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Community College Automates Inventory Tracking to Meet Government Audits

Hillsborough Community College uses RFID to manage nearly 17,000 assets on five campuses.
By Michael Belfiore
Oct 11, 2015

According to Rodney Bohach, inventory control was a mess when he began his new job as the property and distribution services coordinator at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) in September 2011. That made it difficult for the five-campus, 28,000-student college, located in Hillsborough County, Florida, to efficiently and accurately file required inventory reports.

Like all U.S. public institutions, HCC must meet state regulations on asset audits. All items purchased by public institutions in Florida whose value exceeds $1,000, for example, must be accounted for in annual reports. This includes not just when such items are placed in service, but also when they are discarded or donated at the end of their useful life at the institution. Items purchased with federal grant money must also be tallied in separate reports.

A range of items can be tagged and tracked, such as a car (above) or laptop.
The job at HCC is especially challenging given its multiple locations, each with five major departments, for a total of 25 departments. Assets tracked at HCC include vehicles, network switches, audio-visual equipment, computers, microscopes, and other laboratory devices and food-service equipment—a total of $324 million in active assets. Inactive assets—that is, those that are no longer in service at HCC—must also be tallied to account for depreciation.

Bohach has established a close working relationship with SPT's Ted Kostis. The two worked together to update the IntelliView software, which runs on cloud-based servers leased by SPT.
In 2009, HCC worked with Silent Partner Technologies (SPT) to implement an RFID asset-management solution, which features its IntelliView software application. SPT spent several months going through each department to identify inventory and tag every asset beyond the $1,000 threshold. "Properly identifying and categorizing each and every asset was a challenge, to say the least," says Ted Kostis, SPT's CEO.

Since HCC staff members were not involved with this process, proper tagging procedures were never implemented. Bohach found that the students who had been put in charge of tagging the college's assets had gone "bananas," tagging some assets multiple times. "They were tagging, double tagging and adding assets that had already been tagged," he says. In addition, four or more different names and descriptions for the same item would sometimes appear in the database, making tracking them more difficult.

Fresh from a 24-year stint in the U.S. Air Force, managing the comings and goings of tools used for aircraft maintenance, Bohach began a new mission: getting HCC's inventory in shape. "It's been several years of me trying to clean this up," Bohach says. He and his team of three property assistants implemented new procedures and upgraded some of the RFID technology. The improvements resulted in significant benefits, he reports, including fewer person hours spent inventorying the 16,900 items, clear oversight over the college's assets, and a clear path to future enhancements.

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