Common Challenges of Tracking Fixed Assets

Lack of Asset Visibility

High-value asset tracking remains a consistent cross-industry challenge. Historically, assets have been treated as an afterthought – managers may only pay attention when something goes wrong. The use of opaque, outdated tracking methods only exacerbates the problem as managers don’t have the oversight they need to preempt issues or resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

If your business is tracking assets manually, you do so at your own risk. Maybe it’s the way you’ve always done it, you haven’t had the available funds to make the switch or simply weren’t aware there are efficiencies to be gained in this process area.

Manual tracking is not only tedious but time-consuming and highly prone to both human error and lack of up-to-date data. Many businesses aren’t even aware of how much money and productivity is lost from relying on manual or ineffective digital systems.

Let’s examine six ways manual processes may be hurting your asset management – and your bottom line:

1. Inaccurate Data

Take the following common scenario. An employee painstakingly jots down necessary information on a piece of paper before making his or her way to a computer and typing in a long asset number comprised of at least ten digits/characters. It should come as no surprise that workers regularly mis-key these characters.

In fact, re-keying data manually averages at least one error for every 300 keystrokes.

Given the high value of fixed assets, keeping accurate records is imperative. One seemingly small error directly equates to increased cost when assets are misplaced, lost, forgotten or double-ordered.

Failure to accurately track key metrics can lead to huge losses down the road. Imagine how much a business with a limited budget can waste maintaining rarely used equipment or paying for emergency repairs on poorly maintained machinery.

With asset tracking software, data accuracy can reach 99.99% or higher.

2. Timeliness

If your asset data isn’t accurate, then how can you trust that the information isn’t out of date? Using manual processes, it could take days for changes to be recorded in your ERP or tracking system. By the time the system is updated (if ever), the information may already be obsolete.

Maintenance technicians may go to a remote site to service machinery, such as a transformer or pump, only to find the parts they need aren’t available or that the machine has been moved or already fixed. This method wastes everyone’s time, consuming productivity and unnecessarily driving up production costs.

With timely asset data, the tech would already know what the status is and where his equipment and parts are located. To create timely asset data that updates your business systems as each transaction occurs, look to asset tracking software.

3. Lack of Visibility

Inaccurate, out-of-data data prevents true visibility into fixed asset location and availability. If you can’t trust your inventory readouts, you may end up investing in additional labor, materials and equipment, driving up operating costs.

Or, if asset locations aren’t recorded accurately, even the largest, most high-value items can be misplaced until depreciation costs consume the part’s value. The asset then becomes a write-off.

Even seemingly minor assets can dramatically hinder workflow if lost or otherwise inaccessible. Whether prompted by theft, negligence, or sheer incompetence, such losses can harm productivity, and ultimately, erode trust with vendors, clients and other key players. Lost materials prompted by outdated asset management can also lead to delays in servicing machinery, especially during periods of critical downtime.

A manager in charge of millions of dollars’ worth of assets lacks crucial insight into asset location, state and maintenance records. They have no idea if certain assets are idle at the wrong time, making it almost impossible to develop and implement plans for the asset’s appropriate utilization.

Real-time asset tracking solutions can solve a lack of transparency with 24/7 visibility so managers can easily determine if assets are being fully utilized at each site in real-time.

4. Efficiency

Manual asset tracking means the very effort meant to save businesses time may instead lead to significant inefficiencies. Manual processes are inherently labor-intensive and often require repeating and re-checking due to the unavoidable prospect of human error.

Timing and efficiency challenges grow that much more concerning as businesses expand geographically. Managers in one location may require instant access to information detailing valuable assets situated thousands of miles away. When several physical locations are at play, each additional step necessitated by a slow or outdated approach means more time wasted and more opportunities for error.

Asset software can increase efficiency, making assets 90% faster to manage.

5. Scalability

Simply put, manual processes aren’t scalable.

Traditionally, companies have tried to gain more productivity or achieve bigger outcomes by throwing more labor at their problems. If you win a bigger contract or need to grow operations, you must invest in hiring, training and overseeing more employees.

But in today’s climate with perpetual labor shortages, market instability and increasingly complex global supply chains, this historic approach will only serve to magnify the challenges mentioned above.

If you are thinking about adopting asset management software, leave tribal knowledge, paper tickets, and spreadsheets behind. Consider solutions that are truly scalable and can grow with your business.

Extend the value of an existing asset management application with IoT capabilities.

Driving Operational Oversight with Asset Tracking Software

Eliminate the need for manual processes, spreadsheets, post-it notes, and other ineffective methods. Ensure compliance with maintenance schedules and product recalls by seeing an asset’s inventory, location, and history. Better plan and prepare supply levels to maximize investments.

Assets tie up large amounts of potential working capital and result in money lost in depreciation, lost high-value material, and lost in the inability to perform maintenance when and where needed.

Using modern asset tracking solutions, organizations can drive efficiency, create transparency, cut overhead, and maximize utilization.

Read thousands of items simultaneously, without line-of-sight. RAIN RFID tags are durable, low-cost, and don’t require batteries. Extend your asset management to include every valuable asset in your facility.

Too many companies still track their high-value tools, equipment, spare parts, and more using obsolete manual processes. Handwritten checklists and data entry can only frustrate and hinder your operation’s tracking efforts. Upgrading slow-moving processes with asset tracking software and mobility may prove transformative to your FAM best practices.

For any business in any industry that must manage a large number of assets over multiple locations, the ability to view, manage and track movements in real-time is necessary to remain competitive. With RFID you can gain item-level data about every asset to ensure important tools and equipment don’t get lost, misplaced, or stolen. By keeping up-to-date on your assets’ whereabouts, you can reduce overall inventory levels while ensuring adequate supplies across all locations.

When considering potential asset tracking software, the ideal solution will offer room to expand into other areas as your business grows. This way, your solution will solve current and future challenges. Mobility, inventory control, and mobile app development for supply chain apps are three invaluable areas to look for. Combined, they create a holistic solution for managing every type of inventory using high-quality data and real-time movements transacted at point-of-work.

If you are interested in improving your asset management skillset, consider reaching out to the Institute of Asset Management to explore their wonderful professional development and knowledge resources.

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