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What is Asset Tracking and Why Do I Need It?

by James McDonald on September 10, 2020
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The Next Generation of IWMS: iXMS
 

Asset tracking is an important part of modern-day workplace management. If you don't know what you own (or lease), you have no idea how much it's costing you and whether it's still working properly. Asset tracking is the first step to determining the total cost of ownership for all the items in your workplace, from large equipment to office furniture and computers. Here's a look at the basics of asset tracking, how it benefits your bottom line and how to implement smart asset management

    1. What is asset tracking?
    2. What are the benefits of asset tracking?
    3. What assets should you track?
    4. What does asset tracking software do?
    5. Who needs asset tracking software?
    6. What are the different types of asset tracking software?
    7. What are the main features of asset tracking Software?

 

What is asset tracking?

Asset tracking refers to the process you use to document all your company's physical assets. 

Typically this involves a centralized platform that provides details such as location, owner, contract and maintenance history for all assets in real time. 

Using asset tracking software automates manual processes involved in asset management. And as we all know, eliminating manual labor can significantly reduce wasted time, energy and expenses. 

What are the benefits of asset tracking?

  • Lower administrative costs 
  • Better accountability and cost savings
  • Improved customer service
  • Planning for future growth
  • Maintaining certifications
  • Improved efficiency
  • Improved accuracy

Lower administrative costs

Asset tracking eliminates the need for employees to track down assets manually. This means reduced human error that could lead to asset loss. It also frees up these individuals to focus on revenue-generating responsibilities.

Better accountability and cost savings

Without tracking your assets, you could be experiencing costly losses without even realizing it. Tracking your assets helps you avoid these losses and holds employees accountable for handling them responsibly. 

Improved customer service

Anytime you improve the function of your business, it becomes immediately evident to customers. Whether it's a well-stocked inventory, better informed employees, or an overall more efficient operation, customers will undoubtedly benefit from these internal improvements. Depending on your core business, some customers may want to know if you have asset tracking software because it speaks to your reliability as a partner.

Planning for future growth

It’s difficult to scale your business for growth when you're still using spreadsheets to keep track of everything you own. An asset tracking solution helps you identify asset utilization trends to help you prepare for growth. 

Maintaining compliance and certifications

Asset tracking can help you comply with regulations, such as FASB lease accounting standards, or achieve certifications, such as AIB certification. By using an asset tracking solution, you can track and manage more than manual tracking allows.

Improved efficiency

Asset tracking provides valuable, high-level insight into the performance of your business’s physical spaces, including the office, warehouse, and storage. This is important because it enables you to identify important links in the way these sectors utilize assets so they can streamline business operations. Furthermore, data tracking helps you anticipate asset needs before it’s necessary, like equipment maintenance.

Improved accuracy

An asset tracking software platform can be your single source of truth. Naturally, this level of insight helps you understand where assets are, how they are being utilized, and what actions need to be taken to keep assets in play at all times. There's no more guesswork. With asset tracking reports, hard facts dictate business decisions.

What assets should you track?

Asset tracking software helps you see the full picture of your asset utilization, costs, and maintenance so you can make smarter business decisions and plan for the future. 

Here are just a few of the assets you should be tracking: 

  • Office furniture
  • Carpet
  • HVAC equipment
  • Manufacturing equipment
  • Signs
  • Lighting
  • Break room appliances
  • Computers
  • Printers and copiers
  • IT equipment
  • Software licenses
  • Safety equipment (including personal protective equipment, or PPE)

What does asset tracking software do?

Because using spreadsheets for asset management is time-consuming and inefficient, more organizations are implementing asset tracking software.

Asset tracking software is a digital, centralized system that allows your organization to track important details about each asset in real time.

This decreases administrative costs, improves service, and gives your organization greater visibility into asset utilization, costs, and maintenance. iOFFICE’s asset management system is part of a robust IWMS Software. That makes it easy to see where all your assets live within your space, check maintenance records and more. With asset tracking software, you can: 

Track everything

The new FASB lease accounting standards require companies to maintain detailed records of each leased asset. With asset tracking software, your company can track any number of assets in one place. Each asset contains a detailed profile that illustrates everything you need to know about that asset, including pictures, product guides, key contacts, and contract terms. 

Access information anywhere

Asset tracking solutions come equipped with a mobile app that allows managers to validate asset information wherever they are, even if they're away from the office. You can search by owner, location, type, or serial number, edit files (to correct owner or location information if needed), take pictures of an asset, scan asset information via a barcode scanner, and more — all from the convenience of a mobile device.

Create customized reports

With asset tracking software, you can quickly and easily generate reports, including asset location, utilization and cost reports. Managers can also include contract terms, lease or maintenance information in the reports and set contract expiration notifications. 

Who needs asset tracking software?

