Physical Inventory Entry 4 – Defining and Automating the Data Collection Process

When planning the data capture attributes of a physical inventory, there are various levels of optimization and automation that can streamline the process.

First and foremost, pre-populating mobile inventory data collection devices with existing data sources (such as a fixed asset register or that of an asset tracking system) allows for real-time reconciliation and helps to reduce the amount of manual data entry required.

Compiling drop down lists, whereby inventory personnel populate data fields via list selection is also an efficient means of standardizing results and speeding up the process.

In addition, most mobile inventory tools are equipped with automatic data capture (ADC) technology, such as bar coding and RFID. Most assets are manufactured with existing bar coded information such as serial and model numbers. Scanning this information increases efficiency as well as accuracy.

Understanding what information needs to be recorded and why is paramount to a successful physical inventory. For example, in addition to verification that a physical asset exists, knowing where it is located and whether or not it is being utilized is important. Location can impact an array of topics including property tax, insurance, as well as allocation of cost.

Utilization becomes important, not only to availability of resources but often to their condition as well. If the condition is poor, this may be why it is not being utilized. Accordingly, the asset should be fixed, upgraded, or disposed.

In addition to planning for data capture, a project plan must address what information should be included on the asset label as well as how will the final inventory results be provided to the end user for processing into the information flow.

Verasset prepares our mobile tools used by our inventory teams via scripting the data collection screens to align with the informational requirements of the client. As noted earlier, if a pre-load of information is available from the client, Verasset personnel reformat and preload our mobile tools with this as well.

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