Asset inventory management is critical to any company’s planning and accounting process. Having an accurate, up-to-date view of every asset (all devices, equipment, vehicles, and properties) that your organization owns means that you can better optimize your inventory, account for the current state, forecast upcoming costs, and protect your assets from cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
The challenge? This often requires tracking hundreds or thousands of assets across their full lifecycles—from purchasing and maintenance to retirement. Plus, if you’re still working in spreadsheets or maintaining multiple systems, you don’t have a holistic view into the state of your inventory.
One way you can address this issue is to implement a single cloud-based system of record that enables you to track and monitor all devices and facilities throughout your organization.
Having a single connected platform enables you to streamline and optimize your inventory management process in several ways. You can:
- Reduce the number of ghost assets your organization is tracking, and more easily protect your inventory from cyber threats
- Take full advantage of real-time location systems
- Monitor warranties and contracts easily
- Quickly create reports and dashboards to prove regulatory compliance and enhance visibility into the security of your assets
- Optimize your warehouse and storeroom management process
This article walks through all the above topics, and it outlines how better asset inventory management can provide significant return on investment in each area.
Reduce the number of ghost assets in your inventory
Ghost assets are those devices or pieces of equipment that are listed in a company’s register but are not physically accounted for (as they might have been retired, lost, stolen, or decommissioned).
With effective asset inventory tracking and management, organizations can reconcile what they think they have against what they actually have. This significantly improves the accuracy and health of your corporate financial statement, as you can minimize the depreciation expenses you record each year for assets that don’t exist.
Additionally, when your teams have better visibility into your inventory and can identify and monitor all active devices, you have clearer insight into any security vulnerabilities. By having the correct details for your assets immediately available, your IT and security departments can identify remediation steps and put into place a system of action. Teams can quickly discover, prioritize, and respond directly to cyber threats across your inventory.
Plus, eliminating ghost assets helps you decrease your contract costs. For example, you no longer need to pay for maintenance or insurance on assets that are not physically available.
An effective asset inventory management system enables you to easily reconcile your asset register with your physical inventory. And it allows you to leverage automated workflows to ensure that ghost assets are properly removed from the record and that they are decommissioned.
This can lead to a substantial return on investment for organizations—both in terms of reducing depreciation costs and by enabling teams to strengthen cybersecurity efforts.
Take full advantage of real-time location systems
A real-time location system (RTLS) allows you to find and manage your devices as they are moved throughout your facility. An RTLS is especially useful for tracking equipment like pumps, beds, or other assets that frequently change locations within a floor or building.
When choosing an asset inventory management solution, there are significant benefits to selecting one that integrates directly with your RTLS, as you can pull up an interactive floorplan right from within the platform and instantly see where the device is located. You can then use the map to navigate to that asset. This saves your technicians or other personnel hundreds of hours per year, as they no longer have to manually track down the devices they’re looking for. When organizations can track equipment on an interactive map, they need to purchase extra devices less often, reducing costs.
Plus, if there’s ever a security alert for that asset (for example, if there is a cyber attack or a suspected software vulnerability), your teams can quickly find the asset on the floorplan, get detailed device information, and remediate the issue—saving significant time.
Finally, with the right system in place, your maintenance team can leverage RTLS data to streamline their corrective and preventive maintenance work. Technicians can easily locate assets using integrated RTLS data from a mobile maintenance app, pull up equipment specifications, and perform the required maintenance work without needing to leave the work location.
Monitor warranties and contracts easily
When you track all your assets in one place, you have much greater visibility into the status of the corresponding warranties and contracts. You can more easily identify contract expirations as well as see warranty coverage details for equipment and service delivery.
If you don’t have this information clearly discoverable in your asset management system, your technicians might not realize that an item is under warranty, and they might complete the repair work themselves rather than take advantage of the coverage.
Quickly create reports and dashboards
Having up-to-date data in one cloud-based system means you can quickly create reports on the status of your assets or properties. You can pull your information into dashboards, and then customize and automate your reports.
With the right asset management solution, you can even create cybersecurity-related reports. IT teams can run customizable reports that identify vulnerable or affected devices based on criteria they identify. They can track connected devices and monitor trends. Without a comprehensive system in place, your teams can’t easily identify and visualize potential security issues, leaving your inventory vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Plus, with a system that enables you to use a mobile device to enter data, the reports you create are more accurate. With mobile data entry, technicians can make updates in real-time, and they don’t have to re-enter any information, which leads to fewer data entry errors.
It also becomes much easier to prove that your organization follows industry regulations. You can use one system of record to illustrate that your teams are regularly maintaining devices and equipment, eliminating the worry about potential fines or fees for failing to prove compliance to regulations.
Optimize your warehouse and storeroom management process
Not having the correct parts or products in stock to fix faulty equipment results in downtime, rushed shipping, and short-term fixes—all of which are expensive.
With a more complete inventory management solution, you can perform parts inventory audits for maintenance trucks, stockrooms, and warehouses, right down to the shelves, aisles, and bins. This means you have a better idea of the equipment you have on hand, so you can prepare for issues or remove unnecessary items.
And then go further, using advanced analytics to streamline your stockroom inventory management process. Effective software solutions offer automated monitoring and reordering inventory level optimization and price optimization capabilities.
Items in your inventory can carry insurance and other costs. One estimate holds these administrative expenses can add up to as much as 20% or more of total inventory costs. When you’re able to identify and decrease the number of obsolete inventory and spare parts you’re carrying, you can reduce these expenses.
Effective asset inventory management and your bottom line
When you implement a comprehensive asset inventory management system in which to track all device data, your teams eliminate redundant manual data entry and can update inventory information in real time—so you always have the most current information. It becomes easier to maintain and track your assets, parts, equipment, vehicles, and properties. This offers your organization a significant return on investment across departments like IT, facilities, and maintenance.
You can streamline your business processes, make more informed analytics-driven business decisions, and significantly increase your security response—meaning your inventory is better optimized and secured.