How Ford Misplaced $100K Worth of Leather (& How to Ensure it Doesn’t Happen to your IT Assets)

Remember that time your company misplaced over $100,000? Someone in your company stored assets in a basement, then moved on from the company, and left no record of this logistical change?

Ford does.

And all it took to find it was a building demolition.

Before the Ford Product Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan got demolished, employees did some walkthroughs of the facility and came across 250 cowhides – valued at $450-500 each. That’s over $100,000 worth of high-grade interior leather.

And as surprising as it might sound, they’re not the only ones. One airline, for example, found $200,000 worth of new, unboxed laptops sitting in a storage room. Nobody knows how long they were there.

This is extremely common with IT assets especially.

How does this happen?

How companies lose IT assets all the time

Keeping track of thousands of IT assets is like herding cats. Here are some common reasons we see all the time:

  • Computers aren’t recorded when they’re received, nor is there a larger, organized IT asset management process.
  • When a computer doesn’t work, an employee is likely to pull out a company credit card and order a new one. This isn’t done out of bad intentions or laziness. Many people would never guess their companies’ computers have secret hiding places.
  • Hidden computers aren’t always stored at the same place, making it more challenging to discover them. A large consulting company had hidden computers distributed across more than 100 locations – that it knows about. It continues finding more computers all the time. We’ve heard about clients finding computers in closets, drawers… you name it.
  • Sometimes employees try to save existing computers and send them off to maintenance. But somewhere along the way, these computers get set aside and forgotten.
  • Got remote employees? We’ve seen companies send out computers to off-site team members, but then forget to collect them back when new computers are purchased, or when the employees leave the company.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to avoid these types of treasure hunts.

3 top needs for efficient, cost-effective hardware asset management

Treasure hunts are fun, of course, but reducing costs and environmental impact by using the hardware assets you already have is even more fun.

Here’s what you need to make it happen:

  1. Expertise
    Your IT asset managers need to specialize in data security and compliance requirements.  Not only that, you need staff that understand and focus on getting it done.
  2. Technology
    Your IT asset management system must have these elements to be functional:

    1. Process control: Create a consistent and controllable process, with exception reporting, to verify every asset is handled correctly.
    2. Automation: Integrate barcode automation to know which assets are moved, as well as when and where they’re moved. Doing this manually is unrealistic for companies with a large number of assets.
    3. Data and analytics: Just like with your financial system and ERP, you need real time reporting and analytics to efficiently manage the millions of dollars your IT equipment is likely worth.
  3. Centralized Staff and Facilities
    1. Hardware assets take up space, especially if you have a lot of them. Receiving, deploying and disposing of assets requires additional space for the equipment and technology that enable these processes.
    2. Trying to do this in a decentralized way is prone to errors, security lapses, and misplaced gear.

How *not* to misplace $100,000 worth of hardware… even if IT assets isn’t your company’s strongest skill

The challenge most companies stumble upon is that managing IT assets is a skill set that needs deep and constant development. It requires specializing in security, compliance, availability and savings… but most companies have so much on their plates, that they don’t have the capacity – or don’t believe they do – to add another specialization.

After all, they already excel at complex and continuously changing areas such as banking, healthcare or manufacturing.

The secret is to not do it alone. The robust Re-Source Partners platform, for example, was founded to help companies out with this exact challenge. We’ve accumulated over 20 years of success stories, helping some of the best known companies in the world save millions, improve security and ensure compliance.

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