In this post, we’ll detail some of the key benefits of asset management; 16 in total, divided into two sections:
- The overall business benefits of implementing an asset management strategy
- Additional benefits that come along with using asset tracking software as an integral part of a comprehensive strategy.
8 Business Benefits of an Asset Management Strategy
First, let’s talk a little about the difference between asset management and asset tracking. The short version is that management refers to the holistic process of overseeing high-value assets - like equipment, tools or even people. This process should include a written plan, along with organizational accountability measures.
Asset tracking is simply a component, albeit the most important part, and relates to the practice of understanding exactly where your assets are and where they’ve been. But more about that later…for now let’s focus in on the many business benefits of a solid asset management strategy.
1. Reduce Customer Complaints
Customers are the cornerstone of your business and stand to gain a lot from a good asset management plan. So it makes sense to cut right to the chase. As Intuit co-founder Scott Cook once said:
"Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer."
Effective asset management will make your entire operation run smoother - whether you’re in a warehouse, a construction yard, or an emergency room. And the sky's the limit when you have a documented process in place for the care and use of the things you need to deliver top-notch customer service.
2. Increase Customer Value
When your customers aren’t complaining, they’re likely to buy from you again. What’s more, customer loyalty is less about the product or service and more about the experience that comes with using it. In fact, that nifty, little indicator called the net promoter score is based on one very simple statistical premise – a 5% increase in customer retention (i.e. repeat business) equates to a whopping 25-95% more business.
Of course, this wide range depends on how expensive your products and services happen to be; but you get the idea. Increasing customer value has huge downstream benefits to any business and solid asset accountability measures undoubtedly contribute to a better customer experience all around.
3. Improve Efficiency by Understanding Equipment Utilization
An asset management strategy naturally includes checks and balances that will help you identify areas for efficiency. Perhaps diligent asset management has helped you “crack the code” of equipment utilization and cut the cost of replacing resources.
Or maybe you’ve successfully trained your workforce to faithfully return assets to a designated location so that the next person doesn’t have to waste time hunting for the right resource. Congratulations if you’ve managed to achieve this level of organizational enlightenment without the help of asset tracking software, but we’ll get to that!
4. Budgeting (and Decisioning) for the Future
As you begin to improve organizational efficiency, so, too, will you make it much easier to budget and plan for both current and future operations. Even a basic pen and paper method, like sign-in sheets for critical assets, enables you to more effectively track how and when they are being deployed.
For example, if you discern that your three widgets are constantly being signed in and out, it’s a safe bet you will need to secure more of them. At the other extreme, if these same resources go hours or days between requests, then you may either have just enough or too many. And if you have too much of one thing, you can sell off the surplus and fold the profit back into your business.
5. Ensure Compliance with Regulations and Accreditations
There are two levels to this benefit. Candidly, you’ll always have an easier time ensuring (and proving) compliance if you happen to be using asset tracking software. Generally speaking, computers don’t lie; but we’ll address that point more fully in the asset tracking section below.
That said, in some cases, you can still use an asset tracking spreadsheet, pen and paper, or other less-sophisticated methods for recordkeeping to demonstrate regulatory compliance. In fact, compliance and accreditation maintenance often drive our customers’ decision to enlist Link Labs in solving their asset tracking challenges.
Just check whatever guidelines you’re required to follow. If you can get away with keeping it simple, then by all means do.
6. Equipment Maintenance
Lots of businesses – from health care facilities to manufacturing operations – benefit from keeping a history of asset maintenance. Indeed, many of them are legally required to do so.
For example, factories and construction sites are bound to ensure employee safety, while hospitals hold the balance of life in properly functioning medical equipment. Consequently, these industries are very tightly regulated when it comes to ensuring the health and wellbeing of human capital.
Beyond legal requirements, documenting proper equipment maintenance can also help ensure that you’re able to cash in on a warranty when disaster strikes.
7. Reduce Loss
While most people immediately associate “loss” with “theft,” that’s often not the case. Loss can happen in a variety of different circumstances. Perhaps you have perishable goods or some type of inventory that expires, like face masks or food products.
If you haven’t implemented a process for rotating goods and resources at set intervals, as part of your overarching asset management policy, you’re most likely going to eat some of the cost here and there.
And sometimes people simply “lose stuff.” Humans are absent-minded and imperfect. We forget and misplace things, which often results in lost time spent finding them.
8. Theft Prevention
On the other hand, people actually do steal things. Although inventory theft varies greatly by industry, it is estimated to cost businesses $50B dollars annually in the U.S. alone. This is why most of us who have worked in retail have been taught that making eye contact with customers is a proven theft deterrent.
The truth is that theft is almost always opportunistic. Heck, even good dogs break bad sometimes. Research has shown that our canine companions are four times more likely to steal food from their humans if the lights are off.
But if people - or dogs - think someone is paying attention, they usually won’t take the risk. And having a documented asset management policy affords you yet another way to keep close tabs on valuable resources.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of asset management, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a lot of overlap with asset tracking technology, specifically the...
