Unlock Better Asset Tracking with These Handy Tips
Keeping tabs on important equipment and property is vital for companies relying on these assets. From trucks to tech, desks to drills, monitoring location, status, and usage of valuables allows smarter management, protection, care, and productivity. But slapping on barcodes isn’t enough for robust asset tracking. Following core guidelines and tips for successful asset tracking can make oversight processes smooth and effective.
This piece provides 17 recommendations to help businesses build strong systems to watch over their essential assets. With the right procedures and diligence, you can maintain eyes on your core items – where they are, how they’re faring, and utilization. This visibility enables better control of maintenance, security, and deployment of the tools your operations need most.
So read on for insights to keep your key assets accounted for and optimized. Asset Tracking Software is an important process for any organization that needs to take account of equipment, tools, vehicles, and other valuable assets. Proper asset tracking allows organizations to locate assets quickly, account for all assets, reduce losses from theft and misplacement, optimize asset utilization, and improve overall operational efficiency.
17 Best Tips for Successful Asset Tracking
Here’re the top 17 tips for successful asset tracking management:
- Assign Unique IDs to Assets
- Maintain a Central Asset Register
- Attach Tags to Assets
- Regularly Audit Assets
- Assign Ownership & Custody
- Track Asset Locations
- Monitor Asset Movement
- Define Expected Asset Lifecycles
- Maintain Asset Records in the System
- Use Barcode Scanners
- Attach RFID for Automatic Tracking
- Assign Resources for Asset Monitoring
- Integrate Asset Tracking Systems
- Create Policies & Procedures
- Train Employees
- Analyze Asset Tracking Data
- Continuously Improve Processes
#1 Assign Unique IDs to Assets
Assigning unique identification numbers or codes to assets is crucial for effective tracking. Use serial numbers, barcodes, QR codes, or RFID tags to uniquely identify each asset item. Maintain a central database mapping asset IDs to asset details like type, location, user, etc. Standardize your ID format and assign codes systematically to avoid duplication.
Distinguish similar asset types with IDs prefixes/suffixes. Ensure IDs are unique even across locations. Periodically audit IDs for duplicates and update your tracking system. Clearly label assets with their IDs for easy lookup during inventories. Unique IDs enable accurate tracking and are one of the key tips for successful asset tracking. They prevent confusion between assets.
#2 Maintain a Central Asset Register
A central asset register is critical for tracking assets enterprise-wide. Maintain a single centralized database of all organizational assets with key details like asset ID, type, physical location, assigned user, status, etc. Ensure all sites and departments report asset information to this register. Regularly update the register when assets are acquired, disposed, relocated, etc.
Automate register updates by integrating with purchase orders, maintenance logs, inventory scans, etc. Provide easy access to authorized users to search and report from the register. A comprehensive, up-to-date central asset register enhances visibility, accountability, and oversight for efficient tracking.
#3 Attach Tags to Assets
Attaching tags to assets makes them easy to identify and track. Use barcode, QR code or RFID tags with unique serial numbers to tag individual assets. Secure tags properly to prevent loss or damage. Place tags in standard locations on assets to enable quick scanning during inventories.
Maintain a mapping of tag IDs to asset IDs and details. Update tags whenever assets are relocated. Consider color coding tags by location or department. Ensure tags remain visible and scannable. For higher-value/sensitive assets, use tamper-proof or hidden tags. Regularly inspect tags for damage and replace as needed. Proper tagging transforms asset tracking efficiency.
#4 Regularly Audit Assets
Conducting regular asset audits is vital for tracking accuracy. Schedule periodic comprehensive audits to verify all assigned assets physically. Cross-check assets against the central register to identify discrepancies. Audit high-value and sensitive assets more frequently. Make surprise spot audits in addition to scheduled audits. Compare assets across sites/departments to check for unauthorized transfers. Document audit procedures for consistency.
Track audit metrics like number of missing assets to gauge performance. Follow-up on discrepancies to determine causes like theft or poor record-keeping. Update registers and tags based on audit findings. Regular comprehensive audits ensure complete, accurate asset tracking.
