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Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +61 3 8899 7476

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: +61 3 8899 7476

by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: February 25, 2017

Asset tracking software helps users manage the location of, and work performed on, each piece of equipment or machinery throughout an organization. These systems share many capabilities with maintenance software and facilities management systems. However, asset tracking software often includes barcoding or radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to quickly retrieve data about the machine.

This guide will outline the common capabilities of an asset tracking system, as well as factors buyers should consider when purchasing one. We’ll cover:

What Is Asset Tracking Software?
Common Functionality of Asset Tracking Systems
What Type of Buyer Are You?

What Is Asset Tracking Software?

Keeping tabs on machinery, tools and other assets is critical in ensuring a company’s operations are uninterrupted. After all, asset failure and machine downtime can wreak havoc on a business’s bottom line.

An asset tracking system offers ways for users to digitally track the location of assets that have been physically tagged. It also stores asset information and inventory data, and can alert managers when spare parts stock is low.

Equipment data, including ID number, description and location, in ManagerPlus

Using software to track these assets can help:

  • Ensure scheduled maintenance is completed on time
  • Set up alerts and notifications so that the appropriate personnel are automatically assigned to tasks when new work orders are created
  • Track the life cycle of assets. Information about equipment condition, age and more is entered and stored in the system
  • Run reports and calculate depreciation of machinery

Common Functionality of Asset Tracking Systems

Most asset tracking systems include some or all of the following capabilities:

Work order management The primary reason maintenance professionals need to track assets throughout an organization is to ensure assets are at peak condition and performing the task to which they’re assigned. Therefore, many asset tracking systems also include some kind of work order management functionality, allowing users to create and review work orders and assign them to technicians.
Barcoding or RFID tagging A useful functionality found in asset tracking software is barcoding, QR coding or RFID tagging. Users can create a barcode or QR code system by printing labels and attaching them to machinery. When technicians arrive at the asset to perform work, they can scan the barcode with a hand-held reader or capable smartphone to retrieve important information about that machine. This can save time traveling between the job site and the office computer, while increasing the accuracy of data workers use to perform their duties. 
Depreciation Asset tracking software can also assist companies with calculating depreciation for each piece of equipment. Users simply enter information about an asset, such as date of purchase, acquisition value and estimated service life, then choose from several depreciation methods (straight-line, MACRS, double-declining balance etc.) to have values calculated automatically.
Equipment rental Some companies have assets that can be checked out by employees outside the maintenance department. These rentals should be documented so that equipment can be restored if lost or damaged; Or, if there is a repair to be performed, a technician can see where it is and who is in possession of the asset. Asset tracking software allows users to check equipment in and out: they can assign an employee to a piece of equipment, log the check-out and check-in dates and even store a signature for the renter.
Mobile applications The ability to use smartphones and tablets in the field increases efficiency for maintenance departments, giving technicians access to asset data wherever they’re located. 
Mobile capabilities are a major part of asset tracking. Users can download native applications for mobile devices and scan barcodes or QR codes to instantly view information about a piece of equipment. If the system offers inventory management capabilities, barcoding can also be used to update inventory quantities in real time: Simply scan a code and change the values for certain spare parts as they are consumed.

Setting up barcode formats in Maintenance Assistant

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Some specific asset tracking capabilities, such as barcoding, can be particularly useful for certain industries. Here are a few types of buyers that can benefit the most from these systems:

Managers from manufacturing, healthcare or other asset-intensive industries. Companies with many pieces of equipment and machinery need a reliable way to manage scheduled maintenance. Manufacturers must keep critical machines operational in order to produce goods. And hospital maintenance managers have to ensure equipment stays running for the safety of employees and patients.

Using a barcoding system to retrieve condition information and work-order status saves time that could otherwise be spent maintaining the most critical machinery.

Facilities managers. Professionals who manage building maintenance also need to track equipment inside the facilities, such as HVAC units and lighting, to ensure occupants are able to work. Asset tracking software can alert workers when assets require repairs so they can address the problems quickly.

Fleet maintenance managers. Rolling assets can be especially challenging to track and maintain. Businesses that rely on a fleet of vehicles need to know exactly where any given truck, bus or van is located so that maintenance can be scheduled accordingly. Using an asset tracking system, managers can organize maintenance based on the vehicle’s location. This allows them to maximize the time vehicles are on the road in the most cost-efficient way.

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