Reconciling Equipment Data to Create Total Asset Visibility
One of the biggest headaches when attempting to establish a new property management system, or transition from an older platform, is the unending piles of data that are inhibiting, rather than enhancing, asset performance. First it’s important to note that asset data is vital to the success of any property management plan. Leveraging this information will help you streamline your workflow, increasing efficiency, and maximizing on productivity.
The first step to any data-cleanup is to address the challenge by asking the following questions:
- Is there one, centralized department or decision maker that determines policies and procedures regarding how to manage and track organizational property? There must be one, clearly defined director that determines asset protocol.
- Do the property managers, end-users, and custodians understand the importance of entering accurate data into your asset management system? Are they motivated to do so? Do they have the skills to do so? With the exception of properly handling and maintaining assets, the most important skill all employees must possess is the ability to competently and accurately record asset data. Consider leading team building and property management training sessions to educate your employees on effective property management standards.
- What are the weaknesses of your property management system? No system is perfect, and every property management plan can be improved. Identify potential flaws in your system then call upon best-practices to fix them. What are you doing right? Identify your system’s strengths and replicate those competencies.
Identifying the cause behind those inconsistencies is the first major step towards reconciling your organization’s data. These inconsistencies could be caused by previously existing legacy data, or most likely, human error. Either way, property managers must identify any and all existences of errors or inconsistencies before an effective data cleanup can be completed.
The next step in an effective data cleanup is to create a clearly defined plan:
- Assign one, centralized office or individual to the lead the cleanup effort – this promotes accountability and focuses efforts which reduces the chance for human error and confusion
- Establish uniform naming conventions – labels and categories that are easily understood across the organization will drive consistency and accuracy
- Develop training and education processes – train and retrain end-users on how to properly use the system and enter-data; ensure that all employees understand the naming conventions and categories; plan weekly meetings with end-users and directors to discuss concerns, questions, and ideas associated with the property management system
- Analyze the data – assign the responsibility to organize and cleanup the data to a point-person
- Establish a realistic timeline – defining attainable goals for asset cleanup will focus employees and help to identify problematic areas that need to be made a priority
- Document everything – From the established protocols to naming conventions, erroneous data to end-user responsibilities, the director in charge of the cleanup must document everything in detail. A vital component to the training and education process is the creation of training manuals and training schedules
Once the plan has been designed (remember this means leading team-building and training exercises and documenting the current status of your asset data as well as all steps required in the plan), it is time to execute. Simply follow your plan and you will stay on track. A few things to consider when performing the cleanup:
- Eliminate duplicate data entries
- Correct misspellings (and reconcile with uniform naming conventions)
- Adjust entries to reflect the new naming convention
- Map asset records to correct entries
Keep in mind that asset data should be:
Once the data clean-up has been successfully completed it is the responsibility of the property manager to ensure those standards are maintained. The simple transfer of knowledge will dramatically improve your asset productivity, yet the lessons learned in this process should serve as enough inspiration to not let your asset data get out of hand again. To ensure that it doesn’t make sure to continue to train and educate end-users, enforce your uniform naming conventions and categories, and always host weekly meetings.