Effective asset management is essential to any successful business operation. Streamlining these processes to align perfectly with the unique needs of each organization can help an organization to better manage and enhance decision-making processes and reduce operational costs. 

Employing best practices can help a company gain efficiencies. As technology continues to evolve, the integration of low-code applications into asset management will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of efficient business operations.

We’d like to go a bit more in-depth on the six key areas of asset management operations and the best practices and ways to streamline each. Because there is so much information to delve into here, we want to make this a bit easier to digest. This blog will be the first in a two-part series outlining the best practices in asset management.

Comprehensive Asset Inventory

To effectively manage assets, it is crucial to have a comprehensive inventory that includes both tangible and intangible assets. In an enterprise company, tangible assets can include office equipment, machinery, vehicles, and buildings, while intangible assets can include intellectual property, patents, and software licenses. The inventory should capture essential information such as asset type, location, acquisition date, maintenance history, and depreciation status. By maintaining a centralized and up-to-date repository, companies can make well-informed decisions regarding asset utilization, prevent losses or underutilization, and ensure compliance with accounting standards.

If you’re an asset manager, this is probably your primary goal, but sometimes it’s a challenge to get others on board. Here’s why a comprehensive asset inventory is crucial:

  1. Visibility and Control: Having a complete inventory gives you a clear understanding of what assets your organization owns, where they are located, and their current state. This visibility allows for better control over asset utilization and reduces the risk of assets being misplaced or underutilized.
  2. Optimized Resource Allocation: With a detailed inventory, you can allocate resources more effectively. You’ll know which assets need maintenance, which are due for replacement, and where investments should be made to improve overall efficiency.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: In certain industries, regulatory compliance requires accurate documentation of assets. An inventory helps ensure that all assets are properly accounted for and maintained according to regulations.
  4. Cost Management: By tracking asset lifecycle and maintenance history, you can make informed decisions about repair versus replacement, avoiding unnecessary costs.
  5. Risk Mitigation: Knowing the condition of your assets enables proactive maintenance, reducing the likelihood of unexpected failures that can disrupt operations.
  6. Strategic Planning: An inventory facilitates long-term strategic planning by providing insights into asset performance, trends, and future requirements.

Example of a Comprehensive Hospital Asset Inventory System:

  1. Asset Categorization: The hospital categorizes its assets into groups such as medical equipment (MRI machines, ventilators, etc.), IT equipment (computers, servers), and facilities (furniture, lighting). They log each asset into an asset tracking app created in TrackVia.
  2. Asset Identification: Each asset is assigned a unique identification code. This code is used to track and locate the asset in the inventory system. TrackVia can easily use QR or bar codes to identify an asset and start a record.
  3. Detailed Information: The inventory includes detailed information about each asset, such as make, model, serial number, purchase date, warranty details, and maintenance history. Each time a record is added to the customized TrackVia asset tracking app, users can be prompted into providing the right amount of detail.
  4. Location Tracking: The hospital uses a combination of barcodes and RFID tags to track asset locations. This ensures that assets are always where they are supposed to be. TrackVia can easily integrate with other applications as well, so if using an RFID system, that data can be easily shared into the asset record.
  5. Maintenance Schedule: The inventory system includes a maintenance schedule based on manufacturer recommendations and usage patterns. Maintenance records are updated after each service. A form can be created in TrackVia that ties to the asset tracking app – this form can include all the required maintenance check points and be accessed on-site via a phone or tablet.
  6. Data Integration: The inventory system is integrated with other hospital systems, such as the maintenance management system and procurement system. This streamlines workflows and reduces data duplication. Again, TrackVia can integrate with a variety of systems, so centralizing this data for key decision-making is easier.
  7. Regular Audits: The hospital conducts regular audits to ensure that the physical assets match the records in the inventory system. Any discrepancies are investigated and corrected promptly. Audit questions can be added into maintenance forms to reduce time spent and ensure assets are in the right place.
  8. Reporting and Analysis: The inventory system generates reports on asset utilization, maintenance costs, and lifecycle trends. This information aids in decision-making and strategic planning.
  9. User Training: Staff members are trained on how to use the inventory system to update asset information and track assets during their usage.

By implementing such a comprehensive asset inventory system, the hospital is able to ensure efficient asset management, reduce downtime, make informed decisions about asset investments, and maintain regulatory compliance.

A comprehensive asset inventory is a cornerstone of effective asset management. It provides the necessary foundation for data-driven decision-making, lifecycle management, preventative maintenance, and overall operational excellence. This overarching concept leads us into more specific ideas such as lifecycle management of those assets.

Lifecycle Management

Assets have a lifecycle from acquisition to disposal. Implement strategies for each stage, including procurement, deployment, maintenance, and disposal. Regularly assess assets for depreciation, performance, and compliance to make informed decisions on maintenance, repair, or replacement.

