Managing government facilities is a logistically difficult task that requires advanced means of recording and tracking assets. However, it is essential to ensure that government assets are well-maintained and recorded for the smooth provision of public services.
Government organizations vary in functions and sectors – ranging from education, power and healthcare to welfare- where assets require special attention to avoid malfunctions and breakdowns. Equipment failure poses a ripple effect as facilities connected to the government controlled centerpoint suffer losses and delays – for example, a generator breaking down at a power station will deprive the connected houses of electricity.
Therefore, to achieve the desired operational efficiency in government asset management, it is in the organization’s best interest to employ automatic asset management systems.
How can government asset management improve productivity?
Sound government asset management can yield several benefits for your organization or agency with visible acceleration in asset tracking and response to unexpected breakdowns or maintenance requests. Some of the benefits offered by asset management include,
- Enhanced asset visibility: Having detailed records of your government assets is the key to delivering quality public services. The inability to have access to all your assets results in inefficient asset use and allocation. With an asset management solution, you can always track your assets, know their location and identify custodianship. You can optimize asset performance and identify the assets requiring attention to schedule timely maintenance. With all assets in your view, you can better manage expenditures and usage of your assets, including the utilization of your inventory. This expedites your asset management workflows.
- Forecast asset demand: A significant part of government asset management comprises identifying asset and inventory demand trends at both organizational and departmental level. Every government organization depends on a detailed record of their assets to analyze the amount needed in the future for smooth operations. Without taking into account future needs, your organization might not be able to cater to emergencies, for example, extra dumpster trucks needed to aid an ongoing county cleaning project. A modern asset management system includes an asset register which allows you to strategically plan for the future based on statistical data, and derive forecast numbers based on past trends and incorporating new project needs.
- Depreciation management: Depreciation is an essential component of asset management. Government assets can suffer from speedy wear and tear due to the nature and amount of work they have to perform. With a government asset management solution, you can track the useful life of an asset starting from the day of its purchase and see which asset is near the end of its life and needs replacement. Depreciation can be recorded group-wise as well, and you can choose the desired depreciation method based on the nature of the asset, improving efficiency.
What are the challenges faced in carrying out government asset management?
Government resources are geared toward improving public facilities and executing administrative operations, such as running municipalities and improving infrastructure. These tasks require time, effort and most importantly, well-maintained assets. However, there are a few challenges that a government organization can face when it comes to managing assets:
1. Reliance on inefficient tracking systems
Using slow, outdated tracking solutions to record asset data can be time-consuming and costly. Dependence on systems like spreadsheets and ERPs to store complex data sets can pose challenges, such as human error, lack of collaboration between departments, inability to update every asset, and more. Some government organizations might not be as tech-savvy and these methods can waste a lot of time as paper-based records or complex spreadsheets would have to be examined carefully to find relevant asset information.
An asset management solution is important for these scenarios as it automates the management process. You can create fields of your choice to enter essential asset information, which helps monitor your assets as well. You can record the assets based on locations since government assets are distributed across several locations. They are also relocated frequently based on needs– so in a government asset management solution, you can easily change assets’ locations. This improves the tracking process and you can easily avoid accumulating ghost assets.
2. Slow regulatory compliance
Government-run agencies have the requirement to comply with certain standards when it comes to managing their resources. Guidelines need to be followed along with maintaining records to meet regulatory requirements. Sometimes, these agencies fail to account for compliance and insurance policies when handling high-value assets. Inability to account for these policies results in poor asset maintenance and heavy penalties that could exhaust meager government funds and result in worksite accidents.
An efficient asset management solution will make it easier for you to comply with the set regulations and ensure that maintenance checklists are followed when handling assets. Checklists can be attached along with every new group of assets recorded in the asset register as well. With greater visibility into your organization’s physical assets, you can easily monitor and maintain them by taking care of the government provided safety protocols.
3. Operational inefficiencies
Government organizations are conscious about achieving high operational efficiency – meaning, providing high quality public service while cutting down on waste and materials. It is a possibility that some government organizations are underfunded and lack resources because some other organizations are getting more attention. This deprives them of the opportunity to invest in better management of their physical assets, and to replace or maintain them on time. In this way, some assets are under-utilized as compared to the ones frequently used – this creates a gap in their use and maintenance.
One fundamental way to achieve operational efficiency is through standardizing the practice of employing asset management tools. Such a tool is beneficial to reducing duplicate assets, over-use of frequently used assets, difficulties in tracking maintenance schedules and more. Your organization knows exactly the monetary investment in its assets so funds are used appropriately. Chances of calculation errors reduce as well. One of the organizational KPIs could be to enhance asset efficiency, and this can be measured by simply using the statistical metrics of your asset management tool.
4. Inability to track inventory
The procurement process in government organizations is more tedious than private ones because of the logistical complexities involved. Several governmental suppliers are involved which all need to be accounted for in order to accurately record the costs incurred. There is a lack of metrics used to analyze how well the inventory is being managed and whether inventory-related goals, such as inventory turnover, are being met. The metrics are not carefully applied across the organization which leads to lack of coordination in handling inventory, and therefore tracking it.
An asset management solution allows you to manage inventory better by keeping a statistical record of all your inventory being bought and consumed. According to Data Bridge Market Research, the market for inventory management software is likely to reach $2.56 billion by 2029 with a CAGR of 6.62%. With accurate asset management, government organizations can greatly reduce costs, make better use of their funding, and achieve goals better and faster.
5. Theft and misplaced assets
Assets are shared across government organizations and sometimes paper-based asset registers are maintained that increase the chances of asset theft. Government asset data is confidential and sensitive, but also at risk of theft because of weak security systems. This creates a huge financial burden on the organization because new replacement equipment must be procured. Likewise, important government data is also at risk if hackers can breach the systems and compromise information such as government authorities’ usernames, passwords, personal details and more.
However, with the help of an asset tracking system, these risks can be easily avoided. Asset details can be tracked along with the assets, so they never go out of sight. With the help of QR codes and barcodes, the location, identification details and custody of your asset can be known at all times, enhancing security. As long as this information is available at the administrative and managerial levels, then assets cannot be misused because the custodian can be held accountable.
How does government asset management help save costs?
Although government organizations face several challenges when it comes to managing assets, the process can be simplified and streamlined with improved technology. Crucial government resources can be allocated better along with a significant reduction in costs. Inefficiencies in these processes cause delays in achieving goals and lead to hurdles for the government organization to deliver quality services. By centralizing asset and equipment information, multiple authorized users can access the account, improving the asset management processes. Overall, newer processes improve government agencies’ ability to serve their communities while maximizing the use of available resources.
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