7.5. Managing Equipment and Configurations

The sample test lab inventory for Winged Bytes, presented earlier in this chapter, contains categories of items that can be classified as either consumable or durable. Most of the consumable items don't need any serious management—it's silly to try to keep track of pencils, for example. For such items, the only management concern is ensuring an adequate supply. However, for durable items such as desks, hubs, software, and the like, you'll need to manage them individually.

A common approach is to use asset tags. A sticker or plaque emblazoned with a unique identifier is affixed to each valuable item. (Your company might already use this method for managing desks, chairs, and other durable office furnishings.) Such durable items can be either portable or nonportable. A desk, for example, is fairly nonportable; once you place it, it is likely to stay put. In contrast, a laptop computer or a hub that your team uses for testing might move around. In this case, the ownership concept discussed in the preceding section becomes important. It is immaterial to you, for example, which asset tag is on the chair on which Lin-Tsu sits, but you do care which of the three copies of Microsoft Office she has at her workstation.

Note, however, that it makes sense to consider value when using this approach. Cables are a perfect example. Putting asset tags on telephone wires, and then trying to track who has them, is absurd; it'll cost you more in time than ...

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