be difficult to manage.
- School mergers and district transfers- Schools are often subjected to mergers and shutdowns. School assets are often transferred across districts. During such major changes there is a serious addition or loss of equipment. Most manual methods of asset tracking have extremely poor scalability thus making it incredibly difficult to manage such changes.
- Difficulty in lifecycle management- A lot electronic devices like computer and projectors become obsolete in a short amount of time. Also, syllabi often change resulting in a bulk of textbooks becoming obsolete. Simply discarding such assets may result in repeated losses for the school administration. Tracking of such out-of-date equipment is often ignored in schools.
Benefits of adopting modern school asset tracking technologies.
Schools today can employ the services of professional asset racking services who employ modern technologies like cloud database and QR codes. GoCodes is one such equipment tracking service provider whose products are applicable in a wide range of industries including school and education. Their easy to use products require no extra hardware requirements and expensive scanning equipment. Operational on multiple platforms like smartphones, tablets and laptops, GoCodes tracking solutions replaces cumbersome paper records with smart cloud based database that can be accessed anywhere. Schools need to actively replace their outdated systems with these modern technologies which are not only affordable but will allow them to make better and longer use of their assets. In the times of lean educational funding, effective tracking systems can turn out to be a boon. Some of the major benefits of using GoCodes solutions and software are listed below.
- Use of QR codes- QR codes can be stuck on any surface and are flexible enough top be used with paper assets like textbooks. QR codes can store a lot of data within the spaces of a confined sticker. Also, they can be scanned using smartphones, eliminating the need for expensive scanning equipment. Check-in/Check-out systems can be greatly streamlined by using QR stickers.
- Customizable tags- Most information contained in QR codes and barcodes can be customized according to the categories set by the school. You can segregate your textbooks, desks and chairs, computer equipment among other. The tags can also contain additional information like designated location, scheduled use timings and privileges and status among other information.
- Could database and scalability- Having all the relevant documentation on cloud servers means all time access to records without and tedious paperwork. Automated data collection and update on cloud also ensures lack of human error and availability of live data. Cloud based asset tracking modules are also incredibly scalable allowing for school expansions, mergers and shutdowns.
- GPS tracking- Simple and affordable GPS tracking features are available with GoCodes which can help the school in locating their assets in case of theft or misplacement. GPS technology can be coupled with QR codes to make to more affordable.