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February 2000

A new Web warehouse: Sam's goes online

Kerry Slaven (left) and Chris Knoetgen at Sam's warehouse. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

UCAR's closest thing to a swap meet is housed in an unassuming prefabricated building in the town of Marshall, just south of Boulder. Sam's Warehouse is the official UCAR repository for items that have outlived their immediate usefulness but aren't quite ready for the dustbin.

Like a good auto salvage yard, the challenge for Sam's is to help people find what they need among the stuff they don't. This hasn't been easy until lately, but a new Web site created by Traffic Services clerk Chris Knoetgen will soon allow staff to root through the holdings of Sam's warehouse on line. The Web site is at http://www.fin.ucar.edu/sass/Material/warehse.htm.

Early in 1998, Material Handling supervisor Kerry Slaven and former employee Dean Lindstrom assigned Chris the task of getting the warehouse in shape. Sam's--named after a long-gone employee--was originally located in north Boulder and then at the Marshall Field Site (when it was nicknamed "Stuff at Marshall") before moving to its current space in 1989. Its reputation preceded it. According to Kerry, "For the longest time, it was known as 'the hellhole.' It was completely disorganized." Chris already had some experience in cleaning up warehouses, but Sam's tested his organizational mettle.

"I went and looked and I thought, What have I gotten myself into?--because it looked so bad. I knew this would be a long project, but I wanted to give it a shot," says Chris. In over a month of full-time work and another 18 of part-time effort, Chris chipped away at the holdings, classifying as he went. Duplicate publications were recycled; aged computers were donated to schools through NSF. As the clutter slowly cleared, Chris says, "the project started to be more fun."

The new Sam's was unveiled with an open house last July attended by several dozen staff. Each item is now marked with its date of acquisition and identified by aisle, tier, and shelf. Chris spent last summer and fall moving the hard-copy inventory on line. Staff will be able to use the Web to browse the inventory and order items for delivery the next working day. You will also be able to search the on-line database to verify what's stored under your name at Sam's and where it is among the shelves. The Web-based inventory will be updated each Monday morning. There are plenty of chairs, desks, and file cabinets available, says Chris.

If you're cleaning out your office or your archives, Sam's may be the place for your excess stuff. Check the sidebar for some tips on what can be stored and how.

Bob Henson

Salvage vs. scrap: a quick guide to the lingo

Sam's accepts excess, surplus, and salvage equipment. Both Chris (ext. 1143, knoetgen@ucar.edu) and Kerry (ext. 1151, slaven@ucar.edu) can answer questions about what's appropriate for storing at Sam's. Janet Campbell (ext. 8858, janetc@ucar.edu) is the contact in F&A on equipment status; if an item is considered a fixed asset, it should go to Janet first.

Fixed assets: Equipment that has a unit cost in excess of $5,000, has an expected useful life in excess of one year, is of a durable nature (nonexpendable), and will retain its identity throughout its useful life.

Excess: Equipment (not salvage or scrap) that is not required by any division within UCAR and which is, therefore, to be disposed of outside of UCAR. Such items are "excess" to UCAR's needs.

Surplus: Equipment that is not required by any government agency. Excess government-owned equipment is made available by UCAR to NSF, then by NSF to other government agencies. If not claimed, it becomes government surplus and eligible for donation or sale by the General Services Administration.

Salvage: Equipment that, because of its worn, damaged, deteriorated, or incomplete condition or specialized nature, has no reasonable prospect of sale or use as serviceable property without major repairs, but has some value beyond its scrap value.

Scrap: Equipment that has no value except for its basic material content.

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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall