**Artwork from Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day 2019**
**Special thanks to Sophia for contributing the below images**
Fixed assets represent a significant investment for your organization. The professionals in charge of inventory management know that as our world grows more digital, the challenges and opportunities for tracking these assets expands.
As your business evolves, it’s nearly impossible to avoid growing pains, but with the right automated asset tracking and inventory solution in place, the inventory process doesn’t have to be one of them. Let’s take a look at 5 ways automating asset tracking can help your business continue to thrive.
1. SAVE TIME
Performing your inventory manually can be a difficult task, regardless of your company’s size. Not only does manual entry demand hours of company time, but it can also require the help of many employees.
An automated inventory system with scanning technology can increase efficiency, saving your business a significant amount of time. Your work force simply scans the asset’s barcode or RFID tag, which is then captured and stored in the database. Simply put, with an automated system, you can get more done in less time, and with less employees.
By automating their inventory process, the Louisiana Property Assistance Agency was able to reduce the time needed to conduct their inventory by 80%.
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When used regularly, a good solution can also provide time savings between each physical inventory you schedule. Let’s say you’re trying to locate a projector. You know it was packed away for storage—but where? Rather than rummaging through the storage closet, warehouse or basement, you can locate it from your office desk with a few simple clicks, saving you and your company valuable time, which leads to our second point…
2. SAVE MONEY
Managing inventory manually is time-intensive, and may demand the help of a large staff. These things cost a lot of money, and the costs add up quickly. We’ve already established that the right system can save your organization time. And since time is money, the right automated inventory system can offer serious cost savings, too.
Further, with a reliable system in place, you can also be confident that the information provided in your asset management database is current. Automating asset tracking (including a process for transfer management), can prevent unnecessary purchases on misplaced assets.
Since many assets have steep upfront costs, this capability can result in significant savings by preventing your company from making unnecessary or repetitive purchases.
3. INCREASE ACCURACY
If your organization is managing its inventory by hand, it’s likely that mistakes are made occasionally, like typos, accidental omissions, or mathematical errors. Mistakenly adding an extra ‘0’ to an asset’s acquisition cost can lead to serious accounting issues, and can result in countless hours trying to locate and reconcile the mistake.
While it may seem minor, these small mistakes can have drastic consequences; after all, bad data in means bad data out. And since this information is used for financial reporting, you want to make sure that the data going in is good.
A computerized inventory and asset accounting system helps keep your asset information organized throughout its lifecycle, and reduces the risk of human error. If used regularly during your annual inventory process, a good solution can help to ensure that all data is accurate and up to date. So the next time you’re trying to view the details of an asset, like its serial number or financial information, you can rest assured that the information in your database is correct.
Maintaining accurate data within your asset management system throughout the year means that you’re more likely to end up with financial reports you can rely on. This information is critical for compliance, and helps to support informed decision making during the budgeting and planning processes.
4. IMPROVE ACCOUNTABILITY
Automating the management of fixed assets also has the ability to deter theft and misuse. There are multiple features—common to many automated systems—that ensure your assets security:
Asset transfer- automates the process for requesting an asset be moved from one location to another. May include e-mail notifications and approval routing
Change request- enables you to require approval from the asset custodian or asset manager to make changes to certain asset detail
Chain-of-custody tracking- creates an audit trail documenting the location, condition, and ownership of an asset at all times
Check-in/Check-out- enables assets to be checked out to users and then checked back in upon their return
By automating asset tracking processes, you’re creating a system of checks and balances that enables peace of mind, discourages the misuse of company assets, and reduces loss and liability.
5. MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY
When an organization’s inventory process is performed manually, mistakes made by human error are not the only concern to be wary of. Manual inventory systems can also result in inconsistencies. Without a routine system in place, the procedure can vary from year to year. To complicate matters more, different departments may follow different procedures for managing inventory control.
Aside from streamlining inventory processes, having specific inventory policies and procedures in place maintains organization throughout all levels of your company. A centralized system for managing your inventory helps to support increased organization and communication. Additionally, it gives you control over your assets, and can serve as a great resource throughout the year.
For some businesses, committing to an automated inventory system sounds like another expense. However, since assets are often some of your company’s biggest investments, it’s critical that they are managed appropriately. The right solution can integrate seamlessly into your organization, save you time and money, and improve business operations and organizational decision making.