3 Assessment of existing equipment

3.1 The importance of an equipment inventory

One planning tool you need is an equipment inventory. This provides you with all the details of the equipment that you currently own. It is very important to know all about your current stock of equipment, so that:

  • any allocation of resources is an objective assessment, and not guesswork (therefore budgets are based upon the actual quantity of equipment owned);

  • you can manage equipment effectively because you are not dealing with unknown quantities (for example, the HTM manager knows how many suction pumps to include in the planned preventive maintenance programme);

  • you can calculate what you can afford to operate or run (therefore you do not overestimate or underestimate the consumables required and set your recurrent budgets accurately);

  • you can develop realistic plans for the future because you know your current equipment situation (therefore you do not waste funds procuring new equipment while neglecting the replacement of existing essential items).

As an example, we can consider the importance of an inventory for planning maintenance activities:

  • if you want your equipment to function, you must maintain it;

  • if you want to maintain your equipment stock, you must budget for maintenance;

  • to be able to budget adequately, you must have an idea of the value of what you own.

An equipment inventory is an important tool because it enables you to:

  • identify the shortfalls in your equipment stock (once you have developed a model equipment list to compare it to);

  • implement your equipment replacement and disposal policies;

  • implement your equipment purchasing and donations policies;

  • calculate the new value of your equipment stock (using up-to-date prices) which will be used for calculating your budgets.

2.5 Healthcare technology committees

3.2 Who is responsible for the equipment inventory?