When I was serving in the U.S. Army, we had these events called "equipment layouts." This entailed everyone taking all his stuff, and the unit's stuff from wherever it might be kept and putting each item on the ground in a particular pattern.
For example, an individual solider might lay down a poncho and empty out the contents of his rucksack on it. Then, for example, everyone would put the canteen in the bottom-right, and the compass in the top-right, so everyone's pile of stuff looked the same. This allowed the leadership to quickly visually assess what item you may be missing.
The process scaled up to the unit level as well. Behind four individual ponchos of gear, you might see all the items that belong to the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank behind them. That scene would be repeated four times for the platoon, and then repeated three times for the Company (Real tankers would certainly use the term, "Troop" instead of "Company", but I served with the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and "infantry-ese" was the order of the day.) Speaking of terminology, some of our NATO allies might know what we "yanks" call layouts as "kit inspections".
Doing layouts was an annoying process and you'd be required to conduct one every time a new leader assumed command, meaning he was now responsible for all the equipment.
There was always a right way and a wrong way to arrange the gear. That was defined in a unit SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). Once everyone was satisfied all equipment was accounted for, new "twenty-sixty-twos" were distributed and signed. That paperwork refers to DA Form 2062, the personal hand receipt. See, every single piece of equipment in the Army -- from the tank to a single compass -- was assigned to someone. That someone was responsible for that gear. Commanders could delegate the equipment they had "signed for" to platoon leaders, whom would in turn delegate the assignment to each tank crew, and down to individual soldiers. The point was, everything was assigned to a person, who was ultimately responsible for the asset.
These layouts that we were forced to do boiled down to conducting an inventory audit of all company assets. The Army required 100% accountability and had a defined, communicated, and repeatable standard that everyone followed. They had a standard and right or wrong, it was the process. That was the only way to ensure that the military equipment the government purchased with tax dollars was accounted for and accurate. And it ensured the sensitive equipment we had like radios with proprietary encryption and dangerous and deadly weapons systems were properly tracked and managed and kept in the right hands. These equipment layouts must have been conducted by our army and other armies countless times throughout the years. They were easy enough to be conducted by the lowest-ranking private. Nothing in the process was remarkable or unique. Yet, we never see this in the business world.
Why aren't we doing anything like these inventory layouts for the assets in our companies when its our money and our careers at stake?
Every office in every company has corporate assets that further their mission and should be managed. Within every enterprise, such questions are asked all the time:
Who is "signed for" the $3,000 printer?
When was the last inventory audit conducted?
Is there an SOP on how those audits are performed?
Are the roles and responsibilities known?
Does anybody know where the 10 new monitors we just received are located?
In the corporate world, this is classic asset management and facilities management. (Can we refer to the appropriate set of terms as "asset-ese"?) These practices can save you countless dollars if done properly and cost you innumerable dollars if done poorly. And that's before we even start talking about sensitive corporate assets such as proprietary IP and company secrets. How much would it cost a software company if they lost their source code? (Answer: the whole company).
At Stave, we had asked ourselves these very same questions. We also wanted to know how we could solve these problems by extending the ServiceNow cloud platform. That's why we developed Stave FacilitiesMAX. FacilitiesMAX extends ServiceNow and adds capabilities to the default facilities and field services modules -- capabilities and features that robust enterprises need to manage and secure their gear, equipment, and assets. We made FacilitiesMAX available for immediate download and free 30-day trial form the ServiceNow Store.
If I were still in the U.S. Army, I absolutely be using these key features of the app:
Kit Build Assembly. Kit builds offer you ability to group a set of assets and treat them as one. This feature lets you define anything from complete computer labs, to vehicles outfitted with specialty packages, to standard office furniture builds, to any specialty system that you intend to track and manage more than once. This dramatically reduces the time to manage your assets and makes it easy to "copy and paste" whole managed kit builds across your enterprise. The army could use this to define soldier's "TA-50s" -- all the basic equipment like canteens and first-aid kits and even rifles that is issued to every warrior. All that equipment could be linked and tracked, moved, retired, and expensed at once to dramatically maximize your time and efficiency.
Automated Inventory. We're sorry that you don't need to physically place items in your storerooms and equipment rooms on the floor with FacilitiesMAX. We've actually saved you a significant amount of work. The inventory audit feature allows you to go around an area scanning your assets with a standard bar code reader. FacilitiesMAX will then automatically alerts you to what equipment you didn't scan it was expecting as well as equipment you scanned that was previously unknown or different to the system. The app can work with most bar code scanners and if you haven't tagged your assets with asset IDs or bar code tags, we can help there too with our QR Code Generator app.
That's not all we've included in FacilitiesMAX and we'd love to give you and your team a live demo. We can talk about work order management, failure reporting, pro-active maintenance management, fleet management, and full integration with the GIS map solutions from both Google and Esri ArcGIS Online.
Pick up your PRC-77 radio, TA-1 field phone, or just use your email and contact us at Stave today about improving your asset and facilities management using ServiceNow for your business.