Fixed asset verification is a manual and labour-intensive process. For the Dean’s Office at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine), this involved on-site verification of over 2,000 assets located within NUS and island-wide, in hospitals and research institutes.
To streamline and improve this process, the NUS Medicine Organisational Excellence (OE) unit facilitated a Continuous Improvement Project (CIP) to implement the use of barcode technology and handheld barcode scanners. With this change, the fixed asset verification team was able to reduce time spent on completing the process, eliminate hardcopy asset lists and errors in updating asset data.
The success of this exercise led to a follow-up collaboration by the NUS Medicine OE and Finance units, to scale up the approach for the entire school. As a project of this scale would require resilience and team work to meet the deadlines of changing existing workflows, managing recruitment challenges and standardising asset data, a multi-department CIP team was formed to review the end-to-end process of asset capitalisation, verification and decommissioning.
Forming a project team with members from diverse backgrounds and expertise helped the staff working on the project to deepen their understanding of ground issues, and explore innovative solutions together. Project Leader Sabrina Ameer, Senior Manager (Finance) who championed the CIP said, “There are always areas of improvement to work on, the key thing is to keep an open mind to change. Convincing people to embrace new ways of working can be challenging, especially when the University is trying to centralise processes.”
Within three months, the team had affixed QR codes on all 11,000 assets across 18 departments and two centres at NUS Medicine. With the fixed asset management centralised in the Finance unit of the Dean’s Office at NUS Medicine, only two staff are required to complete the process, as compared to dozens of staff from various departments previously. Staff can also retrieve simple asset information on their mobile phones with a quick scan of the QR code.
The innovative use of a QR scanning system for fixed asset verification has brought significant time savings and increased staff productivity, and the team hopes to share this solution across the University.
Project Facilitator Vickneshwaran Thangavelu, Head of NUS Medicine OE unit shared, “Buy-in from the staff, collective team effort and contribution from various departments helped to get the project off the ground successfully, which brought about an end-to-end change in the asset verification process.”
Project Facilitator, Vickneshwaran (left) and Project Leader, Sabrina led the transformation of asset verification
OE is a strategic initiative undertaken by the University to develop best practices for an efficient and world-class administration to better support NUS’ Vision and Mission. It aims to bring about improved work processes and policies as well as create opportunities for talent development and growth.