Relying on laborious, paper-based processes to track your returnable containers can be both time-consuming and error prone. Instead, TrackAbout’s asset management software digitizes the entire process and puts all the information you need instantly at your fingertips.
Our proven cloud-based solution means you can always keep an eye on your assets and know exactly who’s handling them, what they contain, and where they are – all within a few mouse clicks.
But if you’re not collecting the right data, you may not be making the most of your software. So, what asset details are the most important to track – and why?
We typically recommend starting off by collecting seven key criteria:
Last/Next Test Date
By scanning barcodes, QR codes, or RFIDs, data is uploaded and synced with your system to paint a crystal clear picture of an asset’s journey and destination.
But what would you do if the barcode or sticker came off your asset while in transit? Without it, it would be almost impossible to track the container and its contents. It, therefore, makes sense to collect other useful information as well.
Of course, you’ll want to capture the container’s serial number. After all, it’s a permanent feature on the asset – something that can’t easily be changed or lost. However, although every container is supposed to have its own unique identifying number, experience shows it’s certainly not uncommon for a duplicate serial number with the exact same combination of letters and numbers to occasionally be used on another asset – and this can cause all kinds of problems and plenty of confusion.
Product Code, Manufacturer, Ownership
To avoid this scenario, it also pays to collect additional data like the product code, manufacturer of the asset itself, and its ownership status.
The latter is particularly useful for those who deal with rentals and customer-owned containers. Tracking a customer-owned container through a production or filling facility can be challenging, to say the least. Tracking ownership ensures the container will be returned to the rightful owner, and the owner will never be charged rent for a container they own.
A lot of TrackAbout users also decide to log the asset’s purchase date and in-use date – so they know when they acquired it and when it was put to use in a facility. This is a really important part of your maintenance planning, helping you to decide the point at which it needs to be retired and replaced rather than repaired again.
Last/Next Test Date
And last but by no means least, logging test dates is imperative to ensure your assets and their contents are transported and handled safely.
Customized Asset Information
TrackAbout allows customized asset information to be captured, so you can add as many unique fields as you want and tailor the system to your specific needs. That means that rather than being limited to completing the standard fields, you can collect as much information about each particular asset as you’d like. And it’s all completely searchable. Just enter the keyword and you can scan your entire database in seconds.
Remember, data is vitally important for tracking – the more you collect, the more effective your asset management software will be.
While many businesses rely on collecting just the basic attributes for their tracking, others have been known to gather as many as 20 different criteria for each asset. Every time they add a cylinder to their system, they may be documenting anything from its color and dimensions to its valve type or volume.
We’ve even seen some users get really creative and collect more obscure information like the asset’s warranty end date, so if it breaks it’s easy to see whether it’s eligible to return to the manufacturer for a replacement.
Some users with multiple locations also opt to assign a branch to their assets, so they can easily check that their returnable tote or cylinder makes it back to the right location, for example.
Ultimately, the data you collect depends on your business, what you're doing, and how you’re going to use that information.
We’d recommend spending a little time thinking about your data collection and deciding what you really want to know. After all, there’s little point wasting your time collecting data that's worthless. It’s important to think about what’s truly important to you. On the other hand, it can be tricky adding more criteria at a later date in the process. Preparation is key.
Every day, TrackAbout helps thousands of businesses like yours achieve even more asset visibility through managing proof-of-delivery records, maintenance records, production records, compliance paperwork, and much more.