As a business, you have so many things to manage and keep on top of. Sometimes asset management can fall to the bottom of your priority list. If you’re using an Excel spreadsheet to track your assets or even just pen and paper, you’ll be spending so much time on this task. It will feel very frustrating to you, and you will likely not bother updating your records as often as you should.
This has long term consequences for your business and means you will not have the clarity required to keep your business running smoothly day to day. The good news is, there are tools designed to make this task less of a burden and more of a breeze!
Then, there’s the number of people that use those assets. If you’re a small growing business, you don’t want to wait until your headcount doubles and all of a sudden you have twice as many people using and moving your assets around. Your asset management will rapidly get out of control, with assets being used and taken from site to site with no records of who has what, where they are or when they’re due back.
No matter how large your team or what assets you’re tracking, there will be troubles and difficulties if you don’t have a great company asset tracking system.
- You’re currently using a spreadsheet to keep track of your assets.
Spreadsheets become outdated and inaccurate as soon as an asset moves location, gets taken by a different user or becomes damaged. They can’t be updated in real-time, on the fly. You, or whoever is in charge of your asset administration, will have to access either Excel or an email, the moment an asset’s status needs to be updated. This isn’t always practical. The more time it takes to update an asset, the more outdated your entire register will become
Even if you happen to be there when an asset breaks, and you can update your spreadsheet right away… Have you ever tried to use Excel on your mobile? It’s like trying to thread a needle while blindfolded. Excel was built for those older 2000s computers, not a smartphone. Your only option then is to email someone to make the updates, and then there’s the risk that this email will be lost.
The only way for you to know that your company asset register is always accurate is if it updates in real-time and if you and your team can all contribute updates without playing a complex game of chinese whispers.
- You’re relying on one person.
As with anything, a problem shared is a problem halved. If you’re relying on one person to keep track of all your assets, it’s no wonder you’re struggling. If everyone in your team, or even company, are using the assets, where’s the accountability if there’s a single person checking up on them?
If all staff that are using the assets are scanning them, viewing them, checking them in and out, adding performance comments on them, or booking them for later use, an administrator has a lot more time on their hands. They don’t have to chase assets or distribute them.
Of course, you’ll need a system that means you only give specific permissions to each member of staff, because you’ll want ultimate control over your asset register. That’s why an excellent user access system spreads the burden but doesn’t allow accidental or deliberate edits that’ll affect the company.
With the right asset tracking system, enabling your team and colleagues to scan and view your asset records means what you get is an effortless, automatic and real-time, stock take of your assets – which occurs daily rather than annually! Every time they’re scanned, last seen locations and records of who has last used, checked in, or checked out the asset and when will automatically be updated.
- Your assets are untagged.
What is asset tagging? Asset tagging is the use of asset tags in the form of QR code asset tags or RFID asset tags, amongst others, in order to create a simpler and faster way to identify an asset.
When your assets are tagged, all it takes is a scan of a QR code asset tag via a QR code reader (which is integrated into your smartphone) or an RFID asset tag with an RFID reader connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The asset tag links the physical asset to its digital record. A quick scan of a tag shows you exactly which asset it is and all the essential information relating to it.
Without asset tagging, you have no way of uniquely identifying your company assets. You won’t be able to tell one MacBook Air from the other, which keyboard is temperamental, which laptop has the lowest RAM. At least not without some time-consuming investigation.
Each of your assets are unique, and they are unique for a reason. Whether this is positive, such as the coveted brand new desktop, everyone is clawing after, or negative if there is damage, your assets are still unique. Finding which is which instantly is vital to making sure your business runs efficiently.
QR code and RFID asset tags will be easy to implement into your new, better asset tracking system.
- OR you’ve tagged your assets, but you only record the tag ID in Excel with no link between the tag and Excel.
Using asset tagging and then recording your tags into an Excel spreadsheet largely defeats the purpose of using an asset tagging and tracking system. If there’s no link between them, the same difficulties are present.
You’re still having to update your Excel spreadsheet when you can instead of instantly, wasting time and energy. Your assets still aren’t updating in real-time, meaning that interactions and changes aren’t visible for the team to see.
If you pool these efforts and link an asset tagging system with your asset register, it’s a lot faster to simply scan an asset and edit its information. Then, its status will be updated instantly, meaning that there’s no need for spreadsheets anymore, yay!
Using an asset tagging system with your company assets supersedes the need for spreadsheets or data collections. All you’ll have to do is scan the asset, and everything you need to check, edit, or maintain will be right in front of you, at your fingertips.
- You don’t know where your assets are or who has them.
If your team doesn’t have the ability to scan and access company asset data, nobody will be able to quickly tell where assets are.
Without a sound asset tracking system in place, monitoring asset use and condition will be difficult for you, and knowing what’s available to use or where company assets are will be difficult for your team.
A better system can help you know who has what, where they’ve taken it, where they’ve left it, whether or not it’s working properly, who they’ve handed it over to, and much more. Crucially, as the updates are in real time and with a simple scan of an asset tag, there’s no need for a paper trail.
