Missing Equipment? Here's What Your Business Can Do to Reduce Loss
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, July 18 6:00
Every business relies on electronic equipment to keep things moving. But as devices have become more mobile, it has created new challenges for businesses attempting to track that equipment. With laptops, tablets, and cell phones now being issued to workers across the country, leaders have begun to realize the importance of carefully tracking every item.
Unfortunately, without a good plan in place, equipment will eventually disappear. Whether it s lost or stolen, employers must find a way to reduce loss without alienating employees. Here are a few things your business can do to keep losses at a minimum.
Tag And Track
The first step toward inventory control is to identify each piece of equipment before it s assigned to an employee. Every item should be tagged with an identifying number and the name of your business clearly visible. The tag number should also be logged into an inventory tracking system that also notes the employee who has possession of it, as well as information on when it was last brought into the office for inventory verification. Mobile devices should have tracking software installed that allows IT to remotely wipe all software and files if it is ever lost or stolen. This will safeguard the data on the device as well as help locate it if an employee simply misplaces it.
Conduct Annual Audits
At least once a year, an appointed inventory control person should be required to visually verify that each device is still active in inventory. This can often be done through the use of a barcode scanner, which provides additional insurance that the device will be physically present. Without requiring employees to bring all devices in for review on a regular basis, businesses can easily find that an item is missing for years before it s reported to anyone in IT. Require that a list be presented to management of all verified devices, including a list of employees who neglected to bring theirs in, then follow up on any unverified items relentlessly until they have been located.
Require Police Reports
Occasionally a device will be lost or stolen. Employees should understand that this isn t a criminal offense on their part, but they do need to report the missing item as soon as possible. If the device was stolen, even if it means the item simply wasn t at the last known location when the employee went back to look for it, a police report should be filed and that report should be included in the annual inventory. If police reports aren t filed, the employee should be required to answer questions about where the device might be. Simply knowing that a police report is required for stolen devices can cut down on the temptation to keep a device and claim it was stolen.
Over time, missing electronic devices can cost a business serious money. It s important to put procedures in place that encourage employees to be careful with their assigned work equipment. With the right inventory management system, a business can also ensure it is aware of just how many devices are lost each year and take preventive measures.