Asset management software is a computer program or digital system that helps keep track of an organization’s stuff. That stuff can be machines, vehicles, products, or pretty much any physical item that matters in terms of cost or revenue. Asset management is needed because things - large and small - have value. Losing and item is costly in terms of the capital cost of replacing the item, the man-time spent searching for misplaced items, and the opportunity-cost of not using that asset for productive work when it would otherwise be utilized.
Small organizations typically start out with a simple spreadsheet to track their items. This may works with a small number of items and a few employees, but limited systems quickly gets out of hand as organizations grow larger. Asset Management Software helps organizations keep track of their items by automating data entry, facilitating information sharing, and providing automated alerts and reports. Modern asset management software for distributed organizations usually runs in the cloud, acting as a single system of record that can be securely accessed from any location.
Industrial and Construction Asset Management Software
Every industry has its own unique tracking requirements so a variety asset management software tools exist that are customized for distinct industry needs. Businesses such as construction, oil & gas, waste management, landscaping, and industrial manufacturers often have a wide variety of assets that are geographically distributed and often on the move between locations with different teams sharing and reusing equipment. While there is some similarities, specialized software for these businesses often will look very different than asset management software designed for other industries like Information Technology tracking (i.e. computers, printers, etc.) or tracking work-in-progress products through an assembly line for a manufacturer.
Automating Data Entry
The time savings benefits of asset management should also factor the time spent entering and updating items. Shortened search time is not much benefit if it is offset by long data entry times. In addition, if it is difficult to enter and update an asset’s status, users will avoid doing it, leaving the system underutilized or partly populated. To avoid these problems, asset management systems usually provides an easy or automated means of data entry to minimizes the amount of time required to accurately track an asset.
To facilitate simple data entry, modern asset management systems often include technology integration options such as:
- Mobile phone software that can run on employees’ mobile devices for viewing inventory, mobile data entry, and scanning items
- Asset tags like using barcode, QR code, or RFID technology that allow for quick tagging and scanning of items
- Wireless technologies for transmitting data
- GPS for identifying item locations
- Telematics for gathering vehicle data
Combined with alerting and reporting software, these asset tracking technologies help to form a compressive Asset Management System.
Additional Use Cases
Many asset management software solutions leverage their data and field trackers to provide insight into other areas of the organization. This may include additional capabilities such as:
- Fleet tracking – specialization for tracking vehicles
- Driver safety and compliance – tracking legal requirements for drivers and vehicle
- Equipment maintenance tracking – scheduling preventative maintenance and following when they are under repair
As tracking technology becomes more affordable, the economics of tracking smaller, less expensive items becomes viable leading to larger and larger quantities of items tracked. In addition, embedded computer technology is finding its way into more objects - often referred to the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices may have built-in tracking technologies that simplify managing their large quantities. As the number of assets tracked grows, software systems are improving their search and coordination capabilities so that usage of the software does not grow in difficulty .