Medical institutions deploy a vast range of equipment to carry out daily tasks. If these assets are not properly monitored, it doesn’t only adversely impact organizational efficiency but overburdens the staff as well.
Here are some common inventory challenges faced by the healthcare sector:
Untimely outage of medicines and surgical equipment
Overstock of supplies
Storage and placement of special drugs
Generating procurement bills
Creating stock and sales reports
Disposal of expired medicines in stock
To tackle these issues, hospitals opt for an automated solution package. Such a system helps to streamline inventory management and can benefit the entire team including custodial staff, administrative bodies, and even patients. Inventory software works on the basic principle of tagging all stock items as soon as they are procured. A barcode tag is most commonly used for such practices. This label then enables users to track inventory throughout its lifecycle.
Key aspects of medical supply management
To lower patient safety and liability risks associated with medical supplies, hospitals should implement a robust equipment management program. While doing so, healthcare centers should take into account the expertise of biomedical engineers.
Here are some key aspects of medical inventory control which enable hospitals to raise overall operational efficiency:
A. Inventory documentation
To start off, hospitals should carefully register all types of supplies they have in stock. This includes all major and minor equipment deployed for everyday use and critical operations. Each healthcare organization should follow these steps to achieve a reliable and accurate inventory database:
Maintain a record of all inventory whether it is leased or owned
A part of inventory should also include maintenance activities to track usage over time
Classify every supply stock according to its:
I. Unique identification number
II. Manufacturer of the equipment
III. Model and serial number
IV. Precise description
V. Location/storage of the item (in case of fixed locations)
VI. Department which owns the medical equipment
B. Evaluation of medical supplies
After having listed down critical information on medical supplies, the next step is to understand how each item can be utilized. One way to do so is to understand and evaluate the functions of hospital equipment by:
Laying down the basic rules for clinical application
Establishing the preventative maintenance requirements and expected lifespan
Estimating the likelihood of equipment failure
Checking its compatibility with other equipment installed
C. Safety testing
Regular equipment inspection is an essential part of any medical inventory program. Doing so is critical for patient and staff safety. All healthcare centers can implement a basic testing phase for all inventory items:
Critical equipment like life support and emergency supplies should be tested on a semi-annual basis
Common use supplies like blood pressure monitors and heat therapy units should be tested on an annual basis
Low-risk supplies like a patient scale should be visually tested on an annual basis
Hospitals should ensure that only qualified personnel inspect, test and run maintenance for the supplies. A better option is to outsource the services of biomedical technicians for assistance.
D. Staff training
A vital part of medical inventory management is to train staff on how to use different types of hospital tools and devices. Generally, nurses and staff members should be able to report a piece of dysfunctional inventory. In addition to this, it is important to incorporate the use, calibration, and cleanup of hospital supplies in a training session as well. Improper handling of a medical device can lead to serious repercussions for the healthcare center.
How does medical inventory software help hospitals?
The majority of healthcare centers struggle with medical supply management. After laying down the basic principles to govern inventory movements, the next step is to develop a centralized database to control it all. For this purpose, hospitals resort to inventory software programs for managing medical supplies. Choosing the right type of software can help a medical organization in the following ways:
1. Saving time through automation
Most of the times, hospitals function in a fast-paced environment and deal with emergency situations. Under such circumstances, the administration can’t forgo the time spent in gathering spreadsheets or following online trails.
Inventory software enables you to speed up the checkout process by tagging all supplies with a unique barcode. This way, the staff can maintain a reliable database and improve processing times. A seamless supply management system lets doctors swift through bottlenecks and eventually, focus on what actually is important – the patients!
2. Improving equipment reliability
All kinds of hospital supplies need to be readily available to serve their function at all times. To ensure this, medical institutions opt for an automated inventory program. This helps biomedical engineers’ structure maintenance and repairs to lower risks of unwanted breakdowns. Regularly serviced equipment increases safety and quality control in hospitals.
3. Compliance with regulations
The medical industry has some strict rules and guidelines which have to be followed. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties and have legal implications. For this purpose, hospitals opt for software which helps them gather accurate inventory information. Having reliable data at hand enables healthcare centers to cross-check any irregularities.
