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Workplace Asset Inventory – Deltion College

Our Workplace Asset Inventory offered Deltion a glance into the future...

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Workplace Asset Inventory- Deltion College

Workplace Asset Inventory – Deltion College

Since 2015 Measuremen has undertaken Workplace Occupancy Studies at Deltion College in Zwolle. Deltion wanted to take the next step in 2018: getting a glance into the future with a Workplace Asset Inventory, which gives insights on when the inventory will have to be replaced.

Text: Peter Bekkering

Margon voor de Poort is Head of Housing, Space Management & Design as the operational manager of Deltion College. For a longer period of time, she has been in contact with Measuremen, who have been executing Workplace Occupancy Studies since 2015 for Deltion on the current campus built in 2008. “We reached out to Measuremen after we experienced growth in registrations for a number of consecutive years, and at one point we wanted to measure what effect this growth had on housing. We also wanted to look at both occupation and utilisation. With a Workplace Occupancy Study from Measuremen we can independently measure whether we do what we say. We compared the collected data with the corresponding schedule.”

The next step was to look at our furniture. “The campus was mainly furnished with furniture from the former eleven locations of Deltion that were spread all over Zwolle. Every location had its own culture and design.”  In the early years, a lot of inventory was renewed, but the need for future plans and to gain insight into when the inventory would need to be replaced increased. The one problem we crossed: no one had kept track of what was already there, what had been purchased, where all the furniture was, and what its status was. “We wanted to have a solid foundation for a multi-year financial plan concerning the replacement.”

Deltion already had the TOPdesk housing module, which includes all areas of the campus. During the summer holidays of 2018, Measuremen started to count the furniture – a total of about 22,000 pieces of furniture – per room. “We hired Measuremen to count the inventory based on 80 furnishing elements and classify everything else as Other. The 80 furnishing elements were linked to a product and supplier description.”

This immediately brings Voor de Poort to the first lesson learned: “If I could repeat the study, I would let Measuremen also specify the ‘Other’ category. As we are now working on redefining the category ‘Other’ since 2019.


Lesson learned 1: With a Workplace Asset Inventory, think carefully about what you want to register, to what level you want to specify, how you describe it, and what your goal is.

The count that Measuremen carried out on behalf of Deltion had a clear goal: it should form the input for a multi-year maintenance plan (MJOP) and manage the associated investment request. “That is why specifying ‘Other’ was also necessary. Since it is indicated per room on the campus how many of each furnishing element is present, I know, for example, how many Other coat racks I have. And since I know the price of the suppliers, I know what amount I have to reserve.”

At the start of the count, Measuremen asked Voor de Poort if she wanted the furniture numbered. She consciously chose not to do that. “If someone takes a piece of furniture from one room to another, my numbering is no longer correct. And the chance that this happens on a campus like this is tremendous. Moreover, I do not have the ambition that my overview is 100% correct since I deal with people – 1,300 employees and 17,000 students – who will move furniture somehow. If my overview is 90% accurate, it is workable.”


Lesson learned 2: When dealing with people, it is impossible to collect 100% correct data with a Workplace Occupancy Study.

Now that the overview has been refined and a list of 118 furnishing elements has been created, it is time for the next step: the list will be imported into TOPdesk in May 2020. As a result, TOPdesk now contains both the housing system – the buildings – and the furnishing system. And because TOPdesk also includes the MJOP and the financial planning, Voor de Poort now has a dashboard with which she can steer. “Thanks to this, I now have my furnishing view in order. I have everything in one system and because of that I know when I need to replace any furniture.”

Voor de Poort emphasizes that when there is a difference between experience and usage on one hand and measurement on the other, what matters is that you speak the same language. “The starting point is the end-user, which is education. To be able to give education with certain qualities, you need contact moments and for that, you need space and furniture.”

Workplace Asset Inventory- Deltion College
Lesson learned 3: Measuring is not the goal, but the means to achieve goals.

Voor de Poort realises that the refined list of furniture, divided over 118 furnishing elements, has a certain ‘best-before date’ and that it is, therefore, important to properly monitor the mutation process – which changes after the one-off large-scale measurement of Measuremen. She has a good solution for this: she has an employee who does his rounds frequently, who changes everything that has been bought in furniture since the 2018 census into the list, who makes clear what “Other” is and who checks everything else.


Lesson learned 4: After the one-off large-scale inventory, it is important to continue to monitor the mutation process properly, due to the ‘best-before date’.

According to Voor de Poort, the current situation, a housing and furnishing system in TOPdesk and an employee who monitors the mutation process, is the maximum attainable for Deltion with regard to the actual registration of the furniture. Looking back, she admits that it took many more hours to arrive at this point than she had previously estimated. “It is a laborious management model. Therefore, think carefully when you start. If, as a school, you have the ambition to change a lot in terms of furnishings in two years ‘time, do not make an inventory of the old furniture now, but start with it in two years’ time.”


Lesson learned 5: Choose the right moment for a Workplace Asset Inventory.

When Voor de Poort, together with Bram Aarntzen from Measuremen, considers the entire furniture inventory process at Deltion, four stages of maturity can be distinguished: Inventory (large summer 2018 census), Control (2018-2019), Optimise (refine Other in 2019 and include in TOPdesk in Q2 2020) and Create.



Aarntzen explains what he means by the last phase: “All purchased furniture represents value. And that value is relevant because another trend in purchasing is circularity. As at Deltion, you can give value back to society from that circularity perspective when you as an organization no longer need certain furniture because it has been written off economically and functionally. For Deltion, It may also be the case that part of a piece of furniture has to be replaced, but that another part is still perfectly usable. ” Voor de Poort responds to this: “Based on sustainability, circularity and the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, we as Deltion are certainly working on this. In addition, with that value, you can not only create circularity, but also flexibility. Because I have now made my catalogue so wide that I can facilitate many types of environments with student sets in terms of furniture at all times. This means that I cannot respond to all specific wishes – someone who necessarily wants a red table or chair – because I consider flexibility and circularity more important. I can try to create unity in a certain place by sliding internally with my furnishing elements. This is now easy thanks to my list because I know what I have and where it is located. ”

For Voor de Poort, the furniture inventory deliberately chooses not to include the maintenance status (new – as good as new – slightly damaged – heavily damaged and defective) per object. “In a dynamic educational environment such as Deltion with thousands of students, this changes so often  that I see no added value in it at the moment.” Aarntzen adds: “At the same time, we have included it in our approach because customers often ask for it. However, it is up to the customer whether or not to choose. ”

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