8 Benefits of Asset Tracking Software
Just imagine having a virtual replica of your workplace with a view of each floor and each critical area – which then enables you to identify, locate, and monitor important assets, like tools, equipment, and people. Well, all of that and so much more is possible, thanks to something we call a digital twin – or put simply, a digital representation of a physical object.
9. Easily Locate Assets
Let’s say that you run an airport and have thousands of carts that travelers can rent to get their luggage from the car to the baggage check. Although those carts are continuously in use, folks are leaving them in the garage, while airport staff are hoarding them to help move other assets from terminal to terminal.
Every cart that goes missing equates to lost rental profit. But by using digital twin technology – otherwise known as asset tracking software – you can find those carts and get them right back into action. And solutions like the AirFinder SuperTag (in beta at the time of writing) can help you locate them both inside and outside the terminal building.
Pro Tip: When it comes to the great outdoors, be wary of typical GPS asset tracking solutions which often have prohibitively short battery life and barely work indoors.
10. Proactively Monitor Equipment Condition
Equipment and asset condition monitoring covers all sorts of events, like shock from falling off a cart or damage from temperatures that are either too hot or too cold. In fact, more than a few businesses require this kind of information for audit processes. For example, hospitals must keep very precise temperature records for blood warmers.
Or maybe you’re interested in warning signs of early failure, and you notice it’s taking longer for a particular machine to complete a specific task. If you have asset tracking software, you can verify its actual speed, by recording the exact amount of time it’s used during an identified time period.
In other words, you would have the capacity to continuously monitor equipment utilization, thereby enabling you to make repairs – or even replacements - before they’re needed.
11. Know Where Your Assets Have Been
This benefit of asset tracking may sound trivial, but knowing where your assets are at all times, including where they’ve been, can have a significant impact on productivity (and therefore, profit).
For one thing, you will have a better grasp on equipment utilization trends over time, given that each tagged asset maintains a digital footprint. Let’s say you have one piece of equipment journeying across your facility time and again to be used in a different area. Maybe you should find a more convenient spot for storing it, a move that would most likely increase overall workplace efficiency.
Likewise, that digital footprint can help you find lost or misplaced assets in record time, and that’s a huge benefit when it comes to controlling costs.
Lastly, with the right kind of IoT asset tracking solution, you have a digital paper trail, with which to easily collate and generate reports, which of course, does away with the tedious, labor-intensive practice of totaling tallies by hand.
12. Dramatically Improved Work-In-Process (WIP) Tracking
We get calls and emails from folks all the time who simply need to understand where components are in enormous, multi-stage production facilities.
This may seem like a fairly simple task; but should you want to know when a particular refrigerator has reached the interior assembly stage in a million square feet of space, there are surprisingly few ways to do that.
That’s simply because wide, open spaces present immense logistical challenges, and most indoor positioning systems just can’t quite stand up to the task. We’re developing very promising technology here at Link Labs to meet this need, however...
13. Reduce Compliance Risks
Compliance is a pretty big deal in the business world, and you likely have internal compliance requirements in addition to the external forces at play – which is where automated tracking systems come in handy.
Internally, for example, it may be important to limit the amount of time spent using a particular piece of equipment, because your supply is short, or folks are hiding things to use themselves.
And externally, well, it’s hard to imagine any business that’s not held accountable to some level of regulation or accreditation. Going back to the temperature of blood warmers for a moment, hospitals are subject to severe penalties if they are even slightly out of compliance.
Which brings us to the next point.
14. Ease the Burden of Audits
If asset tracking software helps you reduce compliance risks, then it should help you ace your audits, too, right? Absolutely! With the right asset tracking solution, you can significantly reduce the effort required to prove you’re currently in compliance and have been since the last audit.
Pro Tip: As you’re gathering requirements for an asset tracking implementation, think about compliance needs as well. Building those requirements into your system from the start is always a smart plan.
15. Ensure Employee Safety
I know, I know, we’ve talked a lot about asset tracking with regard to equipment and tools, but AirFinder by Link Labs happens to also be one of the top employee panic button systems in the world.
Assault is a very real concern for hospitality workers, roughly 60% of whom have reported such behavior from guests. Working in partnership with big brand hotels, our company’s solution equips staff members with wearable, concealable Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) panic buttons.
Thus, in an emergency situation, an employee’s location can be pinpointed in real-time and security dispatched immediately. Of course, while assault is not a major issue is most businesses, it’s a critical concern in any sector with lone workers or folks who work one on one with strangers or new acquaintances.
16. Add-On Capabilities
Last, but not least, add-on capabilities – like temperature and shock monitoring – enable you to get even more out of your asset tracking hardware.
Let’s say your business is located in a large building with central air on the roof. Those units leak. But if you already have a Bluetooth asset tracking solution in place, you can add other Bluetooth Low Energy (LE)-enabled monitoring devices to that system and link them up to your asset tracking software.
So there you have it: 16 benefits of asset management. We hope that this post has helped to illuminate the full power of asset management while addressing the specific issue that fuels your interest – be it budget, compliance, loss, or something equally important.
And as always, if you have questions, please reach out and let us answer them.