Asset Management Software: Fitness Routine
Keep Your Asset Management Software Fit by;
1. Cleansing your asset data
2. Managing your software fields
3. Updating your reports
4. Scheduling asset management software review meetings with your users
5. Meeting at least once every six months with your asset management software vendor
6. Arranging informal lunch training for your new (and old) users
7. Reviewing support stats to understand (and act) on support trends
8. Balancing your asset management software upgrade act
9. Keep looking for better options
#1. Cleanse Your Asset Data
There are six things you can do to manage your data more effectively and get more out of your asset management software.
Asset locations, asset types and asset descriptions typically hold dynamic information. It is a good idea to review them once every 12 to 16 weeks. Also contact information (salutations, email addresses and phone numbers) can be cleaned frequently to get the most out of your asset management solution.
For any type of asset management software data duplication is a big risk. The best way to beat duplication is to have strong rules for file format and naming conventions. More Importantly, it is vital to communicate the naming convention with your team (frequently). For example; Industrial Milling Machine and Ind Milling Machine, Tracking Management Device or Tracking Mgmt Device …. You get the idea.
Duplication can happen easily because there are many ways to enter data. In case you do not have a naming convention yet then it is a good time to start putting up your ideas. (An interim quick fix solution is to export your data in excel, get rid of duplicates and import it back in your asset management solution).
FINE TUNE ACCURACY
Your number of software users can influence the level of data accuracy. More users typically leads to weak data accuracy levels. For big organisations, the software should be set-up to enter data in only one way. Agree on data entry principles and configure the software to take data in one format or convention.
OBSOLETE NON-RELEVANT DATA
If possible, try not to delete any historical data, it screws up reports and trends. For example your ‘Assets By Location’ report will not be accurate if you delete information related to location or assets. Sometimes you need to know long term asset trends, for example ‘Asset Service Quality By Location’ for the last 10 years or ‘Asset Utilisation’ over the last 5 years. The best way to manage historic or changed data is to make them obsolete.
Asset images need to be updated frequently (use your smartphone to take new photos and keep them updated)
BACKUP YOUR DATA
Don’t assume your IT is doing it! While they may be backing up the entire server it is good to double check if your asset management software data is backed-up frequently. (Your data becomes more important than the software so don’t assume anything)
#2. Manage Your Software Fields
With most modern asset management solutions field names can be changed with administrator rights. Field names also drive reporting so ensure overall consensus before making field name changes. Depending on your business, ‘Maintenance Task’ can be changed to ‘Next Service’ or ‘Asset Custodian’ can be changed to ‘Asset Owner’.
The idea is to not to adopt terminologies because they exist in your asset management software but to configure your software to match terminologies of your business. This leads to less confusion and overall less training.
RE-ARRANGE YOUR FIELD LOCATIONS
To increase the usability of your software you may want to consider re-arranging your fields. As a guideline, fields that are used most often or are mandatory need be at the top right and preferably with bigger fonts and input areas
#3. Fine Tune Reports
Cleansing your data and fine-tuning your field names will make your reports more usable. A few considerations…
Check if you need to use all your reports. Use fewer reports but use them effectively.
Obsolete reports need not be deleted, same rules as data
Don’t trust reports blindly, they are prone to software bugs too. It is always a good idea to check the accuracy of reports especially after software upgrades
REAL TIME ALERTS
Most asset management software come with real time alerts. Alerts actually require bit of a balancing act – you don’t want an alert for every event (you will just get bored of the alerts) and on the other hand no alerts during extreme events will be counterproductive. Only set the alerts that are useful – keep refreshing your alert settings to make the best use.
#4. Arrange Quarterly Meetings With Your Users To:
1. Review usability
2. Make a note of software bugs
3. List your own dissatisfactions
4. Listen to your user’s feedback
5. Try and involve someone from the software vendor
6. Let users review the workflow – most workflows can be enhanced every six months so take every opportunity to fine tune your system
#5. Arrange Meetings With Your Suppliers Every Six Months To:
1. Review implementation success
2. Develop a roadmap for tweaks or improvements in your system
3. Report bugs
4. Push for how the software can be improved
5. Influence the supplier’s product roadmap
#6. Arrange Training Sessions For Your Users
1. Short 45 mins sessions
2. Lunch and learn styles training sessions seem to work. (Buy Lunch!)
3. Get one of your power users to go through the software.
4. Training is like exercising – you need to do it frequently to gain a proper advantage
#7. Look Under Your Support Hood
REVIEW SUPPORT STATISTICS
Support statistics highlight usability, training and workflow issues.
Let us say if over the last six months your team has logged fifty incidents on entering asset information, then maybe there is an issue with the software or training. The support statistics can also be studied based on location. For example; if your team in Aberdeen always reports that the software is slow but your London team does not, then you have may have a hardware or network issue in Aberdeen. Support statistics reveal a lot of useful and actionable information (most often this is overlooked even by professional asset managers)
ACT ON TRENDS
Assign a user to act on trends. Sometimes decision makers and managers just don’t have the time to pay full attention to support statistics. Get one of your power users to do it.
#8. Balancing Your Upgrades
YES, THIS IS A BALANCING ACT
Don’t be the first to upgrade, but don’t be the last either. Software companies sometimes rush out new releases, it is best to let the new releases be reasonably adopted before making the move.
SINGLE MACHINE UPGRADES?
If you want to be the first one to upgrade, do it on a single computer. This may sound obvious but most companies do it straight on the server.
#9. Keep Looking For Better Options
Always look out for new asset management software options – this will allow you to be up to date on new features, new interfaces, the latest asset management methodologies and software pricing. Keeping your eyes open always pays off.
Asset management software can help deliver real value to your organization. If your asset value is £10 million and if your software helps you get 2% more efficiency from your assets, then that is £200,000 gained.
We know you have consumed many cups of coffee working through this article. The results are worth it…
Lots of Asset Management Success