Asset tracking software is important to all types of organizations, but especially within companies that rely heavily on assets for operations. Airlines, construction companies, fleet companies, and manufacturers, for instance, all need to track and maintain complex equipment. In these industries, equipment downtime results in lost productivity, revenue, and potential damage to customer relationships. 

However, even companies in less equipment-heavy industries still need to manage asset performance. For instance, a large financial services company has dozens of buildings that all need to be properly maintained to ensure the safety and comfort of employees and customers. Less visible assets, such as HVAC systems, water heaters, and sprinkler systems for fire protection are no less important. If one of these assets stops working, you could be putting your building occupants' health and safety in jeopardy. 

IT assets, such as servers and firewalls, are also critical when it comes to protecting your customers' data. 

Asset tracking isn't just for maintenance personnel, facilities managers, and IT leaders. It's also important to accounting and purchasing managers responsible for tracking inventory. 

What are different types of asset tracking software?

There are several types of asset tracking software, ranging from simple systems to highly sophisticated platforms. Here are a few of the most common types. 

Asset performance management system

Gartner defines asset performance management (APM) as "data capture, integration, visualization, and analytics all (working together) to improve the reliability and availability of physical assets." 

An asset performance management system brings condition monitoring, predictive forecasting, and reliability-centered maintenance into one platform to monitor critical assets and anticipate failures before they occur. This is a sophisticated system that uses models (known as digital twins) to show how equipment should operate. The system also uses industrial sensors to detect changes in conditions, such as temperature or friction, that could indicate potential issues. It's ideal for industrial manufacturers in highly technical fields, such as energy or utility companies. 

Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS)

CMMS-software

Computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) keeps track of assets and maintenance activities. It's a simple, affordable alternative to spreadsheets for organizations who want to digitize manual processes. 

With a CMMS, maintenance managers can: 

  • Manage work orders
  • Track and schedule preventive maintenance
  • See important asset details
  • Manage inventory
  • Manage service requests 

A CMMS improves accountability and transparency across your organization, which helps you minimize downtime and enhance asset performance. 

Enterprise asset management (EAM) software

EAM-software

Enterprise asset management (EAM) software offers much of the same functionality as CMMS software, but typically has more robust data analytics. Maintenance managers, accountants, or business leaders can see the total cost of ownership of assets throughout their life cycle. In addition to total asset cost, they can measure other important metrics, such asset utilization rates. 

EAM software can also assist with condition-based maintenance by allowing your team to record inspection data. For instance, you can log vibration data on a regular basis to determine when an engine may be approaching its failure point. If your company's success depends on a fleet or costly equipment, this can save you from days or weeks of downtime that can hurt your profitability. 

Integrated workplace management system (IWMS)

IWMS-software

An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) is a comprehensive platform that may have asset tracking built in along with numerous other functions. The biggest benefit of tracking assets within an IWMS is that you can easily see where they fit into your company's portfolio and individual locations. This is helpful for maintenance professionals who need to quickly find assets that need repairs. It's also important if your company is planning a big office move or renovation. 

For instance, you can:

  • Easily see where every desk, printer, and conference room monitor is located within your floor plan
  • Manage service requests to repair broken equipment
  • Create move tickets to relocate assets as needed
  • Track asset maintenance history
  • Retain asset records you need to comply with lease accounting standards

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If you need enterprise-level space and workplace management but you aren't inspecting complex equipment on a daily basis, using an IWMS for asset tracking may make the most sense for your organization. 

If your organization is more asset-intensive, EAM may be a better choice. 

Features of asset tracking software

The best asset tracking software solutions allow you to store important details and act on them. For instance, you should be able to:

1. View and track any asset by type, location, assignment, and contract details

asset tracking software feature - view and track

2. Add photos, warranty info, or manuals to asset profile

asset tracking software feature - add photos

3. Prioritize, categorize, assign, and fulfill service tickets on assets

4. Determine total cost of ownership throughout asset lifecycle

5. Empower operations to perform essential preventative maintenance

6. Create real-time transparency with configurable, role-based dashboards

While some assets remain in good condition for many years with proper maintenance, others become obsolete within a year or two. Or, you may find they just aren't used as frequently as they once were. For instance, if you have 100 printers on your corporate campus but 25 of them are rarely being used due to department consolidations, you may be able to cancel some of your lease agreements to save money. 

The right asset tracking solution makes it much easier to determine the useful life of assets — which ones are worth keeping, and which ones are costing you more than they're worth. 

No matter your organization's size or your asset management needs, we can help. Recognizing the growing needs of our customers, iOFFICE created an asset division that includes Hippo CMMS and ManagerPlus, an EAM software solution. We can support your organization's assets throughout their entire life cycle so you can focus on achieving your business goals. 

To learn more about our asset management solutions, request a live demo today. 

 

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