Asset Management Optimization Tips You Need to Know

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Asset management is essential to the smooth operation of a business. Management teams must do several things to ensure these items move about as needed, reach their destination facilities and are in proper working order.

When it comes to supplies, timely requests guarantee that goods arrive at the desired location before a local shortage occurs. For tools and equipment, there should always be enough available to accommodate operational demands.

Tracking is merely one step of a complex equation and one aspect of management. It allows teams to monitor whatever items are involved as they move from location to location. Data can reveal each asset's condition and status, current location and travel times to ensure accurate delivery estimates. Other elements include storage or warehousing, distribution to customers and sellers, manufacturing of the goods and disposal.

Beyond the basics, it helps to know optimization tips for improving the management process and ensuring teams handle all products, items, content or supplies adequately. It's become more crucial than ever to enhance the management process, as the market is increasingly competitive, worth $26.62 billion in 2018, and expected to reach a CAGR of 6.8% by 2025.

1. Tracking Via Real-Time Monitoring

With the help of advanced RFID tags and IoT sensors, management teams can check where various assets are instantly. This process uses a system called Real Time Location Systems (RTLS). Even better, machine learning algorithms can automate the systems and flag specific events. If assets ping as damaged or missing, for example, the appropriate alerts go out to the staff instantly. 

Automation alone can provide convenience for management teams that, more often than not, are limited in size and scale. With RTLS in place, organizations can accurately handle a massive swarm of goods that would have otherwise been impossible. Experts expect the RTLS market to grow from $3.19 billion in 2018 to $8.79 billion by 2023, highlighting how fast expansion is happening with the technology. This growth also reveals how many providers are implementing it. 

2. Organization Through Yard Management 

By outfitting containers and pallets with RFID tags and IoT sensors, companies open up a range of storage and organization opportunities. In a yard with limited space, for example, warehousing areas are packed to the brim with supplies. It can be challenging to locate a particular shipment or container. With smart tags, information transfers to a yard management system to identify what’s stored where. Teams can look at the software to identify a shipment or asset and pick it.

The technology has more value when talking about sweeping properties or yards filled with hundreds to thousands of storage containers. Organizations can track, discover and locate assets faster than ever before. Overall, organization is more streamlined, and there’s never a pause in operations due to low space or missing items.

3. Safer Handling With Smart Tags 

In materials handling, there will be times where hazardous chemicals or dangerous shipments are on the docket. Most times, they require a specific set of storage and handling instructions that teams must follow. IoT and smart RFID tags help organizations manage these assets, especially when they’re stored long-term. Incoming data shows the condition of the container or storage unit, average temperatures, location and more. Tags can also identify and send out alerts when there’s a container leak or spillage.

A system should always in place to actively monitor dangerous materials. With automation behind the wheel, companies can ensure timely alerts and prevent detrimental events.

4. Gaining Visibility Before Acquisition

Organizations should establish visibility as early as possible, even before asset acquisition takes place. This process provides a clear picture of available, surplus and incoming items and enables unprecedented levels of control and information. Visibility comes into play when organizations can leverage existing assets and move them to make up for those that are lacking. Instead of ordering new supplies and equipment, reallocation saves funds and time. 

5. Assigning Unique Asset Tracking Numbers

A lot of times — whether to cut corners or stay up to speed — teams will use existing asset serial numbers to track their whereabouts and information. The problem with this method is that those identifiers may be similar or identical to another item. It can make processes confusing, especially when companies must identify various goods.

Instead, it’s best to assign unique asset tracking numbers to each shipment, product or piece of equipment. A unique number also ensures the identifier remains throughout the lifetime of the item, something that's useful when dealing with goods that continually exchange hands. Teams can also attach notes or additional data to the tracking reports to improve the management process. 

6. Keeping Inventory Management Separate 

Inventory management and asset tracking are not the same. Don’t confuse the two and always separate them, including the teams handling related operations. While both vital, especially for a forward-facing business, asset tracking can have a significant impact on performance. Without most supplies, teams simply cannot work.

7. Optimizing Asset Life Cycles and Databases

Organizations can run into a lot of problems when they don’t understand or monitor an asset’s life cycle. Optimization involves understanding a great deal about each item, which is why you should record and keep everything in a suitable database. 

Organizations should always label assets operating above or below design ranges. Not all items will have a shelf life or estimated usage window, but it’s good to know what you’re dealing with and how much time you have left — especially with equipment. You can never keep track of too much information. However, the data should be organized and easy to read. Make sure there are ample resources to keep databases up-to-date, clean and operational.

8. Creating a System to Eliminate Ghost Assets

Over time, assets might end up lost, stolen, damaged or sold. Still, current reports may show these items still exist and are active — they're called ghost assets. This situation happens a lot with large-scale databases and supplies. Experts estimate that up to 30% of organizations don't know what items they own, where they are or who is using them.

A system should be in place to track and identify ghost assets. They don’t exist, so why waste time and resources monitoring them? A proper authentication system should also double-check that the items indeed aren’t active and lost. An excellent way to deal with this early is to create an off-boarding process that removes an asset, disconnects trackers or tools and updates informational systems.

Businesses Can’t Survive Without Asset Management

Asset management is a necessary process for any organization, manufacturer or distributor working with materials. Not only does it provide an actionable and practical solution for identifying and monitoring investments, but it also improves efficiency across the board. Yard management for warehouses and storage facilities, for example, is suddenly much less complicated with the help of smart RFID and IoT tags.

Spend time investing in a proper management solution, and the improvements will appear almost immediately.

Megan Nichols

Megan Nichols is a technical writer and blogger. She writes about engineering, science and technology topics. Megan is also editor of Schooled By Science, an easy to understand science blog. With Schooled By Science she hopes to encourage others to learn more about STEM subjects.

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