#5 Assign Ownership & Custody
Clearly define asset ownership and custody responsibilities in your tracking system. Assign each asset to an owning department and individual owner accountable for the asset. Specify roles like department heads for overall accountability, and employees as custodians responsible for proper use and care. Maintain owner/custodian details in the central asset register. Require approvals for any change in asset assignment.
Make owners/custodians confirm receipt of assigned assets. Regularly review ownership to ensure appropriate authorization levels. Follow-up with owners/custodians during audits if assets are found missing or misused. Well-defined ownership and custody facilitates monitoring asset use within policy and constraints.
#6 Track Asset Locations
Maintaining up-to-date location records for assets is essential for quick retrieval and accountability. Specify standard locations like buildings, rooms, shelves, with unique IDs in your tracking system. Assign a primary location for each asset and update whenever moved. Use barcode scanners, RFID, or GPS tags to track movements automatically.
Regularly scan and reconcile locations against the asset register during audits. Promptly update locations on transfers and returns. Define authorized movement records and approvals to prevent asset loss. Analyze location patterns to optimize asset utilization. Detailed and timely location tracking enables efficient asset access, security and utilization.
#7 Monitor Asset Movement
Closely monitoring asset movement is key to prevent unauthorized use or loss. Log a chain of custody for each asset checked out from its designated storage location, recording transferee details, timings, authorization etc. Define approved movement types like inter-facility transfers, field use, servicing etc. Automate tracking of movement using RFID tags or GPS.
Enforce system prompts and approvals for returning assets to assigned locations. Analyze movement patterns to identify irregularities for high-value assets. Regularly reconcile registered and physical locations to identify long-outstanding unreturned assets. Proactive asset movement monitoring safeguards against misplacement, theft and policy abuse.
#8 Define Expected Asset Lifecycles
Plan out an expected lifecycle for each asset type to optimize use and retirement. Estimate useful lifespans based on factors like usage patterns, maintenance needs, technical obsolescence etc. Build defined lifecycle stages like warranty, regular use, potential renewal/refurbish, retirement.
Track assets against these stages in the register, updating status like warranty expiration, condition, technological viability etc. Review assets nearing retirement for renewal/replacement feasibility. Analyze actual lifecycles vs. expectations to improve estimations. Lifecycle tracking enables proactive maintenance, rep
#9 Maintain Asset Records in the System
The asset tracking system should serve as the single source of truth for all asset data. Maintain comprehensive records for each asset like ID, type, physical attributes, assignments, locations, movements, condition etc. Capture key events like acquisitions, maintenance, transfers, loss etc. as they occur. Define mandatory fields and validation to ensure data quality.
Enforce electronic audit trails for all record updates. Back up records regularly. Provide easy tools for authorized users to search, view, edit and report records. Integrate with related systems like procurement, maintenance, HR etc. Complete, accurate and accessible asset records are foundational for reliable tracking and accountability.
#10 Use Barcode Scanners
Using barcode scanners speeds up asset identification and record-keeping for inventories and movement tracking. Label each asset with a unique barcode tag. Select robust enterprise-grade scanners suitable for your environment. Train staff on proper scanning procedures and techniques. Integrate scanners with your asset tracking database to enable real-time lookups and updates during scans.
Automate processes like attendance logs, check-ins/check-outs, field inventories etc. using scanners. Analyze scan data to identify frequently and rarely accessed assets. Replace damaged barcode labels promptly. Deploying barcode scanners improves asset tracking accuracy and efficiency.
#11 Attach RFID for Automatic Tracking
Using RFID tags enables automated asset tracking versus manual scans. Assign each asset an RFID tag encoded with a unique identifier. Install RFID readers at entry/exit points, storage locations and chokepoints. Configure readers to automatically scan tags within range, capturing asset movements. Integrate RFID data into your tracking system to update locations and movement logs in real-time.
Set up alerts for assets entering/leaving defined areas. RFID provides hands-free, 24/7 visibility without relyong on manual scans. The automated tracking data also enables analysis on asset utilization and movement patterns. RFID is ideal for sensitive, high-value assets.
