Imagine handling thousands of assets every day without a reliable tracking system.
You probably would have trouble keeping account of the different locations assets are in, who has custody of them at a certain point in time, and when custody and locations change—a state of utter confusion.
Moreover, keeping track of critical assets can be expensive and time-consuming if you are manually managing them using spreadsheets. Failure to update the manual asset database regularly results in lost assets and it can also result in assets being stolen.
For example, Global Preparatory Academy (GPA)–a dual-language Spanish charter school–reports having trouble maintaining real-time records and encountering miscounts in inventory data using Excel sheets.
To overcome these challenges, it is advisable to shift to an asset management system that automates all of these processes.
What is an asset management system?
An asset management system is a tool a business uses to record and track assets needed to run everyday operations. It provides information such as an asset’s location, availability status, quantity, and owner.
Aimed at improving business productivity, an asset management systems allows businesses to keep track of their assets across multiple locations. This way users always know where, how and in what condition assets are being used.
Why should you consider asset management solutions?
Successful business operations depend on efficient asset management, budget control, and achieving organizational goals. With fast-paced operations, businesses need to use strategic tools that help optimize critical business processes—such as improving resource allocation—and an asset management solution does just that.
Some benefits of using an asset management platform include:
- Seamless asset tracking: An asset management system helps implement a smooth process to track, maintain, and streamline the allocation of assets from a centralized hub. By following easy workflows, asset managers can find time to focus on high-priority tasks and organize assets better. For instance, Global Preparatory Academy was able to efficiently track assets and reduce equipment loss by almost 80% using asset management software.
- Enhanced location management: A business’s asset might be spread across multiple locations necessitating automatic updates. To achieve this, asset managers can simply check and update an asset’s location in real-time using location tracking–eliminating the need for extensive records. They can track the transfer of an asset from one location to another automatically and add more locations if the business expands.
- Complete audit-ready records: When you have a centralized hub for all of your data and can easily see the number of assets you have, the locations they are in, and their value, your business will always be audit-ready without much manual effort.
These factors combined help asset managers make data-driven decisions, foster flexible asset management strategies, and adapt to the changing dynamics of their industry.
How should asset managers choose an asset management platform?
Asset managers can choose from several different platforms—each platform offers its own set of features and functionality. However, how do they assess the different platforms and make a decision? What factors should they consider?
Whether the system is streamlining workflows or fostering sustainable business practices, it should be able to meet a business’s particular goals. Asset managers must make the decision to acquire a system based on a critical analysis of their asset ecosystem, and cross-checking their needs with the system’s capabilities.
Let’s first talk about some of the most important aspects an asset manager must consider when choosing an asset management system:
– Business objectives
Analyze the business’s short and long-term goals to ensure that the chosen system has the type of features that can help achieve their financial and performance metrics. For example, if a business plans to set up more warehouses, they would need clear visibility into locations and would need to transfer assets between locations—so they would need a feature that supports this. Basically, it’s important to consider the number of assets, operational intricacies, and the type of data that you want to track.
Asset managers must set clear objectives for their asset management system. What do they want to achieve?
These objectives can include enhanced asset visibility, reduced tracking time, and improved customer response time. Then when analyzing different available options, as explained above, asset managers can look for features that help achieve these objectives.
With time, business goals and operations change, so a system that adapts to the changing business model would be the most suitable. Ideally, some system features should be customizable to cater to these nuances.
Payment plans for asset management systems depend on the features that the system offers and/or the number of assets that you add to the system. Asset managers can determine whether the payment structure for an asset management system is flexible, scalable, and includes the features needed by the business.
Different asset management systems may charge according to various factors, such as the number of assets added to the system, the add-ons/integrations used, the number of team members added, the number of locations and more. With these factors in mind, a business should calculate their estimated cost of using an asset management solution and compare it with their budget. Once they do this for all options, it will be clear which ones are adequate for the financial commitments the business currently wants to make.
– System type
The choice for a system depends on business structure and preferences. Most businesses prefer cloud-based systems as compared to in-house ones as they are more flexible and allow employees to access the system even while they are working remotely.
According to a survey of 2400 companies, almost 65% of SMBs increased their usage of cloud services in 2020 while 86% experienced an increase in 2021.
Most asset management solutions are on the cloud. They are relatively less expensive than in-house systems and allow several users to collaborate through one centralized system. Users can work on the same account and update its information collectively– saving overall time and effort.
Determining the system type helps asset managers ensure that the system they opt for is in accordance with their needs and budget. For example, a cloud-based system will be more beneficial if the business is spread in various locations and data needs to be easily accessible, despite the location.
– Security capabilities
Businesses store highly confidential and sensitive information in their asset management systems that could be vulnerable to attacks or theft. Running security checks must be on an asset manager’s priority checklist.
OTPs, password protection, and Single Sign-On (SSO) are some factors that determine the security strength of a system. These features allow only authorized personnel to access the system and make changes to it. Additionally, setting custom roles in your asset management system can help protect data usage.
Asset management solution functionalities that optimize asset use
System functionalities are not just mere features–they are the driving force behind sustainable operations. Businesses look for solutions that are robust yet powerful and intuitive. They also look for certain features in an asset management system.
Let’s delve deeper into understanding the ways an asset management system helps in optimizing operations and give you an asset management overview:
1. Centralizes information
The core selling point of an asset management solution is its ability to consolidate data through a well-functioning asset register. The register serves as an asset database that includes asset details.
Without a database, asset managers face hurdles in quickly accessing asset-specific information. This also limits their ability to do various actions, such as checking in or checking out an asset, reserving it, or sending it for service.
