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Asset Tracking Software

Asset Tracking software gives managers the tools they need to track their inventory of internal resources and IT assets. Real-time Asset Tracking solutions let companies manage the usage, warranties and performance of assets in a centralised system. Asset Tracking systems often include barcoding capabilities, can improve repair timelines, and reduce asset downtime. Related tools can also be found in EAM Software, Fixed Asset Management software, and IT Asset Management software. Find the best asset tracking software for your organisation in Australia.

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Asset Tracking Software Buyers Guide

Asset tracking software allows managers to keep track of their organisations inventory of internal resources and IT assets. This includes tracking relevant information, such as warranties, usage, and depreciation. Asset tracking solutions will typically feature ways to streamline the tracking process, such as barcodes or QR codes. These features can reduce asset downtime and improve repair times.

Some of the core features an organisation should expect from an asset tracking solution include the ability to map asset lifecycles, track the effectiveness of equipment, and generally keep tabs on all things related to the organisation's assets. For sufficiently large businesses, asset tracking is just as important as inventory management, which is why dedicated software solutions for this problem exist. It is also common for this type of software to allow for custom roles and employee profiles.

The main benefit of effective asset tracking software is cost. By managing its assets, an organisation can cut down on a range of expenses that it might otherwise have incurred. One example of a cost-saving is avoiding situations where a job is delayed because it requires equipment that is not available at the required time. Proper asset tracking can also help manage a business's finances as it makes it easier to keep track of the value of assets, which makes it possible to plan for End Of Life (EOL) more effectively.

Asset tracking solutions have a key area of focus in that they centre around the assets themselves, but there are other categories of software that are closely related. One example of a related software category is fixed asset management software, while another is IT asset management software.

When looking for asset tracking software, a business needs to consider several factors to make the right choice for its needs. Naturally, the majority of these decisions revolve around the features that the solution offers. These features can broadly be separated into core and common features, with core features being essential. Generally speaking, for a solution to be included in the asset tracking category, it will need to include at least the following features:

  • Breakdown and maintenance tracking, allowing the organisation to make crucial decisions on things like downtime and replacement of assets
  • Asset lifecycle mapping puts the data collected from breakdowns and maintenance history to use where it can inform decisions and help anticipate things like significant maintenance costs
  • Effectiveness tracking can help to measure the effectiveness of an asset—such as a piece of equipment—which provides essential data when a company is considering replacing or upgrading
  • Employee roles and profiles make it simple to assign tasks—such as asset maintenance—to the right people
  • Barcode and QR code generation and scanning make the process of tracking assets more accurate and partially automated, reducing the work involved in asset tracking

What is Asset Tracking Software?

Asset tracking software helps organisations track a range of metrics related to the assets they own, including the performance of those assets and expected End of Life (EOL). Using asset tracking software can help organisations reduce the costs associated with owning assets by removing the inefficiencies of traditional asset tracking systems. For example, they are reducing the chances of an asset facing unexpected downtime due to a lack of maintenance or ensuring that the asset does not reach the end of life at a time when the organisation is not expecting it.

In almost any business, adequate asset tracking is just as important as inventory management. Assets—which include things like inventory—cover just about everything from tools to heavy machinery and any other kind of equipment used in the course business. The importance of these assets may vary, but the importance of properly managing those assets does not. Assets that are not where they are supposed to be, are double-booked, or have just broken down and cannot currently be used all result in delays and expenses for a business. Asset tracking software helps to reduce these situations.

Modern asset tracking solutions incorporate various technologies to make asset tracking more efficient and accurate. One example is barcode or QR code scanning, where a code is generated for a particular asset. Once in the system, that asset's code is scanned whenever it moves around or starts being used on a new project, ensuring that the system always knows where it is. Data analysis is also a big part of modern asset tracking. Using increasingly accurate algorithms and AI, asset tracking can provide insight into the usage of a company's assets, as well as make more accurate predictions about things like maintenance.

What are the benefits of asset tracking software?

