Mind Your P’s And Q’s (And R-S-T’s, Too)

How to Improve your Surplus Transfer Process

Running a successful surplus operation involves minding more than just your P’s and Q’s; it means minding just about every letter of the alphabet. We skipped all the way to Q-R-S-T to fill in the attributes of a successful surplus transfer process. Having a process in place for transferring items from departments across campus to the surplus department can help keep your inventory flowing and organized. So, read on to learn more about how minding your Q-R-S-T’s can improve your transfer process, saving you time and making it easier to move items out of the warehouse.

Q – Quantity and Quality
To be prepared, you should know what is coming in to your surplus warehouse and, if possible, the condition of those assets.  Building very specific required and optional fields into your surplus transfer form can help guide asset custodians across campus through the surplus transfer request process. You don’t want the form to be too long or the process too complex, but the more information departments are able to provide the easier it will be to ensure the appropriate assets arrive at your surplus warehouse.  Having additional information can help you prepare your space, send the appropriate vehicle and personnel to retrieve the items, and even help market and sell the assets.

R – is for the Request
Surplus transfers are handled differently across higher education institutions. This includes everything from paper forms and emailed PDFs, to online forms or digital requests within software solutions.  Leveraging a software system to manage asset transfers can expedite the process while ensuring consistent asset information is communicated and an audit trail is available for every asset. By enabling transferring departments to utilize a software solution, you empower yourself to more easily close the loop later on and report back information on the receipt and sale of the asset.

S – This one is on you, the Surplus Department
If you maintain a physical warehouse, it’s time for the surplus assets to be picked up by or delivered to your surplus operation.  Asset tracking barcodes may need to be removed and/or added depending on your organization and its asset management practices. Additionally, it’s a best practice to store like with like. This means keeping all of one type of asset in the same area or all assets being sold/disposed of similarly in the same area. Of course, you could employ some combination of both. Having a process for receiving and organizing assets can help keep your warehouse more organized and expedite the preparation of assets for sale or other disposal method.

T – Transfer Complete
Once you have received the item, it’s important to send a notification to the transferring department. This helps close the loop, allows them to update their records, and keeps the audit trail up-to-date. Additionally, it’s important to realize that sending an asset to surplus can be more work for a department than throwing it in the trash. Thank them for going through the extra steps, for having an impact on the university’s sustainability initiatives and earning extra funds for the University (maybe even their own department).

Each institution’s surplus transfer policy is a little bit different, but these four concepts can help streamline your process and increase data integrity. We suggest you take a fresh look at your department’s surplus transfer policy and be sure to mind the P’s, Q’s and R-S-T’s too.

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