#12 Assign Resources for Asset Monitoring
Effective asset tracking requires dedicated roles and resources. Appoint asset coordinators accountable for the tracking program at each site/department. Provide sufficient administrative staff for record-keeping, audits and monitoring. Train employees on proper asset use, movement and scanning protocols. Consider a security team for close monitoring of high-value assets.
Allocate technical resources to manage tracking infrastructure like scanners, tags, network. Secure leadership support to review tracking reports and invest in continuous improvement. Asset tracking is an ongoing priority program, not a one-time project. Ensure adequate skilled resources are assigned to sustain robust tracking.
#13 Integrate Asset Tracking Systems
Integrating asset tracking systems with related enterprise systems improves data sharing and automation. Interface with procurement systems to automatically create asset records on new purchases. Sync HR records to link assigned assets to employees. Pull maintenance and repair data into asset histories. Integrate inventory management and warehouse systems for seamless location tracking.
Build APIs and workflows to send asset data to accounting, ERP, IT service management etc. Enable easy export of tracking data for analysis. Avoid silos by connecting asset tracking into broader business processes and systems. Integration provides complete, timely data for optimizing asset usage and reducing losses.
#14 Create Policies & Procedures
Develop clear asset tracking policies and procedures to ensure consistency. Document Asset data and record-keeping requirements. Define tagging, scanning and movement protocols. Specify inventory and audit schedules and responsibilities. Assign asset access and authorization policies based on roles. Outline acceptable usage and movement restrictions.
Set reporting requirements across sites and departments. Enforce compliance through agreements, audits and oversight. Review periodically to improve. Educate all employees on proper practices. Well-defined policies and procedures are critical to ingrain asset tracking discipline across the organization.
#15 Train Employees
Conduct comprehensive training to educate employees on asset tracking processes and responsibilities. Highlight importance of accurate tracking for security and optimal utilization. Provide hands-on training on using tracking tools like barcode scanners, updating records, looking up asset data.
Reinforce key protocols for ID tagging, movement logging, inventories and audits. Clarify required approvals and restrictions. Refresh training periodically to maintain vigilance. Test employee knowledge with certifications. Set up quick reference guides and help resources. Proper training ensures employees at all levels follow correct asset tracking discipline to sustain accuracy.
#16 Analyze Asset Tracking Data
Asset tracking systems generate vast data that provides valuable insights through analysis. Aggregate data on asset types, locations, movements, lifecycles etc. Identify utilization patterns to optimize distribution. Review inventory and audit metrics to improve monitoring. Analyze movement histories to profile appropriate vs. irregular transactions.
Develop key asset performance and health indicators for proactive management. Correlate asset usage and conditions with maintenance needs and costs. Tracking analysis provides critical visibility to fine-tune procedures, maintenance and capital investment to minimize costs and losses while maximizing ROI.
#17 Continuously Improve Processes
Regularly review and enhance your asset tracking processes for sustained effectiveness. Set up oversight committees to analyze program data and identify gaps, trends and opportunities. Review policies and procedures periodically to address emerging needs. Monitor latest technologies like RFID, blockchain, AI to optimize tracking. Automate repetitive manual processes for efficiency.
Streamline workflows by integrating related systems. Update training programs based on observed issues. Foster a culture of continuous incremental improvement. Proactively refine tracking processes versus reactive fixes. Ongoing enhancements ensure a robust, sustainable asset tracking program delivering maximum value.
Final Thoughts on Powerful Tips for Successful Asset Tracking
Asset tracking can seem daunting, but implementing even a few of these powerful tips for successful asset tracking can make a big difference in improving oversight of your organization’s assets. The keys are taking inventory, assigning responsibility, leveraging technology, and establishing processes.
While it takes effort on the front-end, robust asset tracking pays off in the long run through better utilization, fewer losses, and increased accountability. With small steps focused on organization, automation, and collaboration, your team can gain control over assets and resources. Consistent asset tracking leads to optimization that saves money, time and headaches down the road.
Amelie Lamb is an experienced technical content writer at SoftwareStack.co who specializes in distilling complex software topics into clear, concise explanations. She has a talent for taking dense technical jargon and making it engaging and understandable for readers through her informative, lively writing style.