You’ve decided it’s time to invest in an asset tracking software solution to help manage your portable assets. Whether your company is smaller and seeking to replace a manual, paper-based asset tracking system, or is larger and is finding that your existing software no longer supports your business, you have similar concerns in selecting your new solution.
Making the right choice doesn’t have to be hard. The questions below will help you identify and evaluate the critical features that will provide the best return on investment now and in the future.
1. Is the software easy to use?
An asset tracking system shouldn’t require extensive training. If it’s complicated or difficult to use, employees will be slow to embrace it. Easy-to-use software provides a friendly interface that works like users expect. Menu functions appear in a logical order with the most common ones presented at the top of the menu list, not buried in the hierarchy. The selection buttons on the mobile device are big enough so that larger hands or gloved hands don’t select the wrong option by mistake.
2. Is the asset tracking system flexible?
Every business is different and you’ve developed processes that work best for your company. Choose a solution that can conform to your unique requirements, not the other way around. Flexible software is easily configurable, including how data is collected and the ability to rename fields. It allows for variations in routines and offers workarounds for occasions when exceptions occur.
3. How well does the system handle mistakes?
An asset tracking software system increases accuracy, but errors still can occur. Drivers forget to scan an asset. A mobile device is not synced for a few days. A situation arises when assets have duplicate serial numbers. A barcode or RFID tag falls off. The best asset tracking solutions provide simple ways to correct these inevitable errors. When you have narrowed your choices down to a short list and it’s time to see a demo, ask the vendor to include examples of how the software handles these specific scenarios.
4. Is the software scalable in cost and scope?
Some asset tracking systems require large upfront investments and long-term contracts which are not suitable for all organizations. Cloud-based tracking software allows companies to pay a monthly fee for only the service they use, with the ability to increase or decrease service at any time.
A scalable asset tracking solution provides the option of starting small and adding more features as your business requires. You can start with a module for tracking assets, then add a module for tracking rental balances (if you charge a rental fee) and later a module for recording asset maintenance actions. Keep in mind, while it might make sense to start out small, be sure the software is robust, with a proven track record of handling customers with millions of assets from multiple locations.
5. Does the software support a variety of mobile devices?
It’s possible that hardware requirements differ among employees and departments, so it’s important that the software can operate across different devices simultaneously. Rugged handheld computers are best for plant floor workers or delivery drivers working in harsh environments while sales reps or field service employees usually prefer smaller, more portable devices like smartphones.
Additionally, bring your own device (BYOD), the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned laptops, tablets and smartphones to the workplace and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications, is becoming increasingly popular. Asset tracking software that can work with any of these devices offers the best return on investment.
6. Does the tracking software integrate with my business management software?
Properly integrating the asset tracking software with other systems will improve the way you do business by increasing productivity, efficiency and cost savings. Some tracking systems prevent integration with other software, perceiving it as a competitive threat. This can limit your ability to operate effectively, resulting in duplication of work and information. Failing to properly integrate applications increases cost by requiring painful workarounds or manual integrations and lessens the return on investment.
7. What are the vendor’s plans for future improvements?
It is important that the vendor has a viable vision for the future direction of the software. Ask to see the product roadmap which provides insight into ongoing development and improvements. Notice how often the vendor releases enhancements and if any of the planned enhancements are relevant to your business.