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Smart asset management strategies can help standardize and simplify some of your more volatile equipment-related costs. As a result, you’ll be able to make smarter purchases, extend the lifecycles of your most expensive equipment, and make equipment more available for essential operations.
This article explores how smart asset management technology can be a core component of your asset lifecycle management (ALM). We explore how best to structure an ALM program, show you how an equipment management system can fit within it, and even share some specific use case benefits.
What is an Asset Lifecycle?
But let us start with some fundamentals and clarify what an asset lifecycle is. For our discussion, an ‘asset’ is any physical object whose absence would have a meaningful impact on one of your workflows—for example, a handheld scanner in a distribution center. Employees need a scanner to carry out their work. If one isn’t available, charged, and functional, those workers are idle until they find a usable scanner.
An asset’s lifecycle includes every activity from the moment you decide you need to purchase it until you dispose of it. Or “from the cradle to the grave,” as we sometimes like to say.
Asset Lifecycle Stages
The five practical stages of physical asset lifecycle management are:
Once your lifecycle management program is in place, each new asset entering your organization should pass through all five stages. It often makes sense to conduct an inventory of existing assets, so you can integrate them starting with the Use stage. And while most assets spend the majority of their lifecycles in the Use stage, it is important to give equal effort to all five stages if you want to maximize asset value in the long run.
Here are the five stages explained in a little more detail. Organizations will want to craft policies and procedures for each stage to keep lifecycles as organized and predictable as possible. If you’re using an equipment asset management system, standardized digital processes also help you collect meaningful asset data, which can inform operations and future purchases.
What is a Smart Asset Management System?
You can use a smart locker system for ALM. Smart lockers self-manage stored assets, freeing up staff for more productive work. Smart lockers can track when employees sign out or return assets and how your employees use them. Smart automation software can also enable new workflows.
Several core components are needed to make a company asset management system “smart.”
At the core of a smart locker system is the storage lockers. These lockers hold idle equipment and charge electronic devices, so they’re ready when your employees need them next. Some company equipment management systems are one-size-fits-all. Others, like the AssetTracer system from Real Time Networks, are modular. You can combine different cabinets into the configuration you need to fit your gear within the footprint you have to work with.
Attached to each set of lockers is a smart access panel. Users authenticate themselves here and respond to any checklists you want to present to them at signout or return. Once complete, the panel unlocks only the cabinets you want to give the users access to.
You can attach RFID tracking tags to each stored asset. Then content surveillance sensors in the lockers can verify that employees take and return the correct items when they request access. RFID is a low-power, short-range wireless standard that works through plastic, so you can even scan multiple kit components simultaneously. You can also get device information over some wired USB connections if you plug electronic devices in to charge.
All the data collected from the smart locker system feeds back to a central management dashboard. In AssetTracer systems, you access the dashboard through a secure web app on authorized PCs, phones, or other mobile devices.
This dashboard allows you to monitor asset use in real time, manage users, and generate reports for your budget planning or regulatory compliance. In addition, these dashboards provide a complete picture of every asset’s lifecycle.
Key Benefits of Asset Lifecycle Management Using a Smart Equipment Management System
Managing your asset lifecycles using a smart locker system offers several benefits. Some of the most significant seen by many organizations include:
Still not sure what smart locker solution you need?Contact Real Time Networks today for a FREE 30 mins consultation.
About the Author
Vice President of Marketing
Jay oversees marketing and strategic partnerships at Real Time Networks and has over three decades of experience in leadership roles in the financial services and technology industries.