Lifecycle management involves strategically managing assets throughout their entire lifespan, from acquisition to disposal. The goal is to maximize their value while minimizing costs and risks. Here are some best practices:

  1. Asset Acquisition: Carefully evaluate the need for an asset before acquisition. Consider factors like ROI, operational impact, and alignment with organizational goals. You many want to also consider vendors, pricing, and other benefits. With a low-code platform, you could customize your acquisition requests with a form and prioritize according to need and ROI factors. You could even create a table of vendors and pricing to cross-reference needs and evaluate expenditures.
  2. Asset Tracking: Implement a robust tracking system to monitor the location, condition, and usage of assets. This helps in planning maintenance and replacements effectively. With the use of QR codes or barcodes, you could easily set up a scanning system and a low-code application for deliveries and inventory tracking.
  3. Maintenance Planning: Develop a comprehensive maintenance plan that outlines routine inspections, repairs, and replacements based on the asset’s expected lifespan and usage patterns. Integrate into your low-code asset tracking application a routine maintenance tracking system and set it up to provide a monthly readout of maintenance updates. Set up a form for users to be able to identify their assets and request repairs.
  4. Performance Monitoring: Continuously monitor asset performance to identify potential issues and deviations from expected performance. This data informs decisions about repairs or replacements. This could be routine inspections every time a machine is turned on and streamlined by using a low-code application form that a user fills out on their phone or tablet, where the data would automatically update that asset file.
  5. Upgrades and Replacements: Regularly assess whether assets are meeting current needs. Consider technological advancements and changing business requirements when deciding whether to upgrade or replace assets. This can be as easy as replacing items once the warranty is up, or setting up average lifespans for machinery in an asset file. Items like warranty information can be uploaded into a low-code application to make it easily accessible, and notifications could alert you to lifespan expiration dates you set.
  6. Disposal and End-of-Life: Develop a strategy for disposing of assets at the end of their useful life. This can include selling, recycling, or donating assets based on their condition. Easily track recycling and donation centers and pickups,or create an account for your disposal service, so they could be notified once a pickup is needed.

Example of Lifecycle Management:

A manufacturing company that regularly assesses the efficiency and performance of its production machinery. They replace outdated equipment with newer models when the cost of maintenance outweighs the benefits of keeping the old machines. They are able to track a piece of equipment from purchase to disposal through a completely customized low-code application done with TrackVia. Within their application, if parts or vendors change they can quickly update their application as needed, they can integrate with other data capture devices to have all data on hand, and they can provide notifications to working crews when repairs or regular maintenances need to be performed.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Data-driven decision-making involves using accurate and timely data to inform asset management decisions. This approach helps in optimizing asset performance and minimizing downtime.

Leverage data analytics to gain insights into asset utilization, maintenance trends, and performance metrics. This data can often in different systems, making it difficult to see the full picture. Centralizing data through a low-code platform could help in bringing that data together and can even help in the data collection process. This enables predictive maintenance, optimizing asset lifecycles, and avoiding costly breakdowns.

There are five key areas to consider when thinking about the data you work with.

  1. Data Collection: Consider how are you collecting the data you need on your assets. Is it efficient, easy, are you collecting the data you need? Implement sensors and monitoring systems that collect relevant data about asset performance, usage, and condition. This can include metrics like temperature, vibration, energy consumption, and more.
  2. Data Analysis: Utilize data analysis tools to process and interpret the collected data. Identify trends, patterns, and anomalies that can provide insights into asset health and performance.
  3. Predictive Analytics: Use predictive analytics to forecast potential asset failures. By identifying early warning signs, you can schedule maintenance activities before a failure occurs, reducing downtime.
  4. Decision Support Systems: Implement decision support systems that use data to provide recommendations for maintenance schedules, repairs, replacements, and upgrades.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and refine data collection and analysis processes. As technology advances, explore new ways to gather more relevant and accurate data.

Example of Data-Driven Decision-Making

A utility company that uses data from smart meters to monitor electricity consumption patterns. By analyzing this data, they can identify peak usage times and plan maintenance on transformers and power lines during off-peak hours. They have integrated the data capture from the meter with TrackVia to tie the information into the asset file and set notification parameters for usage levels or lifetime expirations to ensure lifecycle management procedures can be followed.

Asset Management at Its Best

Incorporating these first best practices into asset management strategies can lead to improved efficiency, reduced downtime, and better utilization of resources. Remember, asset management is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and adaptation to changing conditions and technology. Implementing a low-code application allows you to streamline these operations and expand or customize as needed, making it easier to manage your business.

If you’re looking for more of the best practices and ways you can streamline your asset management, stay tuned for Part 2!

If you’re ready to see what a low-code platform can do for you – get a demo of one of TrackVia’s asset management applications.

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