In today’s economic climate, it’s not enough to know where your assets are. You must also use them as efficiently as possible. Competition is fierce. Profit margins are shrinking. You need every advantage to protect the well-being of your company. Your existing business software does a good job of managing your overall organization, but how well does it manage your assets?
Modern asset tracking software can give you better control over your assets and greater visibility into your operations. Experience shows that through improved management, companies purchase fewer new assets, recover lost rent, fix billing mistakes, reduce theft, avoid customer disputes, deploy assets more effectively, improve safety, win new business and retain existing customers.
Simply implementing an asset tracking system doesn’t guarantee success. Following these asset tracking best practices can help.
Best Practice #1: Define which asset attributes are vital to your business.
Take time to review which asset attributes are key to providing the information you need. Collecting the right data from the start will save time later, while collecting every possible attribute “just in case” will slow you down and drown you in a sea of statistics that don’t provide much insight. Focus only on the information that has the most impact on your business.
Best Practice #2: Use a unique tracking number, not the asset's serial number.
It’s possible that an asset’s serial number will be identical to that of another asset. If the serial number is used as the tracking number, the duplicate numbers will cause confusion because there is no way to tell the two assets apart. This can compromise data integrity and lead to inaccurate customer balances and inventory, reduce your rental income and impact customer satisfaction. Using a unique tracking number different from the serial number eliminates these problems. In the rare event that a tracking number is lost, the asset still can be looked up using its serial number and re-labeled properly to retain the asset’s history.
Best Practice #3: Train staff to initialize the assets properly.
Adding assets to the tracking system can be tedious work, but it’s important to pay attention to the details. Mistakes here could pollute your data and lead to inaccuracies in customer balances, inventory, billing and safety and compliance. Whether your employees perform this task or you hire temporary workers, be sure to train and monitor the staff appropriately. It’s a good idea to spot check assets to catch asset tagging errors before they take a lot of time to fix.
Best Practice #4: Make the actions on the mobile device as simple as possible.
For the tracking system to be effective, workflows must be simple and easy for workers to follow. Otherwise, you might not record the data you need to support your operations or meet reporting and auditing requirements. Customize the handheld computer application to support your processes. Automated task sequencing eliminates unnecessary steps, increases worker compliance with defined operating procedures and standardizes workflows yielding to improved process control.
Best Practice #5: It’s OK to start small.
Don’t think that you have to deploy the tracking system to all your operations at once. You might want to start by tracking just one or two types of assets. Or you might want to track assets delivered to certain customers who require tracking. More and more, companies issue requests for proposals that include an asset tracking requirement. You could install a tracking system solely to win that business and then roll out the system to your other customers at your own pace.