Viewed as a branch of asset management, asset tracking software helps users to track and collect data regarding their most valuable business assets. Using technology such as barcoding and radio-frequency identification (RFID) to retrieve real-time data, businesses aim to improve asset reliability and efficiency throughout the workplace. In this guide to asset tracking software, we’ll cover:
What is Asset Tracking Software?
By implementing asset tracking software into their day-to-day operations, asset managers and business owners are able to efficiently keep track of all physical assets in real-time throughout the workplace.
Typically, the main purpose of an asset tracking software solution is to answer the question; "how many (product) do I have?". But, as well as providing accurate inventory management, an asset tracking system also collects data regarding condition, owners and maintenance history. This data is then stored into a centralised system that is available to anyone with access, be it employees or managers.
Whether the owner of a micro-business, small business, or large business, the ability to collect and store valuable data regarding mission-critical assets can help any organisation in a number of ways. Including:
- Gaining a total cost of ownership of each asset
- Producing an accurate and automated inventory management system
- Tracking the usable life cycle of each asset
- Improving maintenance to avoid equipment failure and reduce asset downtime
The ability to digitally track movable equipment and hardware throughout the workplace is only possible when an asset has been physically tagged. And, with modern asset tracking systems, there are an array of various tools available to tag business assets. These include:
What are the benefits of an asset tracking system?
The benefits of installing an asset tracking software tool are vast, as many business owners look to improve the reliability of their assets while also reducing costs such as replacing lost equipment and experiencing unplanned maintenance.
Here’re five of the most beneficial factors that an asset tracking system offers:
Store all asset data in one easy-to-access centralised system
Instead of having copious amounts of asset data - asset performance, location, condition, maintenance, etc. - stored across different computers and spreadsheets, asset tracking software tools allow you to store all of it into one complete directory. This is particularly handy for a company that has a large number of assets to track and for any business that needs instant and easy access to asset data. What’s more, with a cloud-based asset tracking system, all of this data is stored on servers that make it accessible at any time via a mobile device.
View real-time asset data as it happens
With the use of tracking and tagging technologies - such as Barcoding, RFID and GPS - businesses will be able to track and collect data as soon as an asset arrives or leaves the workplace. Not only does this work well for employees tracking down the location of physical assets, but it’s also a useful feature for field workers who can view real-time data regarding asset maintenance and current conditions while away from the workplace.
Reduce the number of assets that are misplaced, stolen or lost is reduced
By having a consistent and accurate overview of each physical asset’s location, the number of assets that are either lost or stolen will significantly decrease. This, in turn, can help to reduce the unplanned expenditure of replacing any lost equipment. Having the ability to accurately track the location of equipment can also be useful when tracking an item that has been detached from a big batch order, saving significant manpower and time.
Calculate the lifecycle and ROI for each valuable asset
Asset tracking software offers the right tools to track all assets moving in and out of the business, all the way from acquisition to disposal. This allows managers to collect a complete overview of each piece of essential equipment and build an accurate asset life cycle. During this life cycle, an asset will go through many factors such as maintenance and operations. By collecting this data, business owners will be able to plan more effectively in their procurement and replacement of future assets.
Read more: The life cycle of a typical business asset
Replace error-prone and out-dated asset tracking spreadsheets
A common practice in many businesses for tracking their physical assets is to store all data into asset tracking spreadsheets. Although cheap and familiar, using spreadsheets can cause a lot of harm in the long run - especially to the accuracy and management of inventories. Some of the disadvantages to using spreadsheets to track business assets include undetected errors on large quantities of data, duplicated files and a lack of edit history.
Typical features and functionality of an asset tracking system
Most asset tracking software tools are packed full of essential and useful features, such as:
Cloud-based mobile applications
There are many benefits of opting for a cloud-based or SaaS over an on-premise solution, one main factor being mobile accessibility. All staff either in the workplace or out in the field can access real-time asset data hrough the use of a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, and an internet connection.
Read more: Why Cloud Based Asset Tracking is Preferred by 90% of Users
Barcode and RFID Tracking
The use of barcodes, QR codes and RFID with asset tracking systems has increased the tracking possibilities of all business assets. By tagging each physical asset with either a printed barcode or RFID tag, staff and technicians are able to view every piece of data about a specific asset by simply scanning it with a handheld device. This saves time in travelling between the job at hand and the office computer, as well as increasing data accuracy.
Read more: 7 Inspiring RFID Asset Tracking Facts You’ll Want to Know
GPS and RTLS Tracking
Particularly useful for large movable assets such as fleets, the use of GPS trackers allows managers to receive real-time location updates through an RTLS. These trackers are physically attached to the device and emit signals to computers, handheld devices or smartphones. GPS trackers can be beneficial in a number of industries including postal and courier services, allowing managers to track their drivers and delivery routes.
Read more: How GPS Fleet Tracking Can Improve Fleet Management
Automated inventory management alerts and notifications
Through the use of tracking devices and accurate inventory management, asset managers are able to set custom triggers for a variety of different factors. For example, a notification can be sent to the right team member when an asset's warranty expiry is approaching. The same can be done for when a rented piece of equipment is coming to the end of its lease. As well as setting automated ordering processes for when a low-stock alert is processed.
What industries use asset tracking software?
Asset tracking software isn’t just for use in a specific area of business. In fact, many different forms of industries and organisations can benefit from an asset tracking system to better manage their assets.
Asset tracking software for hospitals and healthcare
The medical equipment found in most healthcare and hospital facilities has significant value, which is one of the reasons why implementing an asset tracking system in healthcare is so important. The range of assets in a medical setting is vast and includes critical machinery, medication, medical waste, computers, patient documents and more. Not only can asset tracking software reduce unnecessary spending on inventory and replacing lost equipment, but it can also help reduce patient wait-time and improve the efficiency of operations.
Read more: Asset tracking for the healthcare sector
Asset tracking software in education and schools
Limited budgets and spending can restrict schools in their acquisition of assets, meaning cost management is vital for the education sector. But, with asset tracking software, schools are able to save money by increasing the accountability of their assets and reducing the amount of lost or stolen equipment - such as computers, textbooks, furniture and office supplies.
Read more: Asset management for schools and education
Asset tracking software for Information Technology (IT) companies
Like in most industries, the issues facing many IT centres are solely down to the maintenance of essential equipment and the unplanned costs of replacing them. By implementing an asset tracking system, IT asset managers are able to gain a better understanding of the life cycle for each important IT asset. This allows them to know when to replace outdated computer hardware and whether to spend money on much-needed software upgrades.
Read more: A buyer’s guide to IT asset management software
Asset tracking system for retails businesses
As a business owner of a brick and mortar chain or an e-commerce store, it’s important to gain a better understanding of your retail assets in order to improve your business’s bottom line. By implementing an asset tracking system retail operations, businesses can not only see the benefits of cost-saving but also become more customer-focused and enhance their overall customer experience.
Read more: A guide to retail asset tracking