In the past, asset tracking was a matter of pen and paper records. When computers came along, those records became digital. But for a time they still weren’t very comprehensive. There was no utilization data or hours of service records. There were no alerts for unauthorized use or idle time reports. Until asset tracking, you may have left heavy equipment in storage, unused for months or years at a time. You may have even purchased extra equipment because you didn’t know what you had available. These are issues that all companies with assets seek to eliminate. That very fact may already give you an answer to “what is asset tracking” and why it’s important. But it doesn’t quite capture everything you need to know.
Below, we’ll dive into the details of why asset tracking is important and how you can use it for your business.
What is Asset Tracking?
Asset tracking is the collection of real-time data from your equipment and vehicles. This may include information about location, idle time, HoS, and more. Most asset tracking companies rely on barcodes, QR codes, and scanners to collect data. The data kept often requires scanning or manual entry to store the data in a central database. However, there are other, more efficient and beneficial asset tracking methods. These include the use of a Long Life Asset Tracker or a Rechargeable Asset Tracker.
A Long Life Asset Tracker lasts up to five years on a single battery charge. This tracker is great for use with non-powered assets. It's also useful with assets deployed for long periods. This includes items like road signs or porta-potties. Rechargeable Asset trackers can track equipment for six months. They work best for powered assets.
These devices operate much like GPS fleet tracking devices. They transmit data to software, then organize that information into reports. The software also employs algorithms to assist with optimization efforts. This may lead to lower fuel consumption and idle time, and increase productivity. It also assists with theft prevention, risk management, planning, and so much more. Asset tracking helps your business in many ways, but the aim is security and utilization. Increased utilization leads to overall fleet optimization. Fleet optimization is the goal of every fleet company, so you can see why asset tracking is important. But there are reasons your company should invest in asset tracking beyond optimization.
Why is Asset Tracking Important?
Asset tracking is important for many reasons, but in fleet management, asset tracking provides much needed data to help companies make smart decisions for increased productivity and increased profits. Basically, asset tracking provides fleet managers with data about how an asset is being used and that data can indicate areas for optimizations.
Many companies have more assets than they realize. Knowing what assets you have and where they are at all times is just as important as tracking inventory. The difference is that a company’s physical assets are a part of their operations. Because of this, you want more information about your assets. This includes real-time location, maintenance, idle time, and more.
We’ve already mentioned how this information is vital to fleet optimization. But there are other benefits of asset tracking as well, such as:
- Theft prevention
- Regulation compliance
- Reduced administrative costs
- Competitive advantage
- Greater visibility with real-time data
- Increased productivity
- Increased profits
- Utilization tracking and trending
- Proper deployment of assets
This may be a list of asset tracking benefits, but they correlate with everyday issues. Businesses have difficulty in every one of these aspects. Asset tracking aims to solve all of these issues at once.
Asset trackers don’t just relay information about the asset. They provide real-time data, including the location of the equipment. In the case of a theft, you can provide authorities with actionable location information. Throughout the industry, thefts lead to thousands of dollars in lost equipment. Only 20% are ever recovered by authorities. Asset tracking helps to mitigate this risk.
Auditors require routine physical audits to ensure balance sheets are correct. Penalties for non-compliance are a drain on your company. Asset trackers record the number of assets you have, where they are, and so much more. These detailed records help you stay compliant and penalty-free.
When your administrative staff no longer has to track assets, your costs decrease. Along with costs, you also free up time for your staff to focus on other aspects of the business. This may include growth or other optimization efforts. Either way, you’re increasing the efficiency of your business.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to track assets manually. It also makes it much harder to grow your business. Asset tracking software makes scaling your company a simple process. You won’t have to make serious modifications or adjust protocols. And, because it takes care of other functions, you can focus on growth. Essentially, asset tracking makes it easier to scale, but it also encourages you to do so.
Having a competitive advantage in any period of time is important. But today, with the bombardment of ads online, on tv, and on roads makes it hard to stand out. Asset tracking simplifies other aspects of your business beyond actual tracking. Because of this, you can focus on marketing, customer service, or other improvements.
Every manager would like greater visibility into their operations, inventory, and employee behavior. Asset tracking grants this with reports on idle time, location, engine run time, and usage data. You can also use geofencing to know when shipments arrive or deliveries leave. You can also use it for theft prevention and oversight of daily operations, even if you aren’t onsight.
Geofencing and other features such as idle time reporting, help increase productivity. You’re able to set rules or limits for assets in regards to hours and areas of operation. You can also monitor equipment use, meaning you can see whether it’s used properly. The geofence also allows you to see when equipment leaves or comes in and how long it is in the perimeter. This way, even if you aren’t on-site, you can manage your team and equipment.
Not only does asset tracking help you reduce costs, it also helps to increase your profits. This is largely due to increased productivity and efficiency. But you are also able to spend more time and energy on growth. This may mean better customer service or marketing efforts. Either way, you can focus on increasing your profits.
Sadly, many fleet companies leave assets to sit unused, collecting dust. You still have to pay for storage and maintenance, but you aren’t getting anything in return. This is a problem for 47% of fleets, whose equipment utilization rests at just 5% per piece. It may be impossible to ever reach 100% utilization, but asset tracking can get you closer. Asset tracking software tracks your usage and determines how many pieces you need for a job. It may find that one of your assets could take the place of three. Thus, you’re able to consolidate your fleet and increase utilization.
Real-time data from asset trackers allow you to see where all of your assets are at once. This helps you ensure that each job site has exactly what it needs when it needs it. You no longer have to check hand-written logs, static databases, servers, or workstations. It can be difficult to keep track of all of your equipment and what is at each job site, but asset tracking can help.
There are many benefits of asset tracking for companies with many large assets in the field. Those featured in this article are just a few directly linked to asset tracking. Learn more about the benefits of asset and fleet tracking, at Azuga.