What is one word that can make any officer groan, that will strike fear into the heart of anyone? A word so trivial, yet so powerful, and has so much responsibility associated with it? I’ll give you one guess…
Yes, inventory. Not all inventories are huge and scary and take days, like the Change of Command Inventory. Sometimes, inventories are small, daily checks on sensitive items when you’re in theater (PCCs and PCIs anyone?) or quarterly checks, 10% cyclic inventory – you get the picture. With so many ways to conduct inventories, here are my observations about Army inventories.
The Army Regulation 740-26, Physical Inventory Control, is what governs Army inventories. Other pertinent regulations include AR 735-5, Policies and Procedures for Property Accountability; and AR 710-2, Supply Policy Below the National Level. This is not a complete list, but some that I believe could be useful references.
Property accountability is a daunting task, but very important. When should you be prepared to conduct an inventory? Listed below I will share the different types of Army inventories.
# 1 Change of Primary Hand Receipt Holder (PHRH), also known as Change of Command Inventory – This inventory just makes sense. Why would you take command of a unit without checking all the equipment, and seeing if everything you are signing for is indeed there? When you take command, you have 30 days to complete this inventory. It’s not guaranteed that you can get put on orders to do this, so you may want to at least try to get retirement points. If you need more than 30 days, you can make a request in writing to have it extended.
# 2 Annual/Cyclic Inventories – Annual inventories are 100% inventories conducted every year of all the property assigned to the unit. If the annual inventory is not to be conducted, you have several options for cyclic inventories. The first is a monthly 10% inventory. The second is a quarterly 25% inventory, and the third is a semi-annual 50% inventory. I have found that most units conduct a 10% cyclic every month, which seems to be easiest and can be done by an officer in the unit (such as a PL, or XO). Doing a cyclic inventory may be most efficient and the best way to catch small discrepancies.
# 3 Sensitive Item Inventories – These inventories will be done every quarter for sensitive items (think NVGs and GPS) and CCI. Explosives, firearms and other hazmat will be done monthly. Sensitive item inventories tend to stress people out the most, because they must be done by serial number and any discrepancies must be reported immediately.
# 4 Split Hand Receipt Inventories and TPE Inventories – These are deployment-specific inventories. Split HR inventories are done when a unit deploys. In the ARNG, left behind equipment gets signed over to the rear detachment or that state’s USPFO. TPE inventories are done in theater for Theater Provided Equipment.
There are ways to deal with lost equipment. A Financial Liability Investigation of Property Loss (FLIPL) is done and assigns liability to the responsible party. It also adjusts the property records. An investigating officer will be assigned to conduct the investigation, and they will write their recommendation. The commander will give a time limit on the investigation, so it gets done within a reasonable amount of time.
Inventories make the property world go round, and they are a tool for the commander to ensure that supply discipline is being utilized. Inventories may be a pain, but they are necessary and can prevent a world of hurt later on. Make sure you conduct your inventories when necessary.
What are your experiences with conducting inventories? Any tips or strategies? Please let me know in the comments below.