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How to Choose Fixed Asset Inventory Service Providers

Fixed asset inventories occur infrequently in most organizations and the challenge of selecting a provider seems to be reborn with each cycle. Without the organizational knowledge of how to choose or domain expertise, those evaluating candidates will often focus on misplaced criteria. Our 30-year experience with inventories recommends the following priorities:

Method - Conducting fixed asset inventories at scale requires a disciplined, field-proven, formal method to identify assets, collect data and verify results. It must be efficient and allow independent activities by each team member while sharing data among the entire team. Carefully review any vender's approach.

Software - The foundation of any inventory is the software used. The inventory process is dictated by the design of the software as is the efficiency of the data collection process and the accuracy of the results. Make sure that the software being used to collect the data is routinely used by the vender for that purpose.

Experience - Your inventory is not the place for a rookie vender. Or one whose experience is limited to an unrelated type of inventory or product. For example, a firm specializing in inventories of retail stores may lack the skills to perform a fixed asset inventory. Check the vender's past customers.

People - The team performing the inventory needs to be knowledgeable in the process, focused on results and lead by experts. Quality assurance must be an integral part of the process and actively pursued across the entire team.

Equally important are the factors that deserve less emphasis:

Speed - Inventories performed quickly or by a large staff using siege tactics will invariably compromise quality both in accuracy and consistency.

Locality - While we recognize the importance of buying locally, relatively few firms provide high quality inventory services. You may need to select a nationwide organization to fulfill your requirements.

Price - Though everyone likes to save money, a low up-front cost will virtually guarantee issues with the inventory. We have seen a low-cost vender deliver a work product that took the client well over a year to remediate. Caution is strongly advised in evaluating proposals based on price.

These are broad categories to be considered in vender selection. No vender will score at the top in each category. These criteria will provide objective means upon which to make your decision and evaluate your options.