During the start of operations, every business lays down a few goals and objectives. Depending on the growth and progress, companies often decide to expand their asset and employee base. While this sounds like a simple thing to do, it actually isn’t. Assets are valuable investments which need to be constantly monitored in order to bear a certain rate of return. A lack of robust management strategy may lead to underutilized tools and equipment.
A smart way to track your assets is to label all your tools as soon you buy them. Doing this enables you to trace out movements around the office and across locations. Using an asset tracking spreadsheet makes it easier to store all relevant information, from the time of procurement to disposal at one place. Being easily accessible, it can be updated by employees as soon as an asset is checked out for use.
Due to reduced risk of losses through misplacement, many organizations are opting for asset tracking spreadsheets for everyday tasks. Companies that work with a variety of tools which need to be labeled with model specifications, tend to opt for rigorous tracking practices. Institutions like hospitals which have to meet strict regulatory standards, choose asset management with audit sessions. In addition to this, firms which tend to work on offsite projects like construction companies also deploy location tracking mechanisms.
Benefits of asset tracking spreadsheets
During the past few years, a considerable number of companies have started implementing strict asset management workflows in place. But, why is that? Having a trustworthy mechanism like asset tracking spreadsheets lets you avail the following features. These enable you to make the most out of your business investments.
- Eliminate ghost assets: It is quite common for assets to go missing or break down in the middle of the business year. Not having a reliable accountability system can lead to a miscalculation in your financial books. An asset tracking spreadsheet enabled solution lets you get rid of such equipment.
- Cut down costs: The only way to carry out cost-effective business practices is to streamline each and every asset activity. With instant procurement updates available through a tracking spreadsheet template, you can select the appropriate storage facility for your tools. All this data also lets you organize regular audits to keep your taxes in check.
- Locate assets quicker: Barcode labels through asset tracking techniques allow you to enter specific tool information in your spreadsheets. Working with such details lets you locate certain equipment in the warehouse.
- Increase accountability: When you maintain a rigid security system, you can easily record data on asset ownership in your asset tracking spreadsheets. This comes in extremely handy when trying to relocate tools in equipment.
- Schedule maintenance: Once you purchase an asset, you need to service it regularly to utilize it fully, throughout its useful life. By using asset tracking spreadsheets, you can store usage history and schedule maintenance events accordingly.
- Check asset availability: Due to time constraints, business oftentimes reserve tools and equipment in advance. Having availability status in your asset tracking spreadsheets allows you to make arrangements beforehand.
How do companies use spreadsheets to keep track of assets?
Some SMBs believe that spreadsheets have optimized their workflows. What works in one domain might not work in another. For example, templates could work quite well if you’re tracking timesheets, as the information contained within them is often not very dynamic. On the other hand, when it comes to managing assets, spreadsheets are not flexible enough to account for changes in maintenance status, location, custodianship, and so much more. This is why asset tracking software offers a reliable and more efficient way for asset management.
Depending on the size and nature of a firm, the asset tracking spreadsheets can be divided into separate sections. This can be done by dividing the tasks. But the majority of firms tend to use serial numbers to denote different types of tools. A simpler method to improve accuracy is to use barcode labels assigned to your assets. Doing so allows you to easily locate the specific equipment you are looking for.
Followed by the identification number, spreadsheets have a column for description. Firms often add image links besides description for effortless data entry. Asset tracking spreadsheets record vital metrics like salvage value and retirement time. Apart from this, firms also keep data on location and vendors for faster retrievals. To make classification simpler, businesses also tend to divide assets into groups and subgroups. Different columns in an asset tracking spreadsheet can be designated for numerous subdivisions of tools.
What would an asset tracking spreadsheet template include?
Before you begin to categorize your assets in the spreadsheet, learn what important elements you need to consider. Here are a few basic characteristics to add to your asset tracking spreadsheets when it comes to asset tracking:
A) Asset Identification Number: Every product has a unique serial number which lets you refer back to it to enter utilization details.
B) Description: This section mainly includes product type. For example, DeskJet D2600 Series.
C) Display Picture URLs: For all assets in your spreadsheet, you can add a link to an image for your product for easy reference.
D) Document Attachment URLs: To improve accuracy and reliability of the assets, companies oftentimes keep a track of important documents. These can be warranties or service history checks.
E) Group: Each respective department in a business has its particular assets. For broader categorization like IT equipment or AV gear, you can make groups in your spreadsheet.
F) Subgroups: For each of these groups already made, you can go on to have narrower categorization. For instance, for IT equipment, you can enter laptops, keyboards, and printers.
G) Location: If you have offices across locations, then you need to keep a track of what is where. You can add addresses that come within a city or even different cities or countries.
H) Name: The easiest to denote, the name of an asset is generally what specifically the tool is, for example, HP printers. You can add manufacturer names to be precise.
I) Price: When you create purchase orders, you decide how much you want to pay for an object. This price is entered next to all your assets.
J) Vendor: It is not common for a company to purchase all assets from a single vendor. Use your spreadsheet to add all vendors for convenient follow-ups.
K) Maintenance Provider: To prevent untimely breakdowns, firms tend to schedule maintenance events. It is critical to enter the names of service and repair providers for future reference.
L) Product Model Number: This is a shortcode which includes letters and numbers used to identify assets within groups and subgroups.
M) Purchased On: For accounting purposes, it is crucial to record procurement dates for all your tools and equipment.
O) Retired on: In order to efficiently eliminate ghost assets, companies enter product disposition details to write them off with time and date.
P) Salvage Value: While disposing of assets, organizations end up selling them if possible. This can be done if you calculate the resale value in the spreadsheet.
