Asset management software enables organizations to manage and audit their assets effectively, improving insight and control. Barcode-based asset tracking solutions offer quantifiable advantages in the form of data visibility, control and analysis when companies select, implement and use the right software effectively. In order to choose the optimal fixed asset management system, it’s important to evaluate your company’s requirements to determine the software features you need. Let’s explore the most important features to consider when comparing your options.
Identifying the Most Important Selection Criteria for a Fixed Asset Management System
A fixed asset management system is intended to make it easier for your organization to track, manage and audit your assets while providing the necessary visibility and controls that fit your company’s processes and operations. Thus, there are many criteria and features to consider, such as the type of asset management system (cloud-based or on-premise software system), data management, data categorization, options for barcode scanning methods, check in and check out capabilities, along with calculation, reporting and printing features. In this blog post, we’ll cover the essential features in each category to help you make your selection.
Overall System Features
Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Asset Tracking Solution:
Commercial off-the-shelf software are ready-to-use, highly configurable solutions that can be acquired, installed and integrated fairly quickly versus a complex, custom system built specifically for your organization. Evaluate your asset tracking needs first, then choose from one of the numerous COTS solutions available in the market that meet those requirements.
Upgradeable Software with Technical Support Available
Your software solution should be supported by a company with the infrastructure to roll out timely updates and offer technical support. A solution with a growing user base also helps guarantee that the company will enhance, upgrade and support the product in the future.
Cloud-Based Software Solution
Cloud-based solutions allow users to access the system anywhere, greatly improving productivity and visibility. An internet connection and user credentials are the only requirements to access the system.
On-Premise Software Solution
Locally hosted solutions are installed on the premises on the organization's servers and hardware behind a firewall. This type of software system allows for on-premise accessibility, ensuring data security.
Comprehensive User Security
Proper adherence to data security via separation of duties is a key requirement in a robust asset management solution. The system must have the ability to tailor a user’s access as needed, such as limiting visibility or allowing read-only access.
Data Management and Categorization Features
Support Entry of Existing Barcoded Assets
When this requirement gets overlooked, it can often cause project delays and cost overruns that could have been avoided. Many organizations have existing assets with barcode labels affixed, so the new solution must support entry of these assets into the database.
Easily Import Information from Existing Systems
Existing systems have important information – such as asset information, location, customer, employee and other data – that must be integrated into the new asset management software database in order to “go live.” The solution you choose should have an import feature that supports Excel and/or CSV files.
Includes an Application Programming Interface (API)
APIs allow two software systems to send data to one another and are essential for systems integration. Without published APIs, your legacy systems cannot readily integrate with other software systems, leading to duplicative data entry, potential inaccuracy and more.
Support Detailed Asset Location Tracking
Easily locate assets at any onsite or offsite location with robust tracking capabilities that include logging building, room number and additional details as needed. This feature also keeps track of asset location changes. Such asset location information is required by management and auditors periodically.
Support for Department-Level Tracking
The system needs to be able to sort and report data by department, in order for managers to conduct inventory of assets accordingly.
Supports Tracking and Classification by Asset Type
To produce meaningful, accurate reports that distinguish between asset types, they must first be properly attributed within the database. Correctly classifying assets by type can be tricky without expert assistance.
Supports Asset Maintenance Scheduling, Repair and Condition Tracking
In order to extend asset lifespan and reduce potential audit/compliance issues from unmaintained assets, the system must support asset maintenance scheduling and on-the-fly asset repair. In addition, being able to track asset condition provides necessary data to schedule timely maintenance.
Supports Software Tracking
Effective software management requires tracking software licenses to keep expenditures in line with budgets. The asset management system should track the total number of software licenses, and if and where they’re in use, in order to assist the IT and accounting departments.
Supports Asset Disposals
Most physical assets reach the end of their lifecycle and will be disposed of at some point, data which must be reported and retained for company analysis. The asset system should allow you to record information about the disposal transaction, such as method of disposal, purchaser, date of disposal, sales proceeds, etc.
Supports Multiple Asset Pictures and Attachments
Many organizations commonly include images of high-value assets for insurance and internal purposes within their database. The system you select should allow the assignment of multiple different categories of pictures to an asset. For example, these could include a copy of the purchase order, lease or purchase contract, material safety data sheet, user manual, technical support document and warranty data.
