When you put together a university surplus program, you might feel like you’re surrounded by a jungle of details. But the more you can streamline, organize and document your surplus asset process, the easier your journey will be when inventory and auditing season comes around.
One of the first and most important steps in that documentation is having an effective surplus transfer form. A precise, user-friendly surplus transfer form means departments will be more inclined to participate in your program. More participation, means more surplus. And more surplus means more sales, more revenue for your university, and more reuse. It’s the Circle of Life, but with far fewer lions and a lot more gently-used desk chairs.
Whether a department wants to transfer assets to your surplus warehouse, or you want to transfer surplus to them, your surplus transfer form is a solid record of that asset’s transfer history. Since government regulations require regular auditing of publicly-purchased property, it’s smart to make sure your transfer documentation is as simple but detail-rich as possible.
So, what do you include? Well, today we’ll discuss the Whos, Whats, Wheres, Hows and Whens of an effective surplus transfer form. We’ll also talk about how you can use your document to capture the asset accountability you need.
Contacts and Contact Info
A surplus transfer form begins with the assets’ place of origin: the From agency. This is the department in your university that wants to submit assets to Surplus. Or, if Surplus is transferring assets to a department, it’s the Surplus warehouse itself.
In addition to the From field, you’ll want to include space for a Contact Name, Contact Phone, Contact Email and any Notes.
The People with Approval Power
Another Who that’s important for your form is the person (or people) who will approve the surplus transfer. Depending on your internal processes, there may be several layers of approvals before items are transferred to or from surplus. So once you’ve established your process, make sure your transfer form includes enough room for the number of approval signatures you’ll need. Because some surplus assets may be rejected (due to regulatory restrictions on certain substances, item condition, etc.), consider designing your Approve and Reject options as checkable fields on your form. And don’t forget to leave space for notes explaining why the surplus was rejected. You won’t want to be wishing you had that information later, once memories fade and questions arise.
Now here come the real stars of this show: the surplus assets themselves.
Your transfer form should list the Asset Type, which is a generic group category for an item, such as chairs, desks, laptop computers or amplifiers. You may also want to add a Description field, particularly if you expect to receive multiple items of the same Asset Type, but with different features. So, for example, you might receive Chairs as the Asset Type, but in the Description, some might be listed as “metal folding chairs” and others, “upholstered arm chairs.” This will help better set expectations for the transfers you’ll receive.
Each Asset Type on your form will also need a Quantity. Will it be a single unique item, or one of many identical items lotted together? Is there a particular way you’d prefer departments to group surplus as they transfer certain assets to you? These procedures can be documented and integrated into your formal surplus policy. (For university surplus folks, click here to check out our blog post on how to develop your own university surplus policy.)
For the occasions you’re transferring assets from Surplus to a department, you’ll want space to include the item’s Asset Number from your inventory system; this provides one more opportunity for easy tracking and future auditing. And if you plan to maintain and transmit your transfer form electronically, it may also be handy to leave room for a reference image of the item.
A final What to consider is whether there are any Terms and Conditions that the departments must agree to before releasing assets to Surplus. If so, you’ll want to include them, so all parties know just what to expect.
A surplus transfer won’t get far, if you don’t know where it’s located for pick-up. So make sure you include fields on your form for both the Building in which the surplus is located, and the Room.
This is your opportunity to specify the Requested Pick Up/Delivery Type. Here, form users can determine whether the surplus will be transferred by a third-party delivery, a scheduled surplus property pickup, or some other option. The pick-up process is often predetermined, as a part of an organization’s formal surplus policy. If you haven’t included it in yours, you might want to take some time to revisit this.
Make sure you leave space for the date the surplus is submitted. Also, next to the signature lines, include fields for the dates that the transfers are approved or denied.
Lastly, the Why Nots?
The information we discussed above can be invaluable when transferring, tracking and accounting for the transfer of assets. But it’s worth mentioning that there are a number of exciting efficiencies and data points that a surplus asset management system can add when it comes to surplus transfers. So why not discuss them now?…
How a Surplus Asset Management System Can Streamline Transfers
If you decide to use an automated surplus management system for your surplus assets, the right solution should not only include the types of transfer fields we talked about today; it should allow you to further customize fields so they mirror the way your operations work. Some things a surplus asset management system can help you track, that you can’t track as well manually, include:
- Transfer Status: With an automated surplus management system, you can check the status of a surplus transfer in every phase of the process. From initial transfer request and approval all the way through its ultimate sale or disposal. Just log-in to the system, do a search, and you can easily see where each transfer stands.
- Approvals: Automated surplus management systems can make transfer approvals a smoother, faster process. Instead of relying on tedious hard copies and snail mail, the information resides in one database, and notifications and approvals are all done electronically. This cuts out an enormous amount of back-and-forth, helping you move more surplus more quickly.
- History: The right automated surplus management system will keep track of an asset’s transfer history, so you’ll always know where it came from, where it went, and how it left your warehouse. Track sales methods, price, quantities and more. Use the data to enhance your decision-making for other, similar items in the future.
- Reporting: When the accounting department needs auditing and inventory reports, an automated surplus asset management system has all the data you need, without having to search through PDF files, spreadsheets, emails and hardcopy forms. Canned and ad hoc reports make getting the information you want quick and easy.
Form Meets Function
Whether your process is automated or manual, a clear and specific surplus transfer form can alleviate many issues. Getting the right fields for the right data, right off the bat, can save you significant time and energy down the road. And if you’re interested in learning more about how you can automate your surplus management — including transfers — to take advantage of even more efficiencies, click here.