Choosing the Best Asset Tracking Approach for Your Facility
As a facility manager, one of your primary tasks is asset management. Good asset management allows you to respond quickly and in the most cost-effective manner to asset demands across the organization as they arise — or at times, even before they arise.
To start with, what is an asset? An asset could be any piece of hardware or software that your company owns: computers, routers, cables, vehicles, appliances, stationery, medical equipment, software licenses, and so on. Since assets move around from one person to the next — or from one location to another — you need to track all your company’s assets in real-time.
What is Asset-Tracking?
Considering the number of assets your company may have, asset-tracking is an essential and overwhelming job. Fortunately, IoT (Internet of Things) and modern-day software make the job much easier.
Such software works atop a database (‘Fixed Register’) containing unique asset identifiers assigned to every single asset in your company. These identifiers are usually RFID tags, although you may use other signatures: barcodes / QR codes / GPS / NFC / Bluetooth. All RFID-tagged devices broadcast to a particular antenna that communicates with the Fixed Register, thus enabling real-time tracking of assets without human effort.
You want the best CMMS software specializing in tracking and streamlining maintenance for assets in your organization. Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software suites can undertake Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), although dedicated EAM software suites exist.
Features to Look For In an Asset Tracking System
- Equipment Effectiveness Tracking
Besides tracking an asset, you want to track the asset’s health: Is an AC unit able to maintain the correct temperature range? Is a laptop nearing breakdown? Being able to track asset health using key performance indicators not only helps you be prepared to respond quickly, but it also helps you implement unscheduled, preventive maintenance that preempts asset failure and employee downtime.
Scalability is the ability of internal operations to accommodate the growth of your organization quickly. If your asset-tracking software works fine for your current size of 100 employees and 1000 assets, will it work smoothly as your organization grows steadily to 1000 employees and 10,000 assets? Remember, until Windows 2000 was released, Microsoft had to run Hotmail on FreeBSD (Unix) because Windows NT could not scale up with the growing number of average email users.
It’s no use to have the most sophisticated piece of software if employees find it impossible to use. In other words, your asset-tracking software must be user-friendly enough both for your facility squad to work with and for employees outside facilities to file work orders when needed.
What to Consider When Deciding on the Best Approach for Your Team
- How Big Is Your Team?
Factor in the size of your team. A small team would want as much automation as possible in the asset-tracking system — automation prevents over-burdening. A bigger team, on the other hand, would perhaps want more features integrated into the software. As the head of facilities, you further need to ensure the software lends itself to effective coordination and communication between team members, especially if your team is large. Cloud-based data storage and mobile access become vital features to look for with bigger teams.
- How Adaptable Is Your Team?
Every new piece of software you bring in requires users to learn its application — in other words, to adapt. You don’t want your team to have difficulty learning your newly adopted asset-tracking software selection. In this context, consider how much training your team would require for the software. If extensive training is a must and the cost of training monumental, try some strategies to help your team adapt.
- What Is Your Budget?
Sophisticated, user-friendly software tends to be expensive. CMMS software suites naturally cost a good deal more than a pen and piece of paper — the 19th-century technology of asset-tracking. However, if you manage to find a CMMS software suite that fits your purpose and is not prohibitively priced, you should be in a position to convince the finance department that the software will save more in the long term than it initially costs.
Embrace Facility Management Tools
Asset-tracking software is a powerful ally in your drive for efficient management of your company’s facilities. You must shop for software that suits your enterprise, is user-friendly, and is not overly expensive. The right buy lets you kill two birds with one stone — increase asset performance and maintenance efficiency, and decrease long-term costs.
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