The 4 Best Asset Tracking Practices
Asset tracking and management helps you to stay in control of your assets. You may already have an asset tracking system in place, which is great. However, it’s worthwhile to check your system follows these best practices, otherwise, you might be wasting both time and money.
There are certain things your asset tracking tool must do, like letting you know where your assets are and who is using them. This is vital for any business but particularly critical for businesses that operate across multiple sites or regularly move assets from site to site in e.g. Construction or rapid response industries.
Additionally, your asset tracking software should help you with the compliance side of things. For example, you will need to ensure your assets are inspected, serviced and maintained as per the manufacturer’s guidelines and you need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Picking a tracking system that can also be used to monitor your IT assets is a great way to save time and money.
With the right asset tracking system, you’ll get real time updates about your assets from all of your users. This is a great way to save time and increase the efficiency that can really help to keep your asset management on track.
Here are our top 4 asset management best practices, based on the help and support we have provided for companies across many industries, including construction, facilities management, schools, churches, charities and more!
1: Use a System that Updates in Real Time
The most commonly used asset tracking system in our experience is a spreadsheet that lists the company’s assets. Unfortunately, (as we’re sure you’ve found if you’re currently using a spreadsheet!) the biggest problem with spreadsheets is that they become out of date almost immediately. The nature of a spreadsheet is quite old fashioned now – your list of assets is static and usually only accessible by one, or a couple of people within the business. What’s worse is that you need to be at your laptop or computer to update it. So, often, you’ll find yourself jotting down notes on pieces of paper and making a mental note to yourself that you need to update this when you’re back at your desk.
What you need to improve your asset management process is a system that can be updated while you’re on the go. Not only this but you should use a system that allows other members of staff, particularly those that actually use your assets, to access the system and update asset records when necessary. This will ensure your asset register is accurate and up to date because you and your team can report any problems or update your asset records immediately, rather than things getting lost in translation as a result of emails, paper notes, etc.
2: Uniquely Tag Your Assets
It’s important to remember that, although 2 assets may look the same, they are in fact unique assets, with a unique history and characteristics. It is therefore very important to make sure you keep individual records for each asset.
A very quick, easy and cheap way of doing this is to physically tag each of your assets by sticking a small, discrete QR code or barcode onto each asset. With the right asset management solution, you’ll be able to scan the barcode/QR code tag and view your asset information. What you must not do is simply record the asset tag ID in your spreadsheet and create no other link between the physical asset and its digital record. This is a huge pitfall for many of the companies we meet and means your asset tracking process is doomed from the offset as you are not following best practice number 1.
An important factor when choosing your asset tracking app is to pick one that automatically updates the location of your assets each time they are scanned. This means that with no additional work from you and your team, your asset register will update automatically, so you don’t need to remember to do anything. As we’re sure you know, the less manual steps involved in a process, the better!
The unique tagging of your assets also means that you can very quickly identify an asset, just by scanning the tag. Not only will you see the asset’s key details but you and your team can even open user manuals, report issues about assets – all immediately and while you’re still with the asset (that should help minimise the chinese whisper effect!
An additional bonus of using asset tags is that this is proven to minimise the loss of assets and theft. When your team is aware that the business is tracking its assets much more rigorously, this has a knock on effect on the responsibility that team members feel for the assets. Now that the business has the visibility to see who had an asset last and where it was and whether, for example, any damage had been reported about it at that point in time, it means your business can hold individual staff members accountable for the loss of assets. You’ll be amazed by the impact this has and you’ll find you lose fewer assets as a result.
3: Utilise Reporting Tools
Make sure your asset management system allows you to run reports on your assets. All this data you gather from creating an asset register and tracking your assets is a really great start. But you’ll need to be able to create custom reports so that you can report back to the business on, for example, which assets are currently at which site, which assets are due for inspection in the next month, etc. A reporting tool means you can make the asset data work for you, so you get even more value out of the system.
If you’re able to run a report to see which assets haven’t been scanned in the last week or last month, then you immediately know which assets might have fallen off the radar. A quick check of who had it last will allow you to track the asset down to ensure it hasn’t been misplaced.
4: Categorise Your Assets To Keep them Organised
Your business is unique and that means the assets that keep your business ticking over are also unique to you. You may also find you have quite a lot of assets that need to be managed and tracked. This is no problem at all, all you need to do is have a plan of action for the rollout process of your new system. Our advice is to identify all of the assets you want to get onto the system but to start with a few different types of assets to begin with and add the others in subsequent phases of the rollout process. That way, you won’t be overwhelmed by the task at hand.
Once you start adding your assets to your asset tracking system, you should add in relevant categorisations that make sense to your business. For example, if it’s useful for the business to be able to see how many of each asset type it has, make sure you add in a property for your assets called ‘Type’. Similarly, if it’s crucial for the business to have a live record of the condition of each asset, be sure to add a property called ‘Condition’ and record the condition of each asset.
When you’ve got your assets neatly organised, you’ll be able to run even more helpful reports. You’ll be able to see at a glance, for example, how many of your drills are in the stores and available for use or how many laptops you have in circulation and who they’re assigned to.
Implementing the Best Asset Tracking Practices
Asset tracking and maintaining a fixed asset register doesn’t need to be hard and once you get it right it can be game changing for your growing business. If you find yourself feeling as though you’re banging your head against a brick wall, first of all, make sure you’re not falling into any of these pitfalls. This will highlight to you where your current process is falling short. Then, if you’re sat there thinking, I need a better system, get in touch with us. Helping customers manage their assets more efficiently is what we do and we’d love to hear from you.
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