A Guide to Mobile Asset Tracking: Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone

Asset Tracking Software / January 2020

Mobile asset tracking can be seen as a welcomed advocate for effective asset management, allowing a workforce to instantly access key asset data from anywhere at any time. With 59% of employees thinking their company has been too slow at utilising workplace apps, the implementation of mobile asset tracking can be seen as something of a win-win software acquisition for not only better management of assets but for increased employee efficiency, too.

What is Mobile Asset Tracking?

Mobile asset tracking is the process of using a mobile device to track assets in and around the workplace. And, with 60% of UK employees already using apps for work-related activity, the idea of using mobile devices to track assets can be an appealing one.

Employees would use their devices, either via an app or web browser, to scan assets and update the company’s fixed asset register with all relevant data. This data could be an asset’s location, the date it was purchased, photos, and much more. Then, with this data, businesses can start to build an accurate asset register.

Types of Asset Tracking Technology for Mobile and Hardware

But, for it to work, a mobile asset tracking system would need to operate alongside a specific tracking technology. And there are various technologies to choose from. Including Barcodes and QR codes, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Global Positioning System (GPS) and Bluetooth. Although, choosing the right technology for your business depends on your tracking needs.

For example, a company looking to improve fleet management by tracking fleet vehicles may find barcodes and QR codes useless, when compared to GPS tracking technology.

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5 Key Benefits of Mobile Asset Tracking

1. Familiarity at no Extra Cost

In a modern workplace, it’s tough to find an employee with no access to a smartphone. In fact, as of 2015, 77% of adults that had access to the internet were smartphone users. This familiarity is great news for business owners looking to implement mobile asset tracking.

Why? Well, firstly, employees can use existing devices. Whether that be their own or ones provided to them by the company. This can be done by downloading a third-party app or logging on to a secure webpage via a browser.

Secondly, the familiarity of mobiles among employees means that the need for training is minimal. And, the need to buy specific handheld tracking devices for each employee is non-existent. All together resulting in fewer expenditures.

2. Build an Asset Register with Real-time and Accurate Data

As well as tracking purposes, a key feature of mobile asset tracking is the accessibility of real-time and accurate data. By building an asset register, workers can receive and update data from anywhere at any time; particularly useful for field employees.

But, to build an asset register with complete accuracy, the data must first be collected and input at the source. This means logging the data when an asset first arrives at the workplace. And, with a mobile device in hand, it has never been easier to do so.

As opposed to the alternative of manually collecting the information and inputting it later in the day when at a desktop, which can lead to harmful data entry errors. On average, fraud and human error are costing businesses in the UK £98.6 billion a year.

3. Update, Access, and Manage Data in the Field

For employees and teams in the field, accessing key asset data can be tricky. It can also result in a job taking much longer than expected. Most likely, to collect information, an employee would have travelled to the location of the asset and physically checked its data.

But, with a cloud-based system and mobile device, field employees can have instant access to key data. This means teams and individuals from multiple locations can have access to licence information, maintenance schedules, work orders, and full asset lifecycles.

Check asset lifecycle's through a mobile asset tracking system

4. Reduce the Number of Lost or Stolen Assets

Replacing lost or stolen equipment can be costly for a business, with 25% of employees admitting to losing work assets. But, by being able to provide data such as real-time location, mobile asset tracking systems aim to halt these unnecessary expenditures.

Using tracking technology, such as GPS, can provide a workforce with real-time location data. And, by incorporating this data into a business’s asset register, teams and employees can have access to real-time locations and easily locate assets. Whether that be locating assets on-site, such as building machinery, or locating assets on the move, like a postal service.

5. Quickly Identify and Remove Ghost Assets

A ghost asset is an asset that has been added to a company’s directory but does not physically exist in the workplace. And, although seemingly harmless and ineffective to operations, ghost assets can be at fault for a number of productivity issues and costs. So it’s best to identify and eliminate them as soon as possible.

The truth is, ghost assets can be found anywhere. In fact, a survey in 2012 found that 65% of fixed asset data is incomplete, inaccurate, or altogether missing.

But, with the right asset tracking system in place, these pesky ghost assets can be quickly removed. Once identified, the incorrect data can be updated instantly via the asset register on an employee’s mobile device.

Factors to Consider with Mobile Asset Tracking

Is Your Mobile Asset Tracking Software Scalable?

Say, for example, you’re a small business wanting to track your inventory. While there are many benefits for small businesses to track their assets, it’s also important to think about the future. Can the software that you have implementing be scaled up to accommodate future growth and the addition of more inventory?

The same applies to accessibility and users on the mobile platform. As your business grows, so will your employee roaster. So, how many more users can your software app handle?

These are just a few of several key questions to ask your asset tracking software vendor.

Is it Customisable?

Although most software applications are equipped with an easy-to-use user interface (UI), there may still be some changes you wish to implement. These can be anything from buttons, to UI colours and customisable menus.

What About Hardware Issues?

As with all electronic devices, there are hardware issues that can scamper productivity. Most notably, these issues come down to two main factors; battery power and signal. If the battery of a field employee’s mobile device battery is drained, how are they able to access the company’s asset register?

The same issues could also arise with mobile signal, too. If a field employee is working in a rural area with little-to-no signal service, how can they access the data?