When you think of business growth and expansion, it’s natural to think that spending and merging are the only options. But, there are other methods that can lead to a steady growth in business operations, and one is implementing an effective Asset Management system.
There can be many advantages to having an Asset Management System in the workplace. These can vary from accurate real-time asset tracking, to an overall improvement in cost and time management.
But, before delving into the many advantages of asset management, let’s answer some basic questions.
What are Assets?
Assets are the things that make up a business. Some assets can be in a physical form, like vehicles or furniture.
And some assets can be in a non-physical form, like software or important files on a computer.
Depending on what your business is, the type of assets can vary. For example, your business could have the following assets:
- Mobiles and tablets
- IT hardware and software
- Important documents
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What is Asset Management System?
In its simplest term, asset management is the process of managing all assets across a business; both intangible and tangible. Therefore, an Asset Management System is the application that makes the process of managing business assets possible.
The best integrated workplace management system takes all data and information, regarding business assets, and stores it in one centralised directory. Here, you have access to all of that information, allowing you to monitor trends and analyse data a lot more efficiently.
The market is rich with asset management tools and applications offering their own unique capabilities and features. Features such as high-end tracking technologies and cloud-based apps.
5 Benefits for an Asset Management System
#1 Real-time tracking
A unique asset management tool is real-time asset tracking. The ability to track everything that goes in and out of a company in real time means a reduction in lost and misplaced assets.
Real-time tracking can be done in a number of ways, but there are 3 tracking methods that really stand out:
- GPS Tracking. Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking has the ability to track anyone and anything in real time, working over a string of connected satellite system networks. This is a useful technology when it comes to tracking larger assets such as vehicles and machinery.
- Barcode Tracking. Barcode tracking works by manually entering an asset’s data and building a unique barcode. Once printed and attached, all of the asset’s data can be accessed by scanning that barcode. One main advantage of barcode tracking is the low costs, compared to other tracking technologies.
- RFID Tracking. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking works by sending a signal out to a certain tag, and then reading the data that is returned from that signal. The advantage to this is that asset data can be gathered from a distance, as opposed to having to physically scan a barcode.
#2 Cloud-based Directory
You might think that a simple Excel Spreadsheet template will do the trick when it comes to managing your assets (more on this later). However, the lack of features, when compared to an asset management system, can affect both time and cost management.
One main USP of having a management system in place, instead of a spreadsheet, is the cloud. A cloud-based application allows you to store all asset data and information into one complete directory that can be accessed at anytime, any place, by anyone.
For example, your company might have larger assets such as vehicles. These vehicles are operated by employees. So, thanks to a cloud-based asset management system, that employee can access all of the asset’s relevant data, such as:
- The location of the vehicle
- When was the vehicle last serviced and if it is scheduled for maintenance
- How long until it needs refuelling
A bonus point for a cloud-based management system is it’s low up-front costs, when compared to an on-premise system that could require hefty start-up and running fees.
#3 Identify Trends
You’ve got all of your assets in a comprehensive cloud-based directory, you know the exact location of these assets, and you’ve collected all possible data and information regarding your assets. With all of this data, you can now begin to understand the on-going trends of your assets.
What is meant by ‘trend’ is the ability to know everything about an asset (past, present and future) and to understand what is needed to keep this, or future, assets in its most optimal working condition.
For example, the number one asset of a coffee shop is the coffee machine. In order to keep this coffee machine working at optimal level it needs to be serviced on a regular basis. Without having the right data to know when this coffee machine needs maintenance, the coffee shop runs the risk of it malfunctioning. And, being the coffee shop’s main source of income, would result in reduced sales and higher repair costs.
By having the knowledge of an asset’s life cycle, you then have a better understanding of when to schedule maintenance to prevent down time that may be harmful, and costly, to the business.
#4 Forecast budgets and spending
Once you’ve identified the complete life-cycle of an asset, and you’re aware of what trends to look out for, you can then forecast any future spending.
Having a complete history of an asset, from acquisition to end-of-life, provides the basis for an accurate assessment of obtaining future assets. It can also help with the structuring of future business spending and budgets.
Not only would you know how much a replacement asset is going to cost, or when an asset is in down-time due to maintenance repairs, you could also identify when to spare assets to save costs.
And not to mention identifying and removing those pesky ghost assets.
#5 Complete accuracy and efficiency
Finally, you can achieve complete peace of mind knowing that all of your asset data is correct, up to date and accessible. You can also relax, knowing that the next audit report will be completely accurate and can be produced within minutes.
Complete accuracy and peace of mind allows you to operate much more efficiently.
When a management system like this is in place, you can start to understand the roles that each asset has in the business. Including their capabilities, how they can be operated in the most effective manner, and even if they can be spared to save money.
Bonus: Ditch those Spreadsheets
We’ll end on a bonus in favour of asset management systems; eliminate those spreadsheet templates, now!
Using spreadsheets to manage and track all of your business assets may be a good idea in the beginning. But, as a company grows, so does its assets.
This means a lot more asset data and information is required, meaning much more manual input into spreadsheets and increasing the chance of errors. On average, fraud and human error are costing businesses in the UK £98.6 billion a year (rahmanravelli.co.uk).
The lack of features, inability of real-time tracking, restrictions to cloud capabilities, and much more, all highlight one thing; ditch those spreadsheets for an asset management system.
So, there you have it. Instead of spending and merging in order to grow a business, take a wider-view and understand that it can be just as beneficial to identify operations within the business and improve efficiency.
And effective asset management is a great place to start.