What is an Asset Locker?

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Asset Lockers control access, and keep track of various assets and items of value in your workplace or facilities. Modern "Smart" Locker Systems will have built in terminals that authenticate users while controlling and tracking each locker compartment and all items contained within.
 
The basic operation of an Asset Locker is:
  1. Users Authenticate themselves using one of the various authentication methods
  2. The smart terminal determines what items the user has access to depending on what items are available to them, what devices are charged and ready for use, the time of day, or the user's department.
  3. The smart terminal displays a list of available assets. The user selects which item he would like to access.
  4. The Smart Terminal creates a record of the access (or attempted access) to the cloud server. Alerts can be set up to send to administrators.
  5. The door lock is released for the user to access the item. Internal asset tracking will be updated when the item is physically removed from the compartment.
  6. The user returns the item when finished using by re-authenticating, logging any notes or error codes on item, and plugging item in to be charged (when necessary).
  7. The Smart Terminal recognizes the item is returned on time, otherwise will alert administrators.
 
Asset Lockers are considered Asset Management Systems, and can operate independently as a stand-alone solution with full audit trail capabilities or in conjunction with other Asset Management solutions.

What is an Asset Management System?

Asset Management is quite simply the practice of controlling, tracking, and securing the valuable assets of your business or facility. This can be literally any valuable or sensitive assets (such as firearms) that you can’t afford to lose, have stolen, or fall into the wrong hands. Additionally, it ensures accountability of employees for usage of essential equipment, and maintaining an audit trail of all usage for regulatory purposes.

Asset Management is done via Asset Management Systems, also known as Asset Lockers, Electronic Locker Systems, Business Lockers, and Smart Lockers. Asset Management generally falls into 3 different categories: Safety, Loss Prevention, and Device Workflow. 

Every business and facility is going to be different, and that’s why your Asset Management Solution should be tailored to work for you.

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Safety

Asset Management is used to secure objects or devices that can be dangerous, require special handling and licenses to operate, or any object that you want to keep out of the wrong hands. Weapons and Firearms, Dangerous Chemicals, and Power Tools can fall into this category. Asset Management Systems and Storage Lockers enable you to restrict access to those individuals with the proper license and authority to operate the secured asset.

Loss Prevention

Another common use is to prevent the misplacement or theft of company assets and objects of value. This can be electronic devices such as tablets, laptops, expensive tools, 2-way radios. Another important asset to consider is Intellectual Property, which can lead to significant loss if it falls into the wrong hands or is leaked outside company walls. Asset Management can help you not only keep these important items secured, but you can have full surveillance in every locker compartment so you know exactly where your assets are located at all times.

Device Workflow

Many companies share devices and tools among employees, and it can quickly devolve into chaos when an important object is borrowed and there’s no record of where it went. Asset Lockers give an extremely easy method to control and schedule specific times for items and assets to be accessed by specific individuals, all while keeping a real time record of where those objects have gone. Built in charging systems are often used to ensure items remain charged and ready for use.

 

What Kinds of Assets Need to be Managed?

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Firearms

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Laptops

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Handheld Bar Code Scanners

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Intellectual Property

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Hazardous Materials

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Dangerous Chemicals

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Two-Way Radios

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Jewelry

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Calibrated Instruments

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Tablets

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Cash Boxes

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Lab Equipment and Ingredients

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Prototypes

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Tools

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Point-of-Sale Devices

Why Do I Need an Asset Locker System?

Missing Items Brings Productivity to a Halt

When Jim from the warehouse takes out a company laptop that Jerry needed for a customer demo, your item may not be “lost” per se, but you are losing valuable employee time and slowing down their productivity.

Loss can be devastating to a company

According to the Centre for Retail Research, Disloyal Employees Customer Shoplifting, and Supplier Theft Costs the World's Retailers $98.6 Billion per year. And while theft and loss of equipment is a huge cost that all companies endure… losing a vital prototype or any key Intellectual property can be priceless.

Accountability is Necessary for Important Assets

Every company has high-cost equipment and tools used by employees every day and, if everyone has access, there isn’t any accountability when an item is missing or damaged. Without management, employees could hoard devices so that they have a “spare” or might simply forget to return them. Searching for lost or missing devices is a top productivity drain on manager time, and replacing devices or tools that are never located can quickly eat into profits.

Unsecured Assets can Pose a Safety Threat to your Patrons and Employees

Many industries work with dangerous items that by law and regulation cannot be left unsecured. A police station may have firearms and other dangerous weapons that only very specific individuals should have access too. Chemical or Pharmaceutical companies have valuable, hazardous, and sometimes illegal substances that can be extremely dangerous, explosive, poisonous or corrosive. Some tools require licensing in order to ensure safe operation, and these tools can be restricted to individuals who the Smart Locker has identified as being licensed. Some organizations have a Bring your own device policy that requires extra security.

What are the Parts of an Asset Locker?

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Locker Compartments

The Locker portion of your Asset Management system is where you will hold the items you are looking to secure. You should look for a locker that is well built, feels secure, and uses the appropriate steel gauge.

Obviously, a long rifle differs greatly in size and shape compared to a cellphone, so you will likely need a locker that has different sized chambers to accommodate a wide range of items. Some locker solutions are fully modular, and will allow you to combine exactly which compartments you need into one single cabinet.  

