Better asset management

A McGill team is implementing a new system for managing the University’s computers, research equipment, vehicles, teaching and learning equipment, furniture, and other assets.

inventoryMcGill has set-up an interdisciplinary group of managers and administrators to develop and implement an institutional framework and system for sound asset management. The team, which includes professionals from IT Services, Financial Services, Procurement Services, University Services and the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), has already been reaching out to hundreds of community members within research units, faculties and administrative units to discuss current practices and identify the best way forward.

“This is a compliance and stewardship project,” explains Christiane Tinmouth, Associate Vice-Principal, Financial Services, “and we already foresee multiple practical advantages to having a clear and streamlined process for asset management and adopting best practices.”

Nathalie Foisset, Associate Director – Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), agrees: “Having a proper inventory which allows us to know which research equipment is available at McGill, tracking its whereabouts, optimizing the lifecycle management of our assets and facilitating decommissioning processes are just some of the advantages we are aiming for.”

Recently, a team scouted both campuses to find out how assets are currently managed and found a wide variety of asset management practices across the university. Matt Koch, IT project manager, explains: “Some departments’ practices are relatively mature and we will be able to leverage their work as this project proceeds. We also found that McGill stakeholders were very happy and eager to participate in better asset management. Our role as a team, will be to set the parameters, taking account of governmental and granting agency requirements, and provide the necessary tools so that proper asset management can be rolled out as efficiently as possible.”

“An IT Asset Management Regulation, which governs the lifecycle management of University IT assets, has already been adopted and gradually rolled-out,” confirms Koch. “This was a priority due to a Québec law passed a few years ago, which made the University accountable for ensuring the longevity of its IT resources. “

In addition to the ongoing deployment of the IT Asset Management Regulation, the focus now includes the management of research-funded assets. As a first step in achieving compliance to asset tracking mandates set forth by the major Canadian and US research granting agencies, McGill will begin to track and tag research assets by the end of the year. In this phase, the goals are to implement:

  • systematic asset tracking and tagging processes for newly-acquired assets valued over $10,000.
  • a clear, defined process for tracking and managing used and end-of-life equipment, in keeping with the current Guidelines & Procedures for Disposal of Major Research Instruments, Equipment & Software.

Those impacted by these new processes will be provided with additional information and support as the project progresses.

In the near future, the project will also seek to address asset management for other major asset categories, such as vehicles, teaching and learning equipment, furniture, and more.

From a sustainability perspective, this is a great move forward,” comments François Miller, McGill’s Sustainability Director. “With proper asset management, we will be able to improve application of the University’s 4-R hierarchy (Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for a series of different goods, materials and equipment. The IT Asset Management Regulation already generated economic savings and environmental benefits by facilitating IT reuse across departments. I’m sure we can do this for other assets as well.”

For more information please contact Stephanie Leclerc, Project Manager, Sustainable Procurement by email or by phone (514) 398-2096