With a detailed database, businesses can reduce the chances of asset and inventory loss. For example, businesses lose 20% of every dollar earned because of workplace theft. Such instances occur when managers do not have reliable data to cross-check the physical asset count with.
Additionally, a database serves as a “single source of truth”. Managers are able to eliminate discrepancies that could arise as a result of information existing in silos. They can categorize information based on its type, so the module displays data specific to its functionality. This greatly helps the asset managers swiftly retrieve critical data rather than sifting through fragmented pieces of information.
2. Tracks asset history
In the realm of asset management, tracking asset history can be strategically used for a range of tasks–from optimizing asset use to ensuring regulatory compliance. The system automatically records an action taken on an asset so it can be referred to in the future if needed.
Asset managers can consult the asset history to identify performance patterns, such as its peak performance period, maintenance trends, and downtimes. With this in-depth analysis, managers can identify the most relevant strategy to optimize asset life-cycle and performance.
For asset lifecycle management, the asset history records all the stages an asset goes through from acquisition to disposal. This allows managers to record depreciation over time and analyze how well an asset has been performing. For example, if an asset is sent for frequent repairs then the asset manager can cross-check its history and decide if it needs replacement, refurbishment, or upgrades.
3. Monitors performance
Asset management systems allow users to generate custom reports and financial metrics on their customized dashboards. Some major metrics that managers can use include frequency of checkins/checkouts, assets in reservation, available assets, and asset utilization.
These dashboards provide a bird’s eye view of what’s happening with the assets of a company and are updated automatically as the system is used. This gives managers real-time insights into all assets, their physical state, and locations, so they can make data-driven decisions.
Additionally, asset managers can analyze these metrics thoroughly with reports that can be customized to suit the needs of each stakeholder.
For example, the site manager of a construction business can generate a report to check the availability of cranes at a particular site. They can also calculate the total number of cranes reserved or checked out along with the associated costs. This report can be forwarded to the other workers on site to understand the project’s needs so the on-going operations can be executed smoothly.
Reports are an insightful and structured way to guide in-depth analysis and understand different facets of business performance. Asset managers can extract useful information from the vast repository of data and consolidate it through reports that could be used to make strategic decisions. This way, managers can save considerable time grouping and categorizing data that would otherwise exist in fragmented portions.
4. Implements role-based access control
Asset management solutions allow role-based access i.e.managers can assign permissions based on user role. Employees can be categorized in groups that represent a particular department or perform certain roles. These roles are then assigned permissions to access various asset information.
By restricting system access to roles, the asset managers are able to secure the system, protect data, and ensure privacy. Through permissions, the risk of unauthorized access and internal threats can be mitigated.
Implementing access controls facilitates smooth operations as users are able to view only relevant data on their accounts. This declutters their systems of irrelevant data and facilitates better coordination.
The functionality is especially useful for large businesses that have multiple departments. For example, multiple teams might be working on one project which could create confusion regarding asset allocation and use. With access control, teams will only be able to access asset data pertaining to their role and requirements and will only be able to perform certain functions.
5. Provides information on the go with mobile apps
Modern asset management systems come with mobile applications that enable asset management on the go—regardless of their location. Having remote access to asset information is highly beneficial. It enables diverse teams to collaborate better while also maintaining an eye over asset updates.
Asset managers working on-site especially find mobile applications convenient. They can quickly scan an item’s barcode, inspect and update its information, acquire new assets and initiate work orders. This way, a mobile application provides easy accessibility to asset details, such as location, owner, checkout/checkin dates, and current status.
On-site managers do not need to carry laptops or heavy technological equipment to access their asset database–saving time and effort.
In addition to this, mobile applications can also provide a snapshot of metrics– for example, the number of checked-out items, pending reservations, or the assets assigned to a user.
For example, if an operations manager needs to check the most recent number of inventory items available, then they can do so from the application while in the warehouse. They can also cross-check items through barcode scanning to make sure that there are no ghost assets. For this, the manager only needs to carry a mobile device—no scanner or laptop needed.
Easy accessibility through mobile application facilitates critical decision making ensuring that the asset managers have access to real-time information.
Asset management software makes asset handling easy and intuitive– reducing disorganization and increasing efficiency and productivity in operations. It also enables users to prevent loss from theft or stolen items.
It is important to choose an asset management software that meets your business’s needs and has the required features. Overall, asset management solutions should provide a centralized hub for information, improve asset tracking, restrict information through custom roles, help you monitor performance, and provide information on the go.
Choose the most optimal solution today and see a visible growth in your productivity!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is asset management?
Asset management refers to the process of procuring, recording and maintaining physical assets throughout their life. It applies to all the industries and sectors and aims to minimize every day costs in handling the assets.
2. How does an asset management software function?
Asset management software functions by maintaining a detailed record of every asset. It comes equipped with various operational workflows that allow users to efficiently checkin/ checkout, reserve assets, or schedule their maintenance.
3. What is an asset management program?
An asset management program is a dedicated procedure and a set of practices and policies aimed to manage business assets through their entire life. Its aim is to ensure that a business’s assets always work at the best capacity and the business minimizes operational costs.
4. How can you find the best asset management software?
There are a couple of factors to consider when looking for asset management software, including budget, business needs, software capabilities, and most importantly market research. Users must conduct a thorough analysis of their needs, choose a software, and compare it with other software. Users can run a free trial of the chosen software to see if it aligns with the business’s objectives.
5. How much does an asset management software cost?
Asset management software falls into different price ranges depending on the functionalities it offers and the number of assets a business wants to track. The user can choose from multiple packages.
EZOfficeInventory is a leading asset tracking software. It allows you to track, maintain, and report on inventory from anywhere, at any time. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!