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Policy Information

Date Established: 2/1/2012
Date Last Updated: 6/16/2016
Category:
Procurement
Responsible Office:
Procurement Services
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

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Managing University Equipment

Summary

This policy outlines the requirements for identifying and recording university equipment and establishes guidelines for equipment security and accountability.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) has a significant investment in equipment and is committed to recording, maintaining, and safeguarding the equipment from acquisition through disposal. Inventory Services is responsible for the centralized accounting and reporting of university equipment; the department that is the primary user of the equipment is responsible for the proper use and protection of equipment in their custody.

The university utilizes State University of New York (SUNY) Real Asset Management (RAM) to maintain equipment inventory and accurately record:

  • acquisition of equipment items costing $5,000 or more and the assigned bar-coded inventory tag number
  • acquisition of sponsor-defined equipment and the assigned bar-coded inventory tag number
  • change in equipment status (e.g., transfer to another department, change in room location, theft, disposal).

Departments are responsible for annually verifying the equipment inventory maintained in RAM and reporting changes to Inventory Services at least once every two years.

Higher-risk items costing less than $5,000 should have a non-bar-coded UB identification tag affixed. These items are not maintained in RAM, however departments are responsible for periodically spot-checking the items to verify their existence and condition.

Security

Departments are responsible for securing university property in their custody and should document their methods used to:

  • communicate the importance of building and room security to all members of the department (faculty, staff, and students)
  • maintain key control and an inventory of keys
  • tag higher-risk items costing less than $5,000 with a non-bar-coded UB identification tag
  • track higher-risk items removed from campus
  • complete and maintain a Property Removal Authorization Form  for all items recorded in RAM which are removed from campus.

Removal From Campus

University property recorded in RAM may be removed from the campus for university business use with an approved Property Removal Authorization Form.

University property not recorded in RAM may be removed from campus for university business use as long as the department maintains a method to record and track these items. Property to be tracked includes portable electronic devices transported back and forth, such as cell phones and laptops. Tracking methods may include:

  • A file of Property Removal Authorization Forms for all items removed from campus.
  • A department maintained list, spreadsheet, or report that includes the following: borrower’s name, item description, model, and serial number when available.

Ownership

Ownership of all items acquired with state, Research Foundation (RF), or UB Foundation (UBF) funds is vested with the respective entity and not the individual faculty or staff member. This includes items purchased:

  • by an individual for which the cost was reimbursed
  • using a university procurement method such as a purchase order, Procurement Card (PCard), or any eProcurement method.

 

Split-Funding

When state funds (even as little as $1) are used toward the purchase of university equipment, title vests with the state and the item will be recorded in RAM as a state asset if the cost is $5,000 or more. Therefore, it is important to determine funding source and sponsor policy regarding title or ownership of items when considering split-funding for an item. Purchases may be split only if sponsor policy allows title to the equipment to ultimately vest with the RF and/or state. If title must vest with the sponsor, the purchase may not be split.

 

Transfer of Research Foundation (RF) Property

When a Principal Investigator (PI) leaves the university and wishes to transfer sponsored awards and/or items purchased with grant funds to another institution, contact Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) to discuss the transfer. All university approvals must be obtained before items may be transferred.

The PI will:
·  obtain approval for the transfer from the chair and dean of the department
·  contact the department inventory coordinator to provide Inventory Services with a list of the equipment intended to be transferred.

Inventory Services will:
·  confirm sponsor allowability with SPS
·  prepare the RF property transfer form and forward to the PI, chair, and dean for review and signature
·  provide the completed form to RF Central Administration, when required
·  record the inventory changes in RAM.

 

Transfer of State Property

Transfers between state agencies (i.e., SUNY) are permitted. Notify Inventory Services in advance of any intended transfer to/from another state agency; Inventory Services will coordinate the transfer.

When faculty or staff member leaves the university and wishes to transfer items purchased with state funds to another state agency, contact Inventory Services to discuss the transfer. Items purchased with state funds may be transferred only to another state agency.