4. Disposal of expired medical supplies
Asset lifecycle management is extremely critical when it comes to medicines and drugs. Mostly because supplying expired items can not only hurt patients but also damage an institution’s credibility. To prevent such mishaps, hospitals run automated depreciation processes. Through these, staff members can track the entire useful life of an asset. Doing so enables pharmacists to monitor and dispose of any expired drugs in a timely manner.
5. Planning for stock replenishment
Due to increasing patient admissions, it is common to run out of high demand supplies. Medical inventory software can help identify spare parts and consumables necessary to keep machines running. This information enables staff members to alert the vendors to avoid an outage. Mainly, the software offers to calculate a usage rate and establish a reorder level that is sufficient to maintain undisrupted services.
Choosing a suitable software for running hospital operations is just the first step. Next, you have to develop strategies to control asset utilization. Healthcare centers can do this by following ten simple steps to implement robust inventory tracking:
I. Establish procurement cycles: Start off by finding out what level of stock supply is needed to sustain clinical operations. One way to do this for best labor productivity results is to calculate replenishment frequencies for inventory in each area. Apart from this, it also helps to check whether supplies are being restocked more than required. A common practice is to reduce frequencies by resetting the stock levels. This has allowed hospitals to improve labor productivity. Mainly, hospitals should aim to create visibility to determine demand across the organization.
II. Customize according to the workflow: For a successful management policy, biomedical technicians should understand different clinical processes in an area. One strategy cannot fit multiple operations. To cater to numerous types of clinical operations, redesign policies to eliminate redundant steps. A streamlined assembly line lets you ensure optimal supply quantities at all times.
Let’s take a look at the example of the Emergency Department. Here a quick delivery system with fast retrieval is needed. So, the key is to customize supply management according to the workflows.
III. Standardize medical kits: For a hospital to function smoothly, it is important to lay down some quality control principles. When it comes to tagging supplies, technicians should establish a uniform strategy to be followed throughout the healthcare center. For instance, you can either use the locations’, manufacturers’ codes or serial numbers to label your supplies. Working along with this rule, you can easily check out medical kits in cases of emergency. Also, including a guidebook is a good way to help first time users understand the label system.
IV. Determine inventory cycles: All medical supplies have a fixed lifespan and have to be disposed of eventually. But how do healthcare technicians determine the best time to replace old stock? One way to go about this is to record service histories. This data can then be assessed to find out how long a particular supply stock can last. Apart from this, usage history can also help you to figure out what items are cost-effective, currently relevant or safe to use.
By gaining insights into inventory cycles, hospitals can establish disposal and replacement policies.
V. Plan for disaster management: Hospitals should be equipped at all times to tackle any type of emergency situations. Laid down by the World Health Organization, medical centers should have access to therapeutic doses in case a spread of infection. Similarly, when dealing with viral diseases, special care should be taken to maintain cleanliness and dispose of any used instruments. Special attention should be paid to life support and anesthesia supplies as well.
VI. Protect your medical supplies: Medicines and supplies like gauze and surgical tubes should be stored in the correct manner to prevent premature expiration or damage. Most manufacturers of soft medical supplies send items in shipping boxes. Flimsy storage spaces can lead to breakage and even cause contamination of dangerous substances. One way to avoid this is to opt for fragile-labeled, durable, see-through containers. Not only will the supplies stay safe, but they are also easily accessible as well.
VII. Inspect new orders: It is extremely important to check medical supplies as soon as you receive them. Otherwise, you may find out that a piece of equipment is damaged or of poor quality when it needs to be used. By then, it might be too late to ask for a replacement. A good practice is to inspect all spare parts, accessories, manufacturers manual and warranty for all new supplies.
VIII. Design maintenance checklists: The key to keeping all medical supplies and appliances in working condition is to schedule regular maintenance. Start off by preparing a checklist with clear instructions for each piece of equipment. Next, designate responsibilities and set up a system to report defects. Always remember, it is better to consult a specialist for service and repairs. To do so, you can identify authorized technicians for periodic maintenance sessions.
IX. Disinfect medical instruments: Healthcare centers should pay special attention to the sterilization of supplies. A few important things to keep in mind:
Always sterilize for the correct amount of time. Commonly recommended combinations are 121 degrees for 15 minutes and 134 degrees for 3 minutes
Never sterilize single-use items. Doing so ends up damaging them
Carry out sterilization on the day of use, as it is difficult to keep the equipment sterile for a long time
X. Simplify the inventory system: Complex procedures can pile up and make the management process overly tedious. To avoid such occurrences, take out some time to create a simple and user-friendly supply control process. A digital inventory system stores all information on a single platform. This improves collaboration and boosts performance in hospitals.
