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Acquisition planning is a coordination process to prepare for the smooth and uneventful acquisition of a new asset or supply. This may be necessary for particularly large or complex assets, and is especially common at government agencies. These agencies must be able to document not just the need for an asset, but the process used to acquire it, to assure taxpayers that their monies are being spent wisely and appropriately. Government plans may be open to members of the public if an asset is not confidential in nature.
There are several stages to acquisition planning, including meetings to identify needs, locate assets to meet those needs, and secure approval from the appropriate authorities. Once an organization has approval to purchase an asset, it can move on to the coordination phase of acquisition planning. For instance, if a government agency wants to replace its computer systems, it needs to develop a time line for the replacement, and the time line must discuss the specific roles of various workers in the process.
Companies involved in acquisition planning can delegate employee responsibilities for every stage, including transferring, unloading, testing, and installing assets. The level of planning necessary can depend on the asset. In the planning stages, personnel attempt to think of any potential issues that may arise so they can preempt or anticipate them. The technical specifications of the asset are subject to careful review to identify potential problems and concerns like fragility or the need for special equipment to handle the asset.
In asset acquisition planning, personnel needs like training may also be considered. For something like the installation of a new computer system, workers may need a day of training or more to learn the new system. The planners need to build in time off or a temporary suspension in operations while the asset is installed and tested and employees learn how to use it. Planners may develop contingency plans; a government agency, for instance, may need access to a backup system in the event of a problem with the installation of a new one.
Specialists in asset acquisition planning can act as consultants and advisers to assist with this process. They can be involved at every step, from the initial meeting to discuss an unmet need to the final installation of the asset. This work requires knowledge of the organization, critical thinking skills, and the ability to look at situations from a variety of angles.