It’s commonly accepted that “ignorance is bliss,” and while this might ring true in some instances, it certainly isn’t the case with facilities management. A more fitting cliché here is “the more you know, the more you grow.”
When it comes to asset management, the more information the better. Accurate and expansive information regarding asset performance allows you to make data-driven decisions.
Asset tracking is a technique used by facilities managers to gain insight into the performance of their facility, opening the door for improvement and optimization. Here are 7 asset tracking best practices to improve your facility.
Asset tracking best practices for implementation
1. Create a unique tag for all assets
Creating a unique tag to track all assets might seem a bit obvious, but it’s probably the most important part of a highly effective asset tracking system. Many facilities rely on serial numbers alone to track their assets, but sometimes serial numbers can repeat across the same model. Using serial numbers also leaves room for human error in mis-recording or translating the number across multiple platforms.
Instead, try using a unique QR code for each asset. QR codes can be placed directly on the asset, easily accessible to all technicians. With a simple scan from any mobile device with a connection to the internet and a camera, the QR code leads to all stored data on the asset. This ensures technicians have important information readily available for each unique asset.
2. Pay attention to detail
Once all assets have been tagged with a unique QR code, it’s time to log them into your system. This process isn’t a sprint, but it isn’t a marathon either. You want to move quickly to get your asset tracking started as soon as possible, but you also need to make sure your staff are properly inputting all data. I guess you could say this step is most comparable to a math test: work as quickly as possible, but go back and check your work. This sentiment is especially important if you have multiple technicians working on this process – inconsistencies across different staff members could lead to inaccurate data later on.
3. Collect and organize data
At this point in time you should have a network of tagged assets and a system to keep them organized – now it’s time to fill in the gaps. Storing all relevant data on the asset in one place will allow your technicians to reference the information quickly and easily, simplifying their jobs. More importantly, it creates a full picture of the asset that can be viewed anywhere at any time.
As this data is collected over time you will begin to see trends in asset wear and performance, allowing you to make data-driven decisions accordingly.
4. Create a plan (and stick to it)
The last part of successful asset tracking implementation is deciding what metrics you’re going to track and how you’re going to track them. Deciding where to focus your efforts depends on what goals you want to achieve. With asset tracking you can measure equipment downtime, productivity, maintenance history, expenses, and much more.
Next, you need to decide how you want to track that information. Asset and equipment maintenance software serves as a central hub for all the tasks above, giving you the tools you need to track almost anything under the umbrella of asset tracking.
Regardless of what you track and how you decide to track it, make sure all technicians are on board. It’s important that your team fully understands whatever technology is being used to support you in asset tracking, and that they feel comfortable inputting, retrieving, and utilizing data with that technology stack. Whether it’s an Excel spreadsheet or a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), making sure everyone is on the same page will ensure the best and most accurate results.
Asset tracking best practices for ongoing success
5. Look to the future
One of the greatest benefits that asset tracking unlocks is the ability to glimpse into the future. By outlining the lifespan of an asset and following each piece of equipment’s journey throughout it, you won’t be left wondering if you’re seconds away from a breakdown. The best facilities managers use insights on equipment lifespan to plan ahead. This might look like implementing a preventive maintenance schedule when possible or allocating funds for replacements and repairs if a piece of equipment is near its end.
By looking to the future to predict your asset’s next move you can ensure you’ll always have the resources to keep your facility on track.
6. Set performance expectations
Storing information on the performance of your assets is great, but in order to give the information context it is important to set goals. A number means nothing without a benchmark. A very basic example of this principle can be highlighted with a machine and its production rate. If machine X is producing 15 goods an hour I’m not really sure if I should be happy about it or not. However, if I know that I need 17 goods every hour and machine X is only giving me 15, I have a problem.
Every facility is different, and the performance and maintenance goals you set should reflect the specific priorities of your facility. By setting productivity expectations you can hold your facility more accountable and implement maintenance management strategies to target particular goals.
7. Keep getting better
Asset tracking is an ongoing endeavor. After implementing your tracking system you’ll start to see feedback roll in. With this new insight you can begin making adjustments to improve efficiency, but it’s important to realize this isn’t a one time thing. Tracking assets reveals trends over time, so it will take patience to get to a fully optimized facility. The information collected on your assets should be visited regularly, and always under a lens searching for possible improvements. The best facilities managers are always striving to get a little bit better, and if you can get a little bit better every day, imagine how far you can get in a year, or two, or ten.
Asset tracking gives you insight into the performance of every piece of equipment in your facility. Whether you aim to keep track of time and money spent on equipment maintenance, determine when equipment and assets are reaching the end of their service life, track and report on equipment downtime, or analyze which equipment types and models are underperforming, these asset tracking best practices will help you understand these metrics.