Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Laptop Inventory Meeting

I was invited to participate in a discussion about how to best maintain a record of laptop inventory with the technology services department and the purchasing department. There is a growing problem with keeping the records straight since the price of laptops has fallen below $1000. FCPS will tag and inventory all computer electronics that are above $1000. anything below that is the responsibility of the individual school or department. Since I had responded to a survey about inventorying laptops saying we used our Library Media Center Follett software to track laptops, I was invited to the meeting to share that information as a possible way for other schools to keep their laptops straight.

The meeting consisted of the head of purchasing, the supervisor for Technology Customer Support, and several other people who had an interest in the process, including the Supervisor of Media Services. It started out with my explanation of how we barcode and all the laptops and enter them into Follett. Then the head of media discussed plans for a new media software system that would have additional capability to track resources such as laptops and projectors. We have been putting the laptops into Follett the same way we put books into the software. They were still negotiating the terms of the agreement and researching additional options. Basically, the new software have a central database so the people in Technology Services would be able to get a report of all laptops in FCPS. That was the primary goal for the technology services people. They needed to account for the 100s of thousands of dollars of laptop equipment in the system. After a lengthy conversation about the pros and cons of the Follett software, we adopted a standard procedure for entering the laptops into Follett.

This meeting was important because I would eventually like to be a director of technology services somewhere and accounting for all equipment would be one of my responsibilities. Using software is the only way to do this. The packages that were discussed in the meeting all cost 10s of 100os of dollars. My philosophy is to look for open source software solutions that would save taxpayer money and allocate the dollars saved to other resources resulting in an lower overall total cost of ownership.

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