How Equipment Checkout Systems Ease the Process of Booking & Checking Assets

Asset Tracking Software / January 2022

An equipment checkout system offers a detailed and easy way to book and check assets. It provides real-time visibility to reduce the loss of equipment. As well as enabling advanced booking of assets in a calendar format.

Asset managers can effectively use an automated checkout system to track equipment location. Staff and customers can also use it to gain information about asset availability. Helping to boost productivity among employees and reduce double bookings.

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What Is an Equipment Checkout System?

An equipment checkout system is a tool used to track assets that have been loaned out. It allows users to book items in advance. Whilst enabling asset managers to collect detailed data regarding each asset. Including the real-time location of equipment and past or present users. Effectively helping to build a detailed asset register for each piece of equipment.

A checkout system can be used for various tasks. Including assigning IT equipment, such as computers, or tracking vehicles off-site. As well as locating tools throughout warehouses and sites. Typical features of an equipment check-in/checkout system include:

  • Order and booking tracking
  • Availability schedule and calendars
  • Mobile equipment reservations
  • Payment processes
  • Inventory management

With a constant change in ownership, businesses need to be able to track their assets. Asset managers need to collect information regarding location, user, and condition. All of which can be achieved with an automated checkout system. Coupled with the use of asset tagging technology such as Barcodes, QR Codes, and RFID tags.

Asset tagging works by affixing each asset with a specified tag. This enables asset managers to monitor equipment in real-time while increasing visibility.

Asset managers can also set up restrictions on usage times or locations. Allowing them to understand where assets are and who is using them. This reduces misuse and improves inventory monitoring. Preventing assets from going missing and reducing costs associated with replacing them.

The Benefits of Using a Checkout System for Equipment

Using a manual booking system can pose various challenges. Such as a lack of equipment visibility and limited communication. Whereas an automated equipment checkout system can be extremely beneficial. Both for asset managers and users, such as staff and customers. An automated equipment checkout system helps to:

Avoid Double Bookings

One of the challenges of a manual checkout system is double bookings. This is caused by a lack of communication and manual data entry. An automated system, however, can help eliminate double bookings. This is possible with real-time automated data and a shared live view calendar. Enabling users to know which equipment is already booked whilst providing greater visibility.

Boost Employee Productivity

By tagging and tracking assets, checkout systems drive immediate productivity improvements. Employees will spend less time searching for missing tools or equipment. As well as reducing time spent on the administrative tasks of tracking usage. This, in turn, gives them more time to focus on other processes.

Easily Reserve and Checkout Equipment

Checkout systems work in a similar way to libraries. In other words, it’s possible to program items with due dates for their return. This way, staff should expect to receive a penalty should they miss a due date. This increases accountability and helps asset managers gain control over asset usage.

Improve Accuracy of Checkout System Data

Since checkout systems are based on the use of data, they make it easier to report on data usage. Asset tags can store data regarding the use of each asset. Helping managers run accurate and useful reports.

Set Up Alerts and Notifications

A checkout system allows staff to receive notifications on their mobile devices. This is handy when a team member is in urgent need of a certain tool. If they know when an asset is available, they’ll find it easier to plan for its use. Not only does this improve planning but it also leads to increases in productivity.

Prevent Equipment Losses

Checkout systems help to reduce theft and avoid misplacing assets. Using tagging tools, users become accountable for how they use equipment. This not only helps to reduce losses but encourages users to check their items at scheduled times. Helping to also improve inventory accuracy of stock rooms. With inaccurate inventory contributing to 8.7% of lost sales in the UK.

Using a Booking System to Improve Asset Visibility

The process of manually tracking assets can be a pain point for most businesses. It involves using multiple spreadsheets and relying on word-of-mouth. This leads to inaccurate and duplicated data. With 88% of all spreadsheets containing at least one error. As well as having to locate missing equipment and eliminate ghost assets.

But that’s where an automated booking system has its advantages. By allowing businesses to digitalise asset data, an equipment checkout system helps to:

  • Build a company-wide asset register
  • Reduce equipment losses
  • Reduce time spent looking for equipment
  • Increase asset visibility

Asset visibility is key to ensuring a checkout system runs smoothly. Not only for businesses but also for users who’re booking equipment. 80% of organisations have experienced a growing gap in the visibility of their assets.

Yet, this gap can be reduced with the use of automation and digital solutions. Such as IoT-enabled devices and asset tagging tools. Couple automation with a check-in/checkout system and asset visibility can thrive.

Pin-Point the Whereabouts of Equipment

Using asset tags allows inventory employees to see where equipment is located. These come in the form of RFID tags, Barcodes/QR Codes, and GPS trackers. The latter allows for the use of exact and real-time location information. This reduces the likelihood of items going missing and needing replacing. As well as knowing where an asset is located if it is overdue for return.

Identify Past and Present Users

The joy of a digitised check-in and checkout system is having all data in one place. This makes it easier for inventory managers to see who booked out an item and when. Allowing them to identify who has an item if the rental period has expired. As well as seeing who was responsible for an asset if it is returned damaged.

Check Inventory Before Booking

Asset visibility is also important for those wanting to book out equipment. Automated checkout systems allow users to check availability via a shared calendar. This helps to avoid double bookings. As well as provide an easy checkout process via a mobile device and an app.

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How to Build a Successful Equipment Checkout System

To be effective, checkout systems require several elements. Having the right software is a key starting point. Checkout software ensures all data is in one centralised dashboard and can be shared. Allowing asset managers to also produce accurate reports.

As well as software, checkout systems need to be accessible via a dedicated mobile app. This makes it an easy process to reserve, book, and checkout items in advance.

For a checkout system to be automated, it also needs a tracking element. The right tagging tools enable the collection of data. By affixing a tag to an asset, businesses can gain real-time locations and live updates.

Choosing a Barcode or RFID Checkout System

A simple barcode, QR Code, or RFID scanner is a fast and efficient way to capture data. It also works to input asset usage information into tracking software. Each item is affixed with a tag, which holds information regarding that item.

When an item is checked out, the affixed tag will be scanned. Providing information such as the time of scan, user profile, and expected check-in date. When the item is returned, the tag will be scanned again. Alerting inventory levels and any users wanting to book that item.

Choosing the right tagging tools can depend on multiple factors. With each one having its advantages. But, overall, there are various similarities. Generally, tagging tools are cost-efficient, durable, and easy to use.

Using Handheld Devices

Additional hardware such as Barcode and RFID scanners can be expensive. They also require additional training. This is why most businesses run checkout systems using smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices are portable and easy to use, allowing a checkout system to run smoothly. With a dedicated mobile app, asset data and calendar information is stored on one device. Making the process of booking and tracking easier than ever before.