Even though asset tracking spreadsheets are a great mechanism to keep all asset related information organized, there are a few limitations. Asset tracking spreadsheets cannot be used by multiple people at one time to update daily activities. Also, the use of spreadsheets is restricted to within the office. For instance, travel-intensive businesses employees have to wait to get back to the office to enter their daily progress.
A sophisticated alternative to spreadsheets is automation in asset tracking. With the ability to scale upwards as the business grows, on online tracking program expands as you acquire more assets. You don’t need to create new spreadsheets or worry about backups if you opt for an automated software. Using online solutions make it easier to work on-the-go. Compatible with smartphones, employees can check-in and checkout assets while working outside the office as well.
Did you know? Modern technology can automate more than 45% of all the activities people are paid to perform.
When your switch from spreadsheets to automated asset tracking, the need for manual data entry goes down substantially. Barcode labels can be scanned into the system to update previous records. Cloud-based asset tracking increases accuracy and efficiency of the overall work process.
Why is asset tracking automation better?
Many SMBs are using spreadsheets to catalog their assets and equipment and analyze data to employ better management strategies. Asset tracking software offers a reliable and more efficient way for asset management. Here are some reasons why asset tracking software is a more effective method for asset and inventory management.
One: Real-Time Asset Tracking
Spreadsheets considerably increase the chances of assets being double booked, as records are often outdated. When using spreadsheets to track assets there are no audit trails. This makes it difficult to keep the actual asset count and asset data in sync. This mismatch between the actual and logged data about assets increases the likelihood of productivity hiccups. For example, employees may end up pointlessly searching for assets that are already checked out to other employees.
Ensuring that spreadsheets are kept up-to-date is a laborious task. It eats up both your time and energy. Asset tracking software offers a simple solution to this costly problem. With features that enable asset tracking through Barcodes or QR Codes, employees are able to effortlessly check-in or out equipment. And simultaneously, they can update asset records. This real-time updating of records lead to fewer conflicts in booking and a more productive work environment.
Two: Increased Adaptability
Specifically designed asset tracking software has a multitude of benefits that spreadsheets simply cannot provide. Unlike asset tracking spreadsheets, a software isn’t a tool that SMBs have to adjust to. But rather one that is designed to adjust to their needs and requirements. The software includes features that allow integrations with other software. Such integrations enable SMBs to easily implement a holistic solution for their asset management needs. With the help of the software, a smooth workflow from the procurement of assets to their yearly audit and retirement can be set up.
Using the software, SMBs are also able to gain both immediate and long-term insights about their assets. Reports about asset availability, inventory levels, asset usage are quickly and can be easily generated. How? By using the provided templates from within the asset tracking software!
Using a software that is constantly adapting to asset management needs means that the system is able to provide more specific functionalities. Functionalities that help SMBs smooth out their asset management! For example, the software provides internal calendars that show asset availability and enables users to automatically print out barcodes for their assets.
Three: Collaborative Platform
Asset tracking software empowers employees across the company with the ability to schedule and access relevant equipment and assets. Unlike spreadsheets where data is either completely shared or not shared at all with employees, asset tracking software enables SMBs to provide selective user access. This access can be set for both the user’s ability to view and edit assets. This means that employees from different teams and locations can only access information about assets relevant to them. In this way, SMBs can ensure that employees are not bombarded with unnecessary asset information and still have access to relevant information instantly.
As the software allows multiple users to access the system simultaneously, it encourages collaboration among employees when it comes to asset usage. Employees can easily check when an asset is due back and reserve it for their own use. This is done without encountering scheduling conflicts with other employees. Employees can also easily update asset information and upload support documents to keep other employees informed.
Four: Centralized Database
In an online asset tracking software, all information related to assets is accessible from one place. Actions relating to the possession, maintenance, and procurement of assets can also be performed from a single platform provided by the software. For example, users of the software can not only access and update asset details. They can also update the details of a vendor and an employee. Furthermore, users can track the maintenance of assets and equipment. They can enable them to look up maintenance history, schedule the maintenance events, and check equipment in/out of maintenance.
Assets can also be procured with the help of the software. Users can access vendor history, look up vendors and order new items. Keeping such consolidated records with spreadsheets is difficult to both achieve and make sense of. Therefore, asset tracking software offers businesses with a unique centralized platform. They can check asset availability and condition, communicate with both employees and vendors, and track asset maintenance needs.
Five: Failsafe Data Security
Businesses that use spreadsheets to manage a large number of assets often find themselves stuck with corrupt data. The straightforward presentation of data and the use of multiple formulas makes errors in spreadsheets easy. However, locating and correcting these mistakes is a time-consuming and tedious task. Even the tiniest mistake of a wrong formula can drastically affect data calculations. Decisions based on such data can lead to distressing consequences. For example, a company may incur costs by committing to complete projects requiring assets that have been overestimated in the spreadsheet.
Alternatively, asset tracking solution is more robust against faulty asset information. The software ensures the integrity of asset data by setting up a proper procedure and protocol to edit asset data. This prevents users from accidentally making changes to the data. Additionally, the software enables users to selectively access and edit asset information. This prevents employees from tampering with unrelated or sensitive information about assets and equipment. For example, employees can update the condition or check out the status of assets without changing cost details or earlier asset records.
While asset tracking spreadsheets can be adopted to help in asset management, they are inefficient and unreliable. The specific nature of an automated tracking software makes it a more suitable, reliable and efficient way to track, manage and maintain assets. The software offers a secure way to save and edit asset data and track assets in real-time. It also enables businesses to adopt a centralized management system that allows employees to easily share resources and assets with each other. Therefore, an online asset tracking tool is the best solution for the asset management needs of businesses.
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