What is Asset Tracking and Asset Management?

Asset Tracking

Identifying and tracking assets is crucial to the success of a business. It allows companies to operate businesses efficiently and ensure that they’re effectively managing costs by knowing what assets they own, where they are at any one time and how much they cost to own.

Asset tracking is how companies and organizations track key information about their assets. The definition of an asset changes depending on the business or organization. Traditional fixed assets include furniture and equipment found in the office, laboratory, classroom, or plant; however, an asset is truly anything a company owns and associates a cost and/or value to.

Computers, portable medical devices, and shipping container are more traditional assets and are vital to the success of their respective organizations.

Asset Management

Tracking and managing fixed assets at every step of their respective lifecycles help reduce theft, loss, and waste and maximize investment.

Beyond just asset tracking, asset management traces the complete lifecycle of fixed assets— from the time they’re acquired to their replacement and everything in between.

Throughout a fixed asset’s useful life, it’s likely to change hands, require maintenance and repair, and perhaps a few updates along the way. The asset will also depreciate, a process that must be reported for accounting and tax purposes.

But asset management includes more than this. At its inception, asset management was thought of purely in terms of locating, identifying, and controlling fixed assets.

Today, asset management includes all the following functions:
- Property Control and Fixed Asset Accounting
- Maintenance Management
- Security Control
- Service Management
- Warehouse/Distribution Center – Inventory Control
- Manufacturing/Work-in-Process
- Warranty Control
- Calibration Maintenance
- Tool Control
- IT Asset Tracking
- Rental Inventory

A robust asset tracking system plays a vital role in providing accurate information in various areas on which to base important company decisions.

Who Manages These Assets?

Today, the employee(s) assuming the responsibilities of asset management varies from business to business, and in many cases is in addition to other responsibilities or assigned to personnel throughout the organization.

The Property/Asset Manager must serve as a catalyst to “make things happen” to ensure that a comprehensive tracking and controlling program is established, implemented, and maintained.

Ultimately, the program’s success depends on the wholehearted support of top management and the enthusiastic commitment of the entire organization. The benefits are many, and when adequately explained, will gain the needed support to establish a workable system.

Benefits of an Automated Asset Tracking System

An asset tracking system allows you to document, track and manage all the assets the company holds and uses regularly.

Automating that asset tracking system using barcode and/or radio frequency identification technology takes the system to a whole new level. Companies that have successfully implemented an automated asset tracking program recognize the following benefits.

- Increased efficiency: Eliminating manual labor and busy work makes a big difference when in reducing costs and wasted time.

- Increased accuracy: On average, a person makes a mistake in one out of every 300 characters they write; barcode and/or RFID technology significantly (if not completely) eliminates this possibility.

- Increased productivity: Collecting accurate data in real-time allows for better, more timely decision-making.

All the benefits here either directly or indirectly impact potential cost reductions. In other words, an effective automated asset tracking system will save the company money!

Software Needs Analysis 

If you are still using a spreadsheet to track your assets, it’s time to ditch that spreadsheet and move to an asset tracking system that will do more for your organization.

Asset tracking software takes many of the manual processes and automates them. However, suppose an automated system is not a consideration at the implementation time. In that case, you may still opt to use asset tags with a barcode and/or an RFID inlay, as well as a human-readable number for conversion at a later date.

The following are some potential features to consider when evaluating asset tracking software:

- Sub-users: To keep your team connected and up to date on your asset inventory, it is essential to consider how many sub-users will access the software. When searching for software, it is a great benefit to find a system that allows for unlimited sub-users so that every employee will have the most recent asset information, which helps keep your team aligned.

- Reporting: Running reports and pulling the proper data from the software is critical to making the best decisions on the organization’s assets. Building custom reports and setting up automated reporting gives you the flexibility to send and view reports for the information that matters most to your business.

- Preventative Maintenance Scheduling: Easily schedule recurring maintenance for assets to keep them at peak performance. To get the best ROI on your asset purchases, it is important to stay up to date on preventative maintenance. With asset tracking software you can automate this process to ensure you never miss scheduled maintenance.

- Cloud-Based System: A cloud-based system allows you to ditch your spreadsheets. Any action that is taken on an asset, such as adding, editing, or performing inventory scans, is updated in real-time. That means when one employee is in the field and the other is in the office, all information is updated to keep your team on the same page.

- Technology Agnostic: Planning to use barcode or RFID technology? Don’t let the software limit future growth if you plan to implement RFID later. When researching software, it is important to find a system capable of scanning both RFID and barcode. That way you can easily transition RFID at later date without the hassle of switching software.

- Customization of Asset Fields: Every business is different, so finding asset tracking software that allows you to customize asset fields is important. Using fields customized for your own organization allows you to create and run reports on important information to your business.

- Chain of Custody / Accountability: Today, more than ever, mobile assets like laptops move from location to location. Recording chain of custody shows who is responsible for the asset and when it is due back using a check-out/check-in system. This helps hold the employees accountable and lowers the chances of lost assets leaving your facility. Features like these will help ensure you are getting the most out of your asset tracking software.

Experience Automated and Rapid Tracking with RFID

While using RFID tags to maintain a database of your tools and equipment can deliver a more durable option than barcoding, its main advantages are automation and speed. Using an RFID tracking method helps automate the tool and equipment check-in, check-out process and can reduce the number of personnel you have dedicated to keeping track of inventory.

Also, using an advanced RFID tracking application, such as SmartX HUB, gives you a flexible self-service tool crib that can improve worksite efficiency and give you a one-stop shop for your inventory needs.

RFID tool tracking is becoming more and more popular as RFID tag prices drop and reliability increases. The tags have a number of advantages over bar codes when it comes to tool tracking:

-RFID tags do not need a line of sight so they can be placed inside tools.

-Multiple RFID tags can be read at the same time to speed processing

-The tags are rugged and generally last longer than bar code labels, making them perfect for construction inventory management

However, we also believe that there is a need for both RFID tags and bar code labels, as there are some disadvantages to RFID tool tracking:

-RFID tags are often more expensive than bar code labels, so they’re not always practical for inexpensive items

-They are difficult to read through metal and in liquid environments without special tags

We offer the best of both worlds. SmartX HUB’s asset tracking system provides mobile computers that offer RFID capability and can also read bar codes for ultimate flexibility.

Conclusion

SmartX HUB Solution helps you obtain a more efficient workflow by improving your control over your project, enhancing safety on your Jobsite, reducing equipment downtime, minimizing safety hazards, increasing the life expectancy of equipment, and reducing repair costs. It provides you with the necessary means to stay on schedule, stay on budget and work consistently to keep your overall project on the right track.

The solutions, like SmartX HUB’s RFID, are fully automated, enabling workers to quickly get and return the assets they require without an asset attendant while still keeping the employee accountable for them.

By automating your processes with SmartX HUB RFID-IoT technology you can cut daily operational costs by significantly reducing labor and error costs through process automation. SmartX HUB offers a scalable platform that’s customizable and simple to use, easily fitting into your unique business process. To make it even easier, SmartX HUB runs on any web browser as well as any Windows, iOS or Android device.

SmartX HUB’s global presence, coupled with its deep industry and business transformation expertise, has proven that the methodologies and experience gained from thousands of worldwide engagements help clients achieve real business results and innovation quickly and cost-effectively.

To get more information on how we can help you overcome the challenges to your construction business or to check out a free demo, contact us.

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Contact us at the SmartX office nearest to you or submit a business inquiry online.

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