For most businesses, the efficient tracking of their installed base or in-service equipment, and the management of their spare parts inventories are key factors in determining the prospects for internal productivity and customer support profitability. However, many organizations do not yet start using a comprehensive asset tracking and management process to guarantee the availability of quality data that can be used to generate the business enterprise intelligence that may ultimately save them money and improve efficiency. This is unfortunate, because the tools are plentiful – it is simply a matter of making it important.
What is Asset Management?
There are various definitions of “asset management”, although most deal primarily with financial considerations. Some are based on evolving maintenance unity asset management collections management systems; some on the management of factory floor equipment configurations; plus some for the purposes of monitoring network equipment and even railway car and container locations. However, regardless of what situation or application your organization handles, the core definition remains constant; asset management is “a systematic process for identifying, cataloging, monitoring, maintaining, operating, upgrading and replacing the physical assets of the business enterprise on a cost-effective basis”.
To be truly effective, the asset management process must be built upon a foundation of widely accepted accounting principles, and supported by the proper mix of sound business practices and financial acumen. It could provide management having an effective tool which you can use to derive better short- and long-term planning decisions. Therefore, it is something that every business should think about adopting – and embracing.
After years of studying and supporting the info Technology (IT) needs and requirements of clients in every major fields of business, we prefer to define asset management in a more dynamic way, encompassing each of the following four key components:
An enabler to generate and keep maintaining critical management data for use internally by the company, as well as with its respective customers and suppliers (such as for example installed base or maintenance entitlement data).
A comprehensive process to obtain, validate and assimilate data into corporate information systems.
A flexible system allowing for either the manual acquisition and/or electronic capture and reconciliation of data.
A program with accurate and intelligent reporting of critical business and operational information.
Asset management isn’t merely the identification and inventorying of IT and related equipment; it is the procedure for making the assets you possess work most productively – and profitably – for the business enterprise. Further, it is not a system you can purchase; but is, instead, a small business discipline enabled by people, process, data and technology.
Do you know the Signs, Symptoms and Ramifications of Poor Asset Management?
Poor asset management leads to poor data quality – and poor data quality can negatively affect the business enterprise over time. Actually, experience shows that there are several common causes that can result in poor asset management, including lack of business controls for managing and/or updating asset data; insufficient ownership for asset data quality; and an out-of-balance investment in people, process, data and technology. In addition, some businesses might not consider asset management to become a critical function, focusing on audits only; while others may not consider asset data to be an important component of their intellectual property.
The primary symptoms of poor asset management are also fairly ubiquitous, and could include anything from numerous compliance and security issues, to uncontrollable capital and/or expense budgets, excessive network downtime and poor performance, under- or over-utilized assets, incompatible software applications, increasing operational costs and headcount, and non-matching asset data derived from different organizations and/or business systems.