The faculty or staff member will:
·  obtain approval for the transfer from the chair and dean of the department
·  request the department inventory coordinator to provide Inventory Services with a list of the equipment intended to be transferred.

Inventory Services will:
·  confirm allowability with SUNY System Administration
·  retain approval documentation
·  record the inventory changes in RAM.

 

Transfer of UB Foundation (UBF) Property

When faculty or staff member leaves the university and wishes to transfer items purchased with UBF funds to another institution, UBF should be contacted to discuss the transfer. All university approvals must be obtained before items may be transferred.

The faculty or staff member will:
·  obtain approval for the transfer from the chair and dean of the department
·  request the department inventory coordinator to provide Inventory Services with a list of the equipment intended to be transferred

Inventory Services will:
·  confirm sponsor allowability with UBF
·  retain approval documentation
·  record the inventory changes in RAM.

 

Disposal of University Property

When a department wants to dispose of an item that is no longer useful, the available options depend on the condition and funding source used when the item was purchased.

If an item is in poor or scrap condition, utilize UB SWAP prior to campus disposal.

If the item was purchased with state funds, and is in fair to excellent condition, these programs must be used in the following order:

1.   UB SWAP

2.   SUNY Property Control Listserv

3.  New York State (NYS) Website

If the item was purchased with RF or UBF funds, UB SWAP should be utilized first; the SUNY Property Control Listserv and NYS website may also be used, but are not required. 

Possession Changes and Disposition Options

The following chart summarizes possession changes and related disposition options for items purchased with state, RF, or UBF funds.

Disposition Options State Research
Foundation
UB
Foundation
Disposal Yes,
in accordance with
university procedures
Yes,
in accordance with
university procedures
Yes,
in accordance with
university procedures
Donation No No Yes,
if to a 501(c)(3) entity and
consistent with UB’s mission
Loan Yes,
if to RF or SUNY
Yes Yes,
if to a 501(c)(3) entity and
consistent with UB's mission
Sale No Non-sponsored - Yes
Sponsored
- Depends on
sponsor allowability
Yes,
with prior UBF approval
Transfer Yes,
if to another state agency
Non-sponsored - Yes
Sponsored
- Depends on
sponsor allowability
Yes,
if allowed by sponsor or to
a UB-affiliated program/entity
Trade-in Yes,
if for a state-funded purchase
Non-sponsored - Yes
Sponsored
- Depends on
sponsor allowability
Yes
UB SWAP Yes Non-sponsored: Yes
Sponsored:  Depends on
sponsor allowability
Yes
Guidance For additional guidance on disposition options, procedural details, and applicable approvals,
refer to Equipment Management at UB.

Background

The university utilizes SUNY Real Asset Management (RAM) to maintain the inventory of state, RF, and UBF equipment. RAM facilitates proper and timely reporting of equipment transactions and safeguards against loss.

Applicability

This policy applies to all state, RF, and UBF equipment.

Definitions

Bar-Coded Inventory Tag

A decal containing the RAM asset number and the name of the entity to which title vests (i.e., state, RF, or UBF).

Equipment

Property costing $5,000 or more that may be used repeatedly without any material impairment of physical condition and which has a probable life expectancy of one or more years, including machinery, vehicles, and apparatus. Cost includes the price of the item less any discounts, plus all freight and installation charges; cost does not include warranty, training, maintenance, or trade-in costs. Equipment does not include fixed building equipment such as heating, ventilating, plumbing, and electrical items.

Higher-Risk Items

UB property costing less than $5,000 having a greater potential for theft or that may be easily removed from campus (e.g., portable electronic devices including laptop computers, cameras, projectors), and any items removed from campus. Cost includes the price of the item less any discounts, plus all freight and installation charges; cost does not include warranty, training, maintenance, or trade-in costs.

Inventory Coordinator

Individual appointed by the department head to maintain the department’s equipment inventory, track equipment transfer and disposal, and monitor physical security of items.