The benefits of asset tracking are wide-ranging, but all come together to a single point of focus—the more efficient use of a company's assets. This is achieved through several functions, but the net result is reduced costs associated with the ownership, usage, and maintenance of assets of all kinds. Some of the more specific benefits associated with asset tracking systems include:

  • Make asset management more efficient: The central benefit of asset tracking solutions is the increased efficiency they bring. Assets can be more accurately tracked in every aspect, whether it be the current status of the asset in terms of maintenance requirements or the physical location of the asset at a particular point in time.
  • Reduced costs: Avoid things like booking assets for work when they are unavailable, ensuring downtime is scheduled for times when it is convenient, and accurately predicting an asset's end of life, all save money for a business. These savings add up, and larger companies with a lot of assets—particularly expensive assets like vehicles or heavy machinery—will find the savings they can make by moving to a good asset tracking solution to be quite substantial. Other ways in which asset tracking solutions can save money include reducing the human labour element involved in asset tracking and improving customer service.
  • Accountability: Modern asset tracking solutions automate the task of signing assets in and out, making it a simple matter to ensure accountability for problems with an asset. Employees will have to scan the QR code assigned to that asset when signing it out and then scan it again when returning it. This ensures that an organisation can always determine who was last responsible for the asset.
  • Regulatory and financial compliance: Detailed asset tracking records are important in some industries for regulatory and financial—such as tax—reasons. Asset tracking solutions make it easier to comply with regulations like these by providing detailed automated reports that can be used when filing any necessary paperwork, as well as plugged directly into other relevant software systems.
  • Real-time information: Managers and other senior members of the organisation will be able to easily get an overview in real-time of the current whereabouts of certain assets, as well as generate reports from that information.
  • Easily adjust company records with asset changes: While it is common for an asset to be purchased by an organisation and used until it reaches its end of life, that is not always the case. Sometimes assets are sold or just get moved around the organisation in such a way that it has implications on things like tax calculations. Asset tracking solutions make it simple to factor in these changes.
  • Detailed reports and insight: Asset tracking software is privy to a wider range of data points than traditional asset tracking systems—that is, logbooks or spreadsheets—were. This wealth of data makes it possible for asset tracking software to provide detailed reports that wouldn't have been possible without it. Additionally, due to the constantly evolving analytical capabilities of things like AI, it is increasingly common for asset tracking solutions to offer advanced insights based on the information it collects.

What are the features of asset tracking software?

The features of asset tracking can be broken down into core and common features. Core features should be present in almost every asset tracking solution on the market, whereas the precise combination of common features in any given solution will differ. Here are some of the most common features of asset tracking software:

  • Maintenance and another downtime tracking: Having a detailed and up-to-date understanding of how assets are performing is a critical aspect of making the most efficient use of those assets. Asset tracking solutions will usually provide the ability to track breakdowns and other causes of downtime, such as maintenance. This makes it easier to see when a particular asset might need replacement due to constantly breaking down or if that asset could benefit from an upgrade or replacement.
  • Asset lifecycle mapping: Planning the lifecycle of an asset is never as straightforward as it should be, but asset tracking solutions work to make this aspect of asset management more simple. By tracking things like breakdowns, maintenance costs, and a range of other data points, asset tracking software can help an organisation more effectively map the lifecycle of its assets, and in turn, plan for the future.
  • Equipment effectiveness tracking: It's not always the case that an asset is used until it reaches its end of life. Whether through accidental damage, poor maintenance decisions, changes in business, or even the asset itself being less effective than it was expected to be, sometimes it is more cost-effective to retire an asset early. Asset tracking solutions make it easier to see a clear picture of how an asset has performed against predefined performance indexes. This helps organisations make informed decisions about things like whether to replace a particular asset or not.
  • Cloud-native applications: As with many business applications these days, many asset tracking software developers have embraced the cloud with their products. This means that businesses can benefit from things like remote asset tracking, centralised data storage, and the ability of employees to scan in (or out) assets using intelligent devices such as their mobile phones.
  • QR code generation and scanning: QR codes (and, in some cases, barcodes) make it easier to sign assets in and out because they contain all the information the system needs to identify an asset. Together with information about the employee scanning the asset and the date and time, the system can automatically log a highly detailed record of the asset's whereabouts, all from a single scan that takes a few seconds. The system will also be able to generate these QR codes.
  • Custom roles and profiles for employees: The ability to assign employees with specific roles and profiles makes it easy for an organisation to automate the process of assigning things like the maintenance of a particular asset. It also makes it possible to automatically approve or deny the signing out of a particular asset based on whether the employee attempting to do so has sufficient authority or permission to do so.
  • Interactive dashboards for reporting and planning: Asset tracking solutions will typically provide their users with a friendly user interface where they can see a host of reporting options, overviews of assets and their whereabouts, and carry out a range of tasks like updating asset information or generating new QR codes. These dashboards are often cloud-native, meaning they can be accessed by any authorised employee from anywhere with an appropriate device.
  • Preventative maintenance planning: The wealth of data collected by asset tracking solutions and the predictive power of that data makes it possible to arrange preventative maintenance on assets rather than wait for the asset to break down. Scheduling necessary maintenance at an ideal time can amount to substantial cost savings in the long run.

