Asset managers get asked a lot of questions about purchases. They receive purchased equipment, which come with invoices and packing slips. Those documents have information that become official record of those purchases, and can confirm or deny a number of aspects about an order, even before the equipment is disseminated. However, asset managers are usually not the people involved in a purchase. And that means that lots of questions they get asked are for information they can’t answer, like if a particular purchase order number has been fulfilled, or what date a purchase order arrived, or what a purchase order contained, and the list of these purchase related questions goes on. Most governments have formally adopted electronic document practices, and that means that purchase orders are issued on documents that are printed only for rare occasion, and widely disseminated to all involved parties electronically. While these documents are created in purchasing departments, they rarely are used by inter-department members (such as police and sheriff’s offices!) in the same fashion, as an important record they should maintain.
What if there was a no-hassle way of doing this, that empowered your asset manager in their job too? There is a way, let’s find out about it!
Your Software Plays a Role
We’ve already discussed thoroughly how asset management software should handle every aspect of equipment data, so it should not come as a surprise that we are furthering that point by discussing linking of purchase orders (and really all related documents) to incoming equipment. Yet, most agencies don’t realize that this type of detail is missing from their current software, and they need an upgrade! Or, that this type of functionality is even available to them.
Another premise is that the equipment lifecycle begins upon said equipment arriving at the agency. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It starts the day the purchase order is authored. For one, your respective government body is on the hook for that purchase the minute that purchase order is authored. Two, if the equipment is expected on a certain date, and then arrives late, have you not already encountered a problem concerning that equipment? Having your purchase orders indexed along with corresponding equipment, ahead of its arrival, helps with these logistical issues almost immediately. For one, if a vendor calls to verify the order has 80 flashlights, when your purchase order is for 60, having that document instantly recoverable in a central location is important, especially if the point of contact for the order was not made aware of an amended quantity. One would hope that POC would be savvy enough not to confirm anything, but stranger things have happened, and we all know there are too many working pieces to the day to keep it all straight. The bottom line is, your software needs to do some of the walking for you, and by centralizing where purchase orders go once authored, makes it so that your asset manager can take over the conversation, and can confidently confirm details on purchases that are necessary to complete orders.
But how else might linking purchase orders into your asset management software benefit your agency?
Recording the Equipment Lifecycle Accurately
By placing a purchase order into your system, and making the equipment data searchable, asset managers and their personnel can keep ahead of what’s incoming. They can also get a better understanding of equipment use, the averages of length of service, and the expected time a piece of equipment can be relied upon before replacement is needed. This kind of data is crucial to budget planning, but it’s also important when it comes to proving that a particular order was filled with substandard equipment. As an example, let’s say you’ve been purchased uniform pants from the same vendor for the past 20 years, and your asset management software has recorded that the average length of service for those pants is four years, before half or more are brought in for replacement. But out of nowhere, 75 percent of your most recent order is falling apart and in need of replacement, after only 19 months in service. The vendor will likely argue that the warranty has passed, but the facts don’t lie, and you now have documented proof that you confidently say a mark difference in quality has occurred, which should prompt your administration to consider a different uniform vendor from now on.
You could apply this scenario to countless types of equipment. By employing asset management software that allows you to input purchase orders, you get a full picture of your equipment lifecycle in return, which leads to better data, and grants you the knowledge to ask better questions of those you rely on to keep your agency operating at its sharpest.
Asset management software should take care of your operation as well as you do. When software falls short of that goal, it becomes a waste of time, money, or equipment, and these are three things you never have enough of, or the ability to produce on a moment’s notice. Make sure you have asset management software that solves the problem of tracking purchase orders, from their creation, through their realization, and beyond.
Be safe out there!