What is an asset management system?

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What is an asset management system? In the simplest, most straightforward terms, it’s any process a company or organization uses to keep track of the equipment and inventory vital to the day-to-day operation of their business.

The Asset Management Council is a nonprofit organization that provides information and guidance on asset management across multiple industries and roles, both in its native Australia and overseas. They define an asset management system as “a set of complex processes and interactions to plan and control asset-related activities.” There are many standards and certifications for asset tracking, including ISO 55001, an asset management system standard, “the main objective of which is to help organizations manage the lifecycle of assets more effectively,” according to certification body PECB.

Implementing the ISO 55001 standard, PECB states, can help companies and organizations obtain control over their daily activities, achieve higher returns with their assets, reduce costs and mitigate risk. Additionally, establishing the standard raises the bar on performance and effectiveness, and its benefits may be applied to any type of fixed asset in any organization in any industry.

What is the purpose of an asset management system?

These days, a significant percentage of companies are doing more with less – requiring staff to take on a higher volume of work, and without adding headcount. The urgent matters and assorted fires that occur over a day or week push asset management ever further down the list of priorities. The purpose of an asset management system, or asset system, is to help companies keep track of fixed assets like IT equipment, industrial or manufacturing equipment and tools, vehicles, and other investments related to an organization’s ability to run operations and earn profit.

Perhaps the strongest argument for an asset management system is to imagine what operations would be like without one. In the absence of an accurate, real-time, organized system for tracking assets, a company has little recourse when items inevitably are lost or stolen. It’s far more difficult to keep track of preventive maintenance on equipment – that is, if the company is even scheduling that service at all. Depreciation calculations may contain errors and result in costly fees or other penalties at tax time. What should be a simple task – identifying the location of an asset – requires phone calls or sifting through paperwork. Records are often scattered throughout the office or lost altogether. Budgets are strained while managers have to resort to guesswork about their asset needs.

An asset management system effectively eliminates guesswork and enables organizations to account for all of their fixed assets – from anywhere and at any time. Ultimately, this means their balance sheets match up with their records, and ghost assets (assets that have been lost or stolen and for which the company is still paying insurance) no longer drain the bottom line. Companies that don’t have a handle on their asset management typically lose considerable amounts of time and money before they begin to seek a better solution.

What is asset management software?

Asset management software “is a dedicated application which is used to record and track an asset throughout its lifecycle, from procurement to disposal. It provides an organization with information like where certain assets are located, who is using them, how they are being utilized and details about the asset.” Asset management software consolidates all of the critical tasks associated with asset tracking into a single platform accessible in many cases through both web and mobile apps. The software may address several or all of the types of asset management, including fixed, enterprise, infrastructure, public, IT and digital asset management.

Asset management system software streamlines what could be a daunting task. Through its robust functionality and accuracy, the software provides organizations peace of mind and eliminates frustration. Asset management system software is a vital tool for today’s businesses. The software should be powerful but simple to use and customizable. After all, no two companies are the same. Your asset management software should be able to adjust to your needs, not the other way around.

The benefits of an asset management system include everything mentioned above, plus:

  • The ability to track and manage an asset’s entire lifecycle, from initial acquisition to periodic maintenance to phase-out from inventory
  • Improved compliance through accurate and comprehensive recordkeeping and easy-to-compile reports
  • The ability to monitor asset use and make improvements if necessary
  • The ability to keep up with preventive maintenance and routine inspections, therefore preventing expensive repairs and security risks from poorly maintained equipment
  • The ability to maximize asset lifecycles, therefore staving off early replacements
  • The ability to ensure that assets are fulfilling their necessary function
  • Greater transparency in asset management, which leads to increased accuracy and accountability
  • Reduced waste and increased profitability
  • The potential for enhanced brand reputation (due to reduced risk related to asset ownership, increased efficiency and effectiveness, and improved profitability)

An asset management system makes it far easier for organizations to schedule and adhere to routine audits, which provide an accurate and real-time picture of the fixed assets in their respective inventories. A typical fixed asset audit may contain details like purchase date, serial number, manufacturer, model, lifecycle cost including maintenance and repair, present value, the number of each type of fixed asset, their locations and estimated lifespans. Not only do audits provide a picture of the present, they help companies prepare for the future. They can make decisions about the assets they will need in the coming year based on facts. Subsequently, they can avoid under- or over-stocking assets and manage their resources responsibly.

A cloud-based approach to asset management offers several distinct advantages, like:

  • Data protection: Data stored in the cloud remains intact even in the event the unexpected happens – for example, weather incidents or malware on your network.
  • Flexibility: Some asset/inventory management products limit the kinds of data fields users may enter. Customizable cloud-based systems provide the customization and flexibility every organization needs to meet its unique demands.
  • Scalability: Not every asset management software product will accommodate your organization as it grows. Cloud-based software, however, is completely scalable and designed to grow with you.
  • Integrations: Some cloud-based software products facilitate easy system integration and give you complete visibility into your fixed assets and inventory, so you keep your operations running smoothly.

Remote asset management is the wave of the future in the IT industry. According to research firm Markets and Markets, “The remote asset management market size is projected to grow from USD $16.5 billion in 2020 to $32.6 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.6 percent during the forecast period.”

While asset management systems are designed to help companies and organizations cut costs, not every system offers equal benefits. Freeware asset management software may appear attractive at first glance, but it may present unwanted issues for your organization. In many cases, freeware asset management software is a free version of a previous software program. Using outdated software can be more trouble than it’s worth. Freeware is often also limited in terms of the level of customization available. What you get is what you get. Additionally, freeware may contain ads or bugs, which software companies sometimes have to add to offer their software at no charge. Freeware may also be difficult to use, and perhaps most importantly, you're unlikely to have the luxury of tech support. Any issues you encounter are yours to fix.

Your best bet is to find a cloud-based asset management system with robust features, scalability, flexibility and customization, and an intuitive interface. The great news is that you can get all of those items on your wish list at a cost-effective price point.

With Asset Panda’s free Android and iOS apps that sync with the cloud, you have access to such data as check-in/check-out, maintenance and repair schedules and history. Within seconds, you can pinpoint an asset’s last scanned location, who should have it, and its complete history. A built-in barcode scanner eliminates the need to purchase additional equipment that requires maintenance and, ultimately, replacement. And Asset Panda entitles you to an unlimited number of users, so you can bring your entire team on board.

The tool is completely customizable, enabling you to create your own fields, labels, notifications, actions, electronic signature requirements and reports. You also may tie your work orders to assets logged into the Asset Panda tool. Pull up, review and share the information needed by your accounting and compliance team, with the assurance that your data is accurate and up to date. You'll get the entire lifecycle of every one of your vital assets in the palm of your hand.

By:

Courtney Roush

Courtney Roush is a freelance writer, editor, and communications strategist with 25 years of experience. Her favorite discipline is crisis communications – and it’s a highly relevant one in our present times.

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