What Is an Assignment Method?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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An assignment method is an approach to the allocation of resources, from personnel to equipment, that will result in the most optimal distribution and utilization of those resources. Assignment methods are used not just in the business world, but also in organizational structures and a variety of other applications. There are many different ways to approach resource problems, and periodic reevaluations may reveal new ways to handle them, especially in changing work environments where needs and resources may change quickly.

Businesses use an assignment method to make budgeting decisions, deciding where to invest funds and how to distribute monies to different departments and projects. They may consider past performance, ongoing projects, and things in development when they decide how to allocate the assets. The goal is to make money available while discouraging waste in a department, to keep the department functional and lean. Companies may also want to retain funds for emergencies, investments, and other needs that could arise during their operations.

Equipment and facilities can also be allocated with an assignment method. Businesses have a finite number of physical resources like computers and warehouses, and need to use them effectively. It might devote new computers and resources like more bandwidth and storage to a department working on a big project, for instance, so the project's needs won't outstrip its available resources. Conversely, a small department might need much less, and would find new computers or equipment like tablets redundant for its operations.


People can also be treated as resources and sent to various departments and regions under an assignment method. This can commonly be seen with a sales force, where a company wants personnel in the right markets at the right times. It can recall salespeople to move them to different districts, beefing up representation where necessary and cutting back in communities where these personnel are not as necessary.

The same assignment method approach is used for things like assigning Internet protocol (IP) addresses, registration numbers for aircraft, liquor licenses, and a wide variety of other unique identifiers and privileges. The assignment method can help an agency decide how many to offer, and how to distribute the offer to make it fair and reasonable. In a county with a small population, for example, few drivers' license numbers are needed by the department of motor vehicles, while in an urban county with a big population, a huge number might need to be allocated.


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