Choosing an Equipment Management System – Part 3
Over the last few week’s the Intelligent Asset Manager has been providing our loyal readers with some powerful tips towards selecting the most appropriate equipment management system for your organization. (You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here).
In the previous posts, we have discussed both the advantages of implementing such an asset management system into your current business model and, more importantly, the process of determining your organization’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to fixed and mobile asset management.
Investigating the effectiveness of your organization’s current asset management process is tedious. In some cases the results may be alarming or perhaps enlightening; however in almost every situation the need for a dynamic, cost-effective asset management solution becomes readily apparent.
It is at this point in the research and proposal process, that a thorough understanding of the capabilities of asset management software becomes necessary.
Understanding the Essential Components of Asset Management Solutions
Simply put, asset management software increases the efficiency of fixed asset and mobile asset management. Such software platforms are designed to increase the productivity of the entire staff from administration teams to facilities management personnel and everyone in between.
Fixed asset management software is particularly useful for:
- Information systems management
- Audio/video/test equipment management
- Facilities management
- Employee management.
By better understanding the key areas of an asset management system and the varying ways it can help your organization, you will be better able to convey those benefits to your decision maker.
The following describes the core components of a solid asset management solution.
To eliminate double processes, duplicated databases and other related problems, organizations typically desire a unified system. In a unified system, all asset information is consolidated into a single database so that conflicting inventory requests can be immediately detected, double-processes can be avoided and all the constituent elements of facilities – rooms, assets, and furniture – can be kept in synch. To reduce the cost of conducting a large inventory, the database must be “transactional” in that any movement of fixed assets within the company or outside of the company is recorded in the database. The inventory at the end of a year or mid-year should only occur with items that have not been touched by a “transaction.”
To accommodate all the constituent users, the asset management system must accommodate employees accessing the central system (i.e. those employees who are responsible for viewing assets and their availability, and then submitting requests for using or ordering those resources.) This means the system may need to be accessible to a wide range of users at numerous locations. A robust asset management system will meet this need by providing a range of interfaces – enabling access via PC desktop, Web, and even handheld barcode scanners or RFID readers.
To encourage employee efficiency, productivity and accountability, you will need to reduce the amount of time they spend in locating assets and requesting reservations. Effective asset management software accomplishes this through a powerful search protocol. For example, an asset management solution should allow its users to search for an asset based through a range of different features such as the fixed asset’s size/capacity, location, lease information, etc.
RFID notifications allow users to update asset locations, report changes to locations and prevent unnecessary tampering.
A robust asset management solution gives you the tools to:
- Encourage fixed asset accuracy and accountability through improving the communication process
- Quickly locate the asset at its most current location
- Automatically send daily reports of fixed assets that are added into the system, fixed assets that have been retired or location history
- Easily alert staff of assets that have been checked out for use, due to be checked back in, or are overdue.
Reliable asset reporting capabilities are they key to helping your organization manage its resources efficiently. When considering an asset management platform, look for tools that:
- Quickly identify what resources are being used most often or not at all, allowing you to take any necessary actions regarding equipment inventory and/or depreciation
- Create reports that show the usage of equipment by category or class of user
- Have the supporting data needed for additional resource purchase requests
Consider Implementation Time
The speed at which software systems can be functional will directly impact the bottom line cost to the organization. The benefits of a highly sophisticated and complex scheduling system can be easily offset by the additional time and money it takes to customize and implement the system.
Look for a system that is easily deployed “out-of-the-box” and that does not require significant customization. These systems allow your organization to start experiencing the benefits almost immediately.