Identification/Authentication System 

This is an essential component to your locker system, as it helps ensure the user who is accessing the locker is the person they say they are. There’s many different methods to identify and authenticate the users of your locker system, including PIN Code, Proximity Reader, Biometric Reader, iris identification, RFID Scanner. You can combine more than one method together for an even greater level of security.

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Control Panel 

They’re called “smart lockers” for a good reason.  The control panel is programmed to know exactly who has access to which locker compartment, and when. The Control Panel enables users to choose the item they wish to access, all while keeping a full audit trail of all activity. These panels can integrate with other security systems in your facility, including access control systems, key management systems, and cloud/mobile solutions.

Online Integration

Take your control online with the ability to grant access and change scheduling remotely, see the status of your valuable assets from anywhere, and receive instant alerts when they are accessed. Network multiple cabinets to centralize operations across multiple facilities. Run and customize reports on item usage, users, schedules and more. Use online reservations to manage and schedule assets.

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Content Surveillance

Devices can give you additional visibility of what actually is inside the locker, and the precise location of your assets at all times. They’re designed to enable accountability and accuracy of item usage. Content Surveillance enables you to tag items so they can be identified and tracked electronically. Capabilities include:

  • Identify which device is located in which locker
  • Track who has removed or returned each device, and when it was removed
  • Recognize assets when returned or removed
  • Discover which devices are available for use
  • Restrict access to specific devices based on user, time or other criteria
  • Ensure items are returned when required

Additional Features

Many electronic lockers can be equipped with charging power inside the compartment, to ensure that electronic remain charged and ready to use while staying secured. Backup batteries can ensure that your locker remains secure and can still send alerts in the event of a power failure.

How Can an Asset Locker Save Me Money?

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All it takes is one major loss of an essential item for an Asset Management System to demonstrate its value. But cost savings with Asset Management Systems go beyond loss prevention.

In virtually every industry you have expensive devices, tooling, or valuable materials that are required for the job. Employees and patrons are entrusted with this equipment on a daily basis, and with items constantly changing hands, they are in dire need of some sort of tracking and record-keeping.

You can control distribution with sign out sheets, but not only is this cumbersome and time-consuming, it is easy to bypass unless you have someone standing guard… certainly not the best use of employee time and resources. If you can’t afford to lose your valued assets—or the process of managing the distribution of these items has become a burden on your resources and time—your best solution is an asset management solution, such as an Asset Locker or Smart Locker.

Planning for Your Asset Management Solution

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As with any security planning, the best way to develop your solution is to start by determining your business’s overall operational and security goals.

  • Is your priority maintaining an audit trail for regulatory compliance of certain company devices?
  • What type of items are you looking to secure?
  • Do your items require power or have a battery that needs to be charged?
  • What sized compartments would you need to accommodate your assets?
  • How will user be authenticated: Proximity Card Reader, Biometric reader, PIN pad?
  • Do you require customized reporting and audits for all locker access?
  • Are you allowing access to certain company data on personal devices, but not others?
  • Would you like remote access to control access times and permissions?
  • Do you want a system you can expand in the future as your company grows?

The ultimate goal of any asset management plan is to get your business users access to the tools, apps, and data they need to do their job on the devices you make available to them.

How Do You Know If You Have an Asset Management Problem?

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Many companies don’t even realize they have an asset management issue, or don’t think they have enough equipment to justify using an Asset Management system. The reality is that you can scale your system down to be very small, and with a modular Asset Locker system you only pay for the compartments you need. Often the loss of one item can more than justify the cost of a Locker system.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • Have I ever had to replace a lost or misplaced item in my business?
  • Have I ever had to spend time tracking down an item being used by a coworker?
  • How much time is spent during the work day signing in and out items for employees to use?
  • Could I get into trouble if an untrained employed had access to certain assets?
  • Are employees having trouble getting access to the tools and devices they need?
  • Do any unsecured items in my facility pose a safety hazard.

Where are Asset Lockers Being Used?

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Cities & Municipalities

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Pharmaceutical Companies

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Energy Sector

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Public Utility Services

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How Do You Implement an Asset Management System?

Asset Management systems are easy to implement. Your service provider will take care of the installation, and once you’re hooked up, you’ll complete some basic training that shows you how to program your locker (your trainer can also do this for you, but it is preferable in case items change in the future). You’ll need to setup which items are designated to a compartment, who will have access to that compartment, and what curfew they’ll have for signing out that item.

Every company is unique, so it’s important to plan ahead and get the help you need from your representative. They can point you in the right direction and help you troubleshoot problems for your unique setup.

Make sure all employees are informed of the new Asset Management Policy. Employees who will be using the Asset Locker need to each be set up with a unique ID, and a means of authenticating themselves with the system.

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How would you like to authenticate users?

To gain access to the locker, there are many types of access control terminals. some are PIN code only. Some have a large touch screen display to easily scroll through key inventory. Some offer a proximity card reader which allows customers to make use of their existing proximity access control cards. There is also the option for biometric verification using fingerprint or facial readers, or even iris identification.

Use one, or a combination of the methods listed below for increased access control.

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Fingerprint

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PIN Code

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RFID Tag

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Card Access

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Iris Identification

One of the best ways to improve asset management in your business is to use electronic asset lockers like the ones we provide at Real Time Networks. It is a simple process that offers invaluable control and peace of mind.

Request a demo and pricing today using the form below.

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Contact Real Time Networks for More Information