How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Affecting IT Inventory Management

Desperate times, they say, call for desperate measures. We live under unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic where everything that seemed normal a few months ago is no longer practicable naturally. For instance, look at supply chain management – there’s been a massive change in inventory supplies, consumer behavior, logistical costs, and more.

The only way for asset managers to maintain their operations and get ahead of the competition is by reinventing new ways to adapt their processes in line with the current situation. Learning institutions, businesses, and government agencies are turning to digitalization and technology tools like asset management software to help keep up with their IT inventory management.

Despite the efforts, asset management during Covid-19 still faces significant challenges, like managing assets remotely and keeping up with state-imposed guidelines. Despite the efforts, asset management during Covid-19 still faces significant challenges. So let’s get started.

Supply Chain Disruptions 

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a shift in employee priorities at work, causing dramatic supply chain disruptions. Unlike a few months ago, when employees valued such criteria as career development and salary, today, they pay more attention to their health and wellbeing, company values, and workplace safety. The drastic shift by businesses from brick and mortar to e-commerce operations has also changed inventory and supply chains’ management and maintenance.

Here’s the problem; for effective inventory optimization, managers must have full visibility over the assets in an end-to-end manner. This means keeping updated with coronavirus information, analyzing potential risks, and readying for the consequences. In short, optimizing inventory flows means having a clear flowchart of each operation so that they can rectify any mishap before it causes damage.

An asset management tool like Notifii Checkout can help managers keep track of high-value items using at-a-glance information. This will go a long way with keeping up with the change in checkout and loaning patterns while upholding packages’ safety.

Managing Assets Remotely

Recently, many organizations have made the switch to 100% remote working as a way of reducing operational costs and neutralizing the effects of COVID-19. As such, managing assets from working from home (WFH) setup has proven to be challenging in many ways.

For starters, there’s an issue of cybersecurity vulnerability and risk. Home-based workers face the risk of ill-intended attacks like malware, especially when they’re using personal devices and networks to run assets. Since the private networks have one or more services exposed to the internet, cyber threat actors can leverage that weak link and stage costly attacks on company inventory.

Employees using cable modems and routers with default settings also expose IT inventory management to cyber threats. Hackers can easily access usernames and passwords of the internet-linked cables and modems, creating space for attacks.

So, what’s a long-lasting solution for security threats resulting from remote assets management? Since it’s almost impossible to ensure that personal home-based networks meet compliance requirements, creating company-specific policies and procedures for your WFH team would be a great start. Frankly, this won’t remove all the security risks linked with a remote setup, but it will eliminate a large portion of basic attacks like phishing and malware.

Holding Inventory vs. Coping Up with the Demand

Eric Carter, a solutions architect at Indigo Software, puts everything in black and white, “for a lot of businesses, they have to carefully balance between the cost of holding inventory against very tight cash flow vs. having enough stock to cope with the heightened demand.”

The pandemic has had a significant impact on most businesses’ cash flows. Tying up the cash in inventory when the same is needed elsewhere is a tough balance to make. It’s paramount for companies to identify and distribute the excess inventory currently lingering in the supply chain.

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How to Overcome IT Inventory Management Challenges

Accurate Tracking of Inventory

Knowing the exact location of items at any given time is a MUST. A good package management company can provide you with the right tools and software to manage your inventories more efficiently. Openness is also crucial; make a habit of warning your employees if the packages may be arriving late to eliminate any complaints or dissatisfaction.

Centralizing Essential Data

If you can manage to centralize all influential sets of data for in-depth analysis before drawing a forecast, your team can easily overcome the challenges above. Doing so is the only way for your team to get real-time information to make the best decisions concerning inventory movement.

Backup Inventory Data

Remember the cybersecurity threats we discussed above? Losing valuable inventory data can be a colossal setback. The good news is that you can avoid these risks by frequently backing up your data files in the cloud with modern asset management software.

Transparency is Key

Keeping your team updated on the status of their loaned assets can save you lots of trouble. You may have the most updated inventory management strategy, but that may not bar other logistical issues like delays from surfacing. Being transparent and notifying your clients about any developments will give them reassurance that they’ll receive their inventory come what may.

Core Recommendations

There’s no denying it; COVID-19 has disrupted every sector of the world economy. It has also exposed many weaknesses, particularly in supply chains, that most asset managers overlooked in the past. The coronavirus bottlenecks like high logistical costs, supply chain disruptions, and regulatory compliance may be aggravating. However, your clients still expect their loaned assets to arrive without any issues or delays.

Come to think of it; the pandemic serves an unforgettable lesson and an invaluable eye-opener for everyone. In particular, IT inventory managers need to get out of their comfort zones and devise long-lasting solutions for the aftermaths of events like COVID.

Luckily for you, you can remediate some, if not all, of these challenges by leveraging the best asset management tools like Notifii Checkout. If you’re interested in finding out more about this state-of-the-art software and how it can ease your IT inventory management processes during these challenging times and post-COVID, schedule a demo today!

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