What should be considered when purchasing asset tracking software?

When purchasing asset tracking software, it is essential to consider several factors, namely the cost and the features on offer. It is also important to remember that not all asset tracking solutions are created equally, and it is worth looking into the reputation of the developer and any reviews of the software that are available. This is particularly the case for cloud-native solutions. Some of the more specific considerations that an organisation should think through before settling on an asset tracking solution include:

  • What are the key features of the software? The key features of the software are, of course, what will make or break it as a potential solution for any given business. A particularly affordable solution will ultimately be worthless if it doesn't have the features the organisation needs. While it is often worth opting for a solution that doesn't have features that are unnecessary for the organisation in question, it's also important to think ahead a little. A feature that isn't needed now might be worth having for the very near future.
  • Is the developer reliable? Whether opting for a standard software package to be installed locally or a cloud-native application that is run under a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, it is worth checking that the developer has a good record when it comes to things like customer service, technical support, and maintenance of their software. Asset tracking is an important aspect of any business, making it important to not have to worry about facing technical issues that the developer is not able to help with
  • Is the software secure? One of the advantages of asset tracking solutions is they can cut down on money lost through asset loss. This is only the case if the software and the procedures it employs are secure, however. Security in this regard can come in several ways, such as the way data is stored. This is particularly important when dealing with a Software as a Service provider, as the data will not be in the organisation's control.
  • Is the software suitable for the size of the business? The needs of a small business differ substantially from the needs of a large organisation when it comes to asset tracking, so it is important to make sure the potential software solution is suitable for the size of the business it will be used in. Check for things like limitations on how many assets can be tracked under the current plan and whether the software can register multiple locations for larger organisations.
  • Is the software compatible with other related software? Asset tracking software can make life easier in various other parts of the business, such as accounting, but the chosen software will need to be able to work with the relevant software already in use to take advantage of that.
  • Is the developer actively supporting and improving the software? As discussed below, asset tracking is an active field of development with many trends likely to influence this field of software going forward. Finding a developer that is actively working on their software solution to add improvements and keep it up to date with the current trends in asset tracking will make taking advantage of those trends a much smoother process.

The most relevant asset tracking software trends are related to gathering more data about those assets and what to do with that data once it has been gathered. Here are the most relevant trends to do with asset tracking software in more detail:

  • Predictive maintenance: The power of AI as an analytical tool has continued to revolutionise many areas of business over recent years, and asset tracking is unlikely to be an exception to this trend. Asset tracking solutions are likely to continue to incorporate increasingly accurate predictive maintenance functionality in their software, saving businesses money by more accurately predicting when it would be wise to schedule preventative maintenance for a particular asset.
  • Fleet telematics: In the case of fleet assets, such as vehicles and haulage, the use of GPS tracking has become a viable option for keeping track of them. It is likely that this will not only be offered in more and more asset tracking solutions but that it will also become the norm for fleet assets.
  • Increased IoT tracking: On a similar theme to the previous trend, barcodes, QR codes, and even RFID chips have become well-established ways of tracking the whereabouts of an asset, but with the increasingly accurate array of options for tracking a variety of things—as well as the falling costs of those options—it is likely that more sensors will find their way into asset tracking. This might include things like temperature, humidity, shock, or pressure sensors. These additional data points will give the system and the organisation a much more accurate picture of things like lifecycle and maintenance schedule. An asset that has broken down from proper use needs to be distinguished from an asset that has broken down because it was involved in an accident or not used in the manner it was designed to be.
  • Continued cloud migration: Asset tracking solutions are already commonly offered as cloud-native, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. Due to advantages offered by reduced costs, remote access, and centralised data, this trend is likely to continue to the point that traditional software packages will be very rare if they remain an option at all.