Ownership

The university has ownership of all items purchased or reimbursed with state, RF, or UBF funds, transferred, or otherwise acquired unless specifically stated by a sponsor.

Real Asset Management (RAM)

SUNY-wide inventory system used for the purpose of tracking equipment. Equipment costing $5,000 or more must be entered and maintained in RAM.

Split-Funding  

Funding the purchase of an equipment item with monies from multiple sources and/or sponsors.

Sponsor-Defined Equipment

RF property costing less than $5,000 and purchased with funds from a sponsor who requires equipment to be inventoried at a lower dollar level. This equipment is entered and maintained in RAM.

Title

Title will vest with the entity (i.e., state, RF, UBF) that funded the purchase unless otherwise specified in the terms of a sponsor agreement.

UB Identification Tag

Non-bar-coded decal that reads “Property of University at Buffalo” and is affixed to higher-risk items costing less than $5,000.

UB Swap

Website listing surplus equipment available to university departments.

Responsibility

Vice Presidents, Deans

  • Approve the transfer or sale of RF equipment.

Chairs, Department Heads

  • Promote proper use and protection of all university property in their custody.
  • Appoint an inventory coordinator.
  • Approve the removal, disposal, or transfer of equipment.
  • Ensure the duties of the inventory coordinator are performed.

Inventory Coordinator

  • Review RAM inventory reports for accuracy and completeness and return the report to Inventory Services by the date requested.
  • Report equipment location changes to Inventory Services on a timely basis.
    • The Inventory Data Change Form may be used to report equipment location changes.
  • Affix UB identification tags to higher-risk items costing less than $5,000 and any items removed from campus. Periodically spot-check the items to verify their existence and condition.
  • Maintain a current record of property located off-campus including description, bar-coded inventory tag number (if applicable), location, and person responsible for the property.
  • Assist Inventory Services in locating equipment.
  • Obtain advance approval from Inventory Services for the transfer or sale of equipment.
  • Report the theft, loss, or misuse of equipment to University Police.

Inventory Services

  • Manage and maintain the centralized accounting and reporting of university equipment in RAM.
  • Affix bar-coded inventory tags to appropriate equipment items.
  • Issue non-bar-coded UB identification tags to departments for placement on higher-risk items.
  • Upon notification of lost or missing items, make the appropriate entries in RAM and report the missing items to Financial Management.
  • Approve equipment items to be transferred or sold.
  • Prepare RAM inventory reports at least once every two years and send to departments for review.
  • Perform a routine partial inventory at least annually.
  • Identify stolen items that were recorded in RAM and inform Financial Management.

Financial Management

  • Report the loss, theft, or misuse of state items with an original cost in excess of $1,000 to the Office of the State Comptroller and the SUNY Controller’s Office on a quarterly basis.

University Police

  • Report theft of items to Financial Management and Inventory Services.

Contact Information

Nicole Mayer
Procurement Services
224 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY  14260
Phone:  716-645-4556
Email:  nmayer@buffalo.edu

Related Information

Procedures

Refer to Equipment Management at UB webpage for detailed guidelines on managing university equipment.

University Documents

Forms

Related Links

History

June 2016

Full review. Revisions include but are not limited to:

· Replacing the term 'high-risk equipment' with 'higher-risk items'

· Incorporating SUNY’s change to utilizing Real Asset Management (RAM) to record and maintain equipment inventory

· Emphasizing that university equipment may be removed from the campus only for university business use; removal must be documented with a Property Removal Authorization Form or other departmental tracking method

· Adding a statement that ownership of all items acquired with state, RF, or UBF funds is vested with the respective entity and not the individual faculty or staff member

· Clarifying state equipment loans in the Possession Changes and Disposition Options section

February 2015
Updated to clarify the Ownership/Possession Changes section and High-Risk Equipment definition allowing the removal of equipment from campus only for business use.   

Presidential Approval

Signed by President Satish K. Tripathi

Satish K. Tripathi, President

6/16/2016

Date