The value of any automated system comes down to the information it produces. Information is comprised of data that is accurate and available in a timely manner. This makes the harvesting, processing and presentation of information, when needed, critical parts of the automation plan.
You Are Here
A starting point for many organizations is to leverage existing data. When talking fixed asset information it means compiling the results from the last inventory event with any new purchases that have been made since then. Now you have your (most current) base fixed asset data set.
How You Got Here
The challenge of most organizations asset management data is that it may only be collected once a year for financial and compliance reporting. While the resulting information may be complete enough not to raise any red flags, that doesn’t mean it’s accurate enough for real value-based decisions.
In most cases, inventory activities become part of the department or location responsibilities to perform – leveraging staff that already have a full-time workload. As a result, many inventory activities may be hurried or glossed over, resulting in less than optimal data – it’s late, it’s inaccurate, it’s incomplete, etc. Correcting the results means using more staff resource hours to do it again.
At some point, either the burden on the staff or the quality of the inventory results motivates many organizations to implement an automated solution, like our assetsPLUS.
While implementing an automated solution like assetsPLUS can facilitate turning your fixed asset data into actionable information, getting there requires some steps beyond just installing some software. Think of it like painting a room in your house – a good portion of the project steps happen before you crack open the can of paint – if you want the best results, that is.
Since you likely don’t have perfected asset inventory information (otherwise, why would you be adding an automated solution?), you may want to spend a little time on it before introducing automation. For example, your data may have varying levels of quality, the accuracy of actual inventory locations might be questionable and there may be holes in the types of information captured across your asset set.
Here are general steps that we recommend before you put a new asset inventory solution into production:
- Establish of standards for the data requirements (define what you need) across your entire organization, not just in specific departments. In most cases, your ERP assets module helps to define this
- Consolidate all the existing data files to a single dataset (establish one version of the truth)
- Cleanup the migrated data so that it all adheres to the new “standards” and can be easily leveraged into inventory events and actually (safely) used for business decisions
- Prepare the asset for future inventories conducted with automation. This means tagging the asset and confirming its location and custodial information to assist in making future inventory events easier, quicker and more reliable
When these steps are completed as part of your implementation of a mobile inventory and asset management solution, your success – and organization acceptance – goes up tremendously. Any fixed asset solution supplier you choose should include these preparation steps as part of their Project Plan and have optional tools and procedures in place for your assistance.
HL Group has an optional “preparation database” configured to your ERP’s standard that can leverage the handheld solution to allow for electronic data capture and clean up of your existing assets. This, along with mobile asset tagging (barcode or RFID) is one approach an organization can use to prepare for the final solution you put into production use.
Regardless of the solution or approach you choose for your automation project, the initial inventory event will be much more productive – and will continue to improve on all subsequent events.
We have discussed many times that any successful automation project is not just about the software, hardware, services required. They’re important – but success also relies heavily on the teams (customer & vendor) established goals and procedures (preparation, implementation, transition & sustainment) leveraged in the Project Plan. These goals and procedures will maximize project success and minimize risk. Done right, a fixed asset automation project will insure that your assets – and their data – truly do deliver a value that was identified during your decision to acquire them.