Establishing An Inventory Plan

A presenter at a recent conference was talking about her first days as a property manager. With no prior inventory experience, the first thing she turned to for guidance was her new department’s policies and procedures. She laughs about it now, but she was surprised at the time when she was handed a single, five sentence, paragraph.

It probably goes without saying, but five sentences are hardly enough for an inventory plan let alone all of your asset management policies and procedures. We thought we’d take this opportunity to share with you some questions you should ask when creating or modifying your inventory plan(s).

  1. Who is responsible for conducting the inventory? An individual? A team of people? A vendor? We would advise that to maintain the integrity of your inventory process, it should never be the property custodian.
  2. What are you inventorying? Assets above a certain capitalization threshold? High theft items? Assets with secure information? Assets purchased from a certain fund? Regardless, it is probably important to identify both missing and new assets.
  3. Where is the inventory going to take place? One location? Many locations?
  4. What is the time frame for finishing the inventory? Are there milestones, phases, or check points? Is the inventory going to be conducted all at once or throughout the year?
  5. What is the purpose of the inventory? Preparing for an external audit? A self-audit? For property accounting purposes?
  6. How do you want to conduct your inventory and reconciliation? Will you conduct a full wall-to-wall inventory? Inventory a random sample? Both? Will you rely on technology to help automate the inventory process? RFID? Barcodes? Scanners? Tablets?

Thinking about these questions should help you establish a comprehensive inventory plan. However, if you do still have questions, one of our inventory experts would be happy to help.

Did we miss anything? Message us at to share other questions that should be considered when creating an inventory plan.

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