Your team can share assets between themselves with ease and with bureaucracy left to a minimum because real-time updates mean there’s increased accountability. You can see at a glance who had what last and trace things this way, without having to follow spreadsheets or documents to see where assets may or may not be.
Even worse would be wasting valuable time finding an asset that’s gone walkabout. Imagine this: an asset was checked out at 9:00 by John. “John, have you finished with the tablet?” “I passed it to Linda, she needed it.” “Thanks, John! … Linda, have you finished with the tablet?” “I gave it to Emily.” Then you sigh a little and dial up Emily on the phone. She handed it to Paul, and so the search continues. This can go on until you find out someone’s just left it next to the kitchen sink all along. All the while you’re well aware of that looming deadline while you’re running around looking for something.
The alternative? You can open an effective asset management app and see “Last seen by Karen” maybe even with a comment saying “Getting more coffee, will return tablet to Paul when back.”
- You keep on purchasing duplicates.
There’s only one thing worse than having to replace a lost asset. Replacing a lost asset and then finding the original.
Related to this are two potential problems: not knowing what assets you have and therefore assuming loss; not knowing where assets are or who they are with. It’s not great for morale or team spirit, for example, if an iPad hasn’t been seen for days or weeks, it gets replaced, and then it’s found inside a team member’s desk.
Here’s a fact. The more expensive the company asset is, the more crucial to your business it will be. If this were to get lost or stolen, it’s quite likely you’ll need to replace it immediately. Without an effective asset tracking system, it may feel like an instant decision to replace an asset instantly is proactive, when in reality it’s a more complex and difficult situation.
For example, “are you sure we’ve lost it?” Isn’t going to be a question that you’re spending too much time on if you have a crucial presentation or project the next day. These kinds of questions can be a thing of the past, as implementing a successful asset tracking system means you’ll know sooner whether or not something is lost.
Duplicates also clog up an asset register. This is whether you’ve lost an asset or not. It’s possible a request may be made for a crucial asset. It’s also entirely possible that your company already owns that asset, unbeknownst to the person making the request. Maintaining duplicates is a waste of time and money.
Then, you’ll still need to service the asset and maintain it because somebody has used it. It, therefore, can’t be returned, or, you might as well just have two. Asset tracking and management is great for streamlining yours and your team’s use of company assets.
- You keep on losing assets.
Yes, there will be accidents, things might be misplaced onsite or in the field, things might get stolen, if you’re sharing or hiring in assets and items the wrong things might get taken back with the wrong company. With asset tracking and management, you’ll know if something’s lost instantly. You’ll waste less time investigating what happened to company assets. You’ll know who’s liable. You’ll even have plenty of evidence for insurance companies to look at such as receipts and last seen locations.
Not only do you save time, but you also prevent unnecessary cost by knowing exactly which asset, asset type, and asset condition has gone missing. If a £3,000 asset has gone missing that never worked properly, does it make sense to replace it with exactly the same make? Conversely, if an asset has worked well and your team are used to using it, it’s a lot easier to replace that company asset with exactly the same make and model, making everyone’s lives easier!
There may be more to losing an asset, however. Sometimes you might be lucky, and it might just be a misplaced cable or spanner. However, it’s much, much trickier if the asset you lose contains personal or private data. You belong to a company which means you must be GDPR compliant. If an important IT asset is lost, you need to know immediately so that you can put measures in place to minimise potential data breaches.
With a great asset register, it’s a lot easier to track and maintain this information, as well as fix any problems before they even become problems in the first place.
- You don’t have one central, safe place to store all of your asset records and asset information, manuals, etc.
There’s a wide variety and range of information that comes with assets. Both you and your team need to have easy access to this information.
Take user manuals as an example. There’s a possibility that these are in a cabinet collecting dust, your team doesn’t know these exist, and/or that you’ll have to pass these out when you’re training new starters. You and/or your team will also need to access these manuals when you’re with your assets, on the go.
There’s a straightforward solution – link them to your assets! Not only does this save you money from printing costs and help protect the environment, but it also saves you time. You can simply attach the manual to your asset’s record and scan the tag to see it.
Then there’s legal and regulatory documents such as certificates of inspection, sign-offs that an asset is compliant, insurance information, financial information, etc. If these are linked directly to an asset, this information won’t be lost, and it will be instantly accessible.
With an asset tracking and management app like itemit, tracking your company assets is a lot easier. You won’t lose crucial information, and you’ll be able to find critical assets faster. You’ll be able to access user manuals and any and all other bits of information you may need on the go on a simple to use app.
These struggles are normal for any company. You may not even recognise that they’re struggles because of this. You may think that rummaging around in spreadsheets and folders is a normal part of managing assets, but there is a better way!
You need a solution to all these problems. A solution that will save your company time and money. A solution that allows you to have accurate asset registers that update in real time. A solution that’s available on iOS and Android, but that also provides an intelligent desktop web portal for running advanced reports that will please your bosses.
With itemit, your ROI is quick. You’ll have much more free time to do your job. We can’t promise you a raise, but we can guarantee you that your day to day work life will become easier and more enjoyable, you’ll get more done and lose fewer assets.