As a business is starting out, the concept of asset tracking isn’t usually top of mind. In fact, many businesses may even ask the question, what is asset tracking? So let’s drill down to the bare basics of asset tracking and what it is and how it can benefit any company in any industry.
Asset tracking, in its simplest definition, is the method used to track a company’s physical assets either by scanning barcode labels attached to the assets or by using tags using GPS or RFID, which broadcast their location. Asset tracking provides real-time, accurate data on what a company owns, how an asset is used (or in some cases, not used) and its contribution to the bottom line.
Before we go too much further into asset tracking and how it works, it’s important to understand what an asset actually is. An asset is an item that is considered a resource owned by a company and has economic value that can be measured and expressed in dollars. There are two main categories of assets: 1) tangible assets, which include items like computers, furniture, vehicles, camera equipment, mobile phones and tablets; and 2) intangible assets, which are comprised of items like contracts, software licenses, patents.
Assets are commonly confused with “inventory” in business. Inventory is an asset that is intended to be sold, consumed or distributed in some way in the ordinary course of business.
Asset Tracking differs from inventory tracking in that asset tracking is the process of monitoring the value of items owned by a business, along with pertinent details on each item regarding its location, ownership, maintenance schedule, whereas inventory tracking is associated with keeping an accurate record of items that are held in stock for sale to customers.
On a daily basis, a company’s assets pass through multiple sets of hands both internally, among employees as well as externally, among service providers, which means the opportunity for lost or mismanaged assets is a big risk. Years ago, asset tracking involved manual procedures to enter data such as handwritten ledgers and online spreadsheets. Eventually came the addition of expensive hardware, like hand-held scanners, which needed frequent maintenance and updates and simply were not conducive to staying on top of constantly moving assets among a growing workforce.
Today’s asset tracking technology is much more easy to use and understand. Many programs are now cloud-based systems that sync with mobile apps and come with a mobile barcode scanner that can be used with an employee’s own smartphone or tablet. From the palm of their hand, authorized employees have round-the-clock access to the entire lifecycle of each of their company’s assets – from where it is, the check in/check out status, maintenance reports and even financial data on if it’s a benefit for the task it’s responsible for.
The benefits of employing an asset tracking system are plentiful. Employees can manage equipment, update licenses or software agreements, confirm inspections and report on all relevant maintenance activities from the moment an asset arrives onsite until it’s no longer deemed usable. Many companies are reaping the cost savings afforded to them from asset tracking in that they keep better tabs on all their assets, which can be quite costly if an item is lost or stolen. Employees are better able to use their time for their day-to-day jobs instead of looking for misplaced assets or trying to track down an item that isn’t where it’s supposed to be on a certain day. Businesses have been able to reduce the number of duplicate purchases by confirming what has already been purchased through real-time data that can be fully customized for a company’s individual reporting needs.
And one of the most important aspects of asset tracking is that it improves accuracy in a company, which is very important no matter the size. Having a real understanding of what assets a company owns, where they are at any given time, how they are being used and what is necessary to make the asset a relevant part of the company’s success is vital. When a company is aware of what assets they possess, there’s no need to guess anymore. And guessing in business is always a huge risk for everyone involved.
Asset Panda has designed an asset tracking platform that’s far ahead of the competition when it comes to technology, flexibility, power and ease of use. It’s the simplest tool you’ll find on the market, and yet the most versatile and cost-effective. Based on free mobile iOS and Android apps that sync with the cloud, Asset Panda requires nothing but the smartphones and tablets employees already carry. No additional hardware or software is needed because the app includes a mobile barcode scanner. Add an unlimited number of users to your account at no additional charge, and take your pick of the features most relevant to your business. Asset Panda is totally customizable, from the custom dashboard to the fields, notifications, alerts and role- and location-based security settings. And it couldn’t be easier to use, requiring little or no training to master.
The Asset Panda philosophy is that you should be able to track your assets exactly how you want. Try Asset Panda free for 14 days and learn how asset tracking will work for you. Visit assetpanda.com to get started.