The key to operational efficacy at the healthcare organizations is to develop a robust medical supply management system. This can be done by understanding the challenges of inventory. To tackle these issues, biomedical technicians can establish a few basic principles to control and monitor equipment utilization. The best way to do so is to adopt an automated system to track inventory.
Opting for a software improves data accuracy by eliminating manual labor and risks involved with human errors. But most importantly, a cloud-based system enables medical institutions to analyze performance. By running inventory reports, staff members can gain insights into which policies are bearing positive outcomes.
EZOfficeInventory is the leading medical inventory software that makes managing medical supplies a breeze! You can also track all your machines, conduct audits, ensure compliance, and manage staff users so your equipment is always in top shape and inventory always in optimum level!
The Basics: What is site inspection and why is it important?
When it comes to planning events, a site inspection is perhaps the most crucial aspect event planners need to consider. Finalizing a venue may sound like a no-brainer to you at first. However, it encompasses a lot of other important tasks under it. Event planners need to put in a lot of effort before they head out to the location.
Event planners need to talk to their vendors and ask in-depth questions whilst catering to customer requests to get everything right for the event. Thus, having a site inspection checklist in hand helps expedite the process and ensure accuracy.
So, what is the checklist?
In simpler terms, a site inspection checklist is a planning instrument that helps event planners finalize a site for their next business event.
Examining a prospective venue in person helps you discover the benefits and limitations of a place better. You can make more informed decisions so the rest of the planning goes smoothly.
An exhaustive checklist also lets you keep tabs on the minutest of details, removing all possible kinks from the process. Moreover, companies update these lists as the need arises and also use them to help familiarize new hires with their duties.
Getting started with site inspection: Key aspects to consider
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected the event planning industry to grow by 11% in the US. This suggests that more and more players are set to vie for the top spot. For this reason, you need to choose your battles wisely.
In such circumstances, it greatly helps to keep up with the latest marketing trends.
One way to do this is to follow a site inspection checklist that may give you an edge over your competitors by helping you make faster decisions.
Here are a couple of aspects you must consider before you get on with drafting a site inspection checklist.
Although it is ideal to start planning early, it isn’t always practical to rely on the initial arrangements you made.
Event venues often need last minute adjustments so it’s always a good idea to visit the venue a day before the actual event happens.
Decide on an adequate time that you need for adjustments based on your team collaboration efforts and vendor response rate.
2. Inspection fees
Event planners typically contact sales representatives at a property to schedule a time for the site inspection. After this, convention service managers conduct on-site tours.
Convention service managers ensure that the site has adequate provisions for food, housekeeping, and security. Most of the times, you can get a free on-site inspection done. However, this isn’t always the case.
In such circumstances, it’s a good idea to call the property personnel and ask for the concerned fee prior to inspection. This saves you planning time later and even gives you an idea of how you should chalk out your budget.
3. External reviews
When visiting a venue, event planners must be clear on what they want from a location and whether it meets their criteria.
The first tour is generally to shortlist or cancel out a location from your list of potential venues. However, sometimes a visual site inspection may not reveal the whole story to you.
In such a case, it always helps to gather and glean over external reviews from previous clients of a location.
How does one prepare for a successful site inspection
A site inspection checklist comes in handy when you’re at the venue, but is it all that you need? Certainly not.
To thoroughly conduct a site inspection, you must prepare beforehand and consider some important aspects while you’re at it.
This may seem a little too overwhelming but it drastically helps in the long run and saves you the ordeal of conflicts later.
Here is how to go about it:
Research it all: Make it a point to survey all possible nearby options and get detailed information about them. You can even go for virtual tours or client testimonials to shortlist sites for physical inspection.
Get feedback: After the inspection, gather your team to discuss their individual feedback. This is important as you can incorporate any useful recommendations or requests while finalizing a deal.
Give out business cards: You can use these for both networking purposes and purchase decision-making. Giving a business card to a site sales representative means you can easily contact them later if a second site tour isn’t possible.
Get the right tools in hand: While going for an on-site inspection, make sure you have a good camera or a smartphone to take pictures of the venue. This helps when you carry out the feedback session with your team. Go over the relevant pictures and discuss where a venue needs improvement.