Retains and Reports Asset History
Every asset has essential information that may be required for analysis or audit at some point, such as purchase date, use configuration, repair history, user assignment and so on.
Supports Custom Fields and Field Name Changes
The system must allow the administrator to add custom fields as required to meet reporting and tracking requirements, and also allow standard field names to be changed to match your organization’s naming conventions.
Supports Duplication of Assets for Ease of Data Entry
Items purchased in multiple quantities must still be maintained within the asset management system on an individual basis. Asset duplication speeds data entry, while data field modification updates individual asset information afterward.
Supports Asset Linking and Parent-Child Relationships
Assets operated together are commonly linked in data systems, such as a computer (parent asset) used with a monitor, keyboard and mouse (child assets). The system should support linking and unlinking assets, as well as the addition, transfer and disposal of said assets.
Supports Mass Asset Updates
Organizations move office and warehouse locations, transfer large quantities of assets from one department to another or dispose of all of a building’s assets due to sale of a division. In order to efficiently process these regular business transactions, the system must support mass asset updates on a variety of field selection criteria.
Diverse Barcode Scanning Method Options
Supports Smartphones Running Android and iOS Operating Systems
Your system choice should have a mobile application compatible with Android and iOS operating systems in order to be untethered in your scanning operation. This mobility increases efficiency of collecting new asset information and assists with physical inventory, check in and check out and asset move transactions.
Supports Barcode Scanners Directly Connected to PC
As the most cost-effective option for scanning barcodes, direct PC-connected scanners are an important option to have with your asset management system. A PC-connected scanner could be used to scan an employee’s badge, check-out and check-in loaner equipment like tools or audiovisual equipment.
Asset Check In and Check Out Features
Supports Asset Assignments
Asset assignments enable employee accountability due to the permanent records of assigned assets for use. The ownership/custodian concept is an important factor to consider when evaluating asset management systems.
Supports Customer and Vendor Tracking
At times, assets can be loaned to a customer or vendor, or are checked out to a repair facility. In such cases, the asset management system needs to be able to support movement of assets to internal employees, customers, vendors or other assignees.
Supports Asset Check In, Check Out and Due Dates
When assets are checked out for specific lengths of time, the asset management software must be able to track due dates and generate reports and automatic alerts when check-ins are past due.
Calculation and Reporting Features
Offers Flexible Reporting and Export Capabilities
Customizing reports to meet your business needs often requires expensive programming. The asset solution you choose should have extensive standard reporting, support the use of logical expressions and be able to export all reporting to Excel and other popular file formats.
Provides Depreciation Calculations and Reports
The asset system you choose should calculate, track and report on depreciation, including custom depreciation methods. It should also support calculations based on the most common depreciation methods, such as straight line, double-declining balance and 150% double declining balance.
Supports Asset Disposals
Many reporting requirements state that organizations need to keep track of physical assets even after they’ve been disposed of. The asset system should allow you to record information about the disposal transaction, such as method of disposal, purchaser/donee name, date of disposal, sales proceeds, etc.
Retains and Reports on Asset History
Every fixed asset has a history that must be recorded: its purchase date, use configurations, repair history, user assignment history and so on. This is an important feature for maintaining and reporting on asset history in order to answer management questions and auditor requests.
Offers Advanced Look-Ups or Queries
Boolean logical expression searches must be a standard feature in the system so that you are easily able to locate specific assets and find exactly the data you want to work with.
Supports Flexible Barcode Printing Capabilities
Most asset management systems support barcode printing, but not all solutions offer the flexibility that most organizations require. Factors such as label size and type, label use, barcode symbology and support are important considerations when selecting your barcode-based asset tracking system.
Receive Expert Help with Choosing The Best Barcode-based Fixed Asset Management System for Your Company
The purpose of a barcode-based fixed asset management system is to make the management process easier, more efficient and more accurate. However, selecting a system that doesn’t fully offer the capabilities or features you need can result in lost time, expensive workarounds, lack of visibility needed, redundancies or other problems due to system limitations and incompatibility with your organization's needs. This software is meant to maximize your business’ asset management capabilities, and improve the tracking, reporting and analysis of key fixed assets that are essential to organizational success. Data management and categorization, options for barcode scanning methods and printing, check in and check out capabilities, calculation and reporting features are all essential considerations when making your choice.
Consult with an expert to determine what your data needs are, and receive one-on-one assistance to determine the best asset management solution for your business. Contact us at BarcodeShack today to learn more.