Inspect designated areas: It does not help to squander your time inspecting the whole site, especially in cases of large venues. You can pick designated areas you want to examine and communicate these to the sales representative. If you label these areas as ‘must see’ locations, it can further steer clear any confusion between you and the vendor.
Compiling a site inspection checklist
When it comes to compiling a site inspection checklist, event planners should take stock of several factors. These range from basic information to detailed logistics and IT tasks.
An extensive checklist enables planning and production teams to avoid last minute layout changes. It also saves you from unanticipated costs. Here’s what to include in an ideal site inspection checklist:
1. Basic information
Finalized inspection date
Name of the location
Type of the location e.g. marquee, pier, etc.
Site manager’s contact information
Availability duration of the venue
2. Site specifics
Ratings and reviews
Any potential instance of construction activities on-site
Compliance with health and safety regulations
Added costs like taxes or hidden fees
The amount and due date of advance deposits
Architecture and decor
3. Event logistics
Distance between the central metropolitan locations to the venue
Applicable parking fees
Availability and capacity of meeting spaces like conference rooms
Accessibility of entrance and exit pathways
Recreational services for guests
Acceptable payment methods at the venue e.g. nearby ATMs
Designated registration areas
Conflicting events going on in a nearby vicinity
Permission for getting the venue branded for your event
WiFi usage policy
4. Food and beverage
You must also consider the estimated cost, quality, and type of the following:
Coffee, tea or cold beverages
Any discount or special packages
5. Prepare your own site ratings (1 being the lowest and 5 the highest)
6. Audio Visual
List of vendor-provided AV items
Quality of available equipment
AV availability in conference rooms
On-site AV support on the day of the event
Rent rates, if applicable, for IT/AV equipment
7. Additional checklist for conference rooms
Set up/branding charges
Nearby elevators and entrances/exits
What else to look for?
Once you are ready with a thorough site inspection checklist, you should ask your site vendors a few questions to ensure the smooth running of an event.
Here are five questions that’ll prove useful in this regard:
1. What is the legal seating capacity?
Apart from private homes, most venues come with a specified legal occupancy limit. Having an idea about this enables you to tweak your guest list beforehand and sidestep any last minute cancellations.
This proves even more helpful when ticket sales are involved. With a fixed capacity in mind, you can save up on printing and ordering costs of branded merchandise.
2. Which permits are required for the event?
Whether it is closing down the normal venue activities for a day or building a temporary structure inside, vendor approval is a must.
It is always a good practice to find out what the requisite preliminary arrangements are in such a case. You can even contact the site manager and ask about the concerned permit procedure.
This way, you generally get an idea of where to get the permits from and how much would they cost.
3. Are the vendors suitable for your event?
Apart from examining the location itself, you must also ensure that the vendors are reliable to avoid future conflicts. It helps to read reviews and see how other planners rate them.
The right vendor can even be consulted for lighting, catering and backdrop recommendations. You can benefit from their experiences and glean insightful tips to make your event more stellar.
Cooperative and friendly vendors may even offer you good discounts, give free food samples, and make adjustments as you request.
4. Will you have access to a storage area?
While finalizing a location, event planners often forget that the production and planning crew may need a place to store their equipment.
In the best-case scenario, you should have a small storage area available next to the main site to hoard all the items relevant to your event. If such a space isn’t available, then think about how you can get a stockroom set up without affecting the whole layout.
5. How late can events run?
Even if an event has a fixed time duration, there may be instances when it has to run until late. This may bleed from power outages or delays.
To account for such a situation, an event planner must confirm until how late they can run their events and whether they’d be charged for it.
Event planning 101: The Do’s and Don’ts
We’re not out of the woods just yet. When it comes to the last stage of planning an event, an event planner should keep a couple of universal guidelines in mind.
The whole “planning” thing can get a little hectic so here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you stay in line with best practices.
Plan early: Give yourself ample time to plan before the actual event happens to get everything right to the T. It also means that you can get the right people to attend the event by sending out invitations early.
Have a backup ready: You can never be certain about anything as an event planner. The speaker can malfunction at the last minute, it can rain or the AV equipment may fail to connect. To tackle such unexpected situations, it always helps to have a backup ready. The best way is to do a test run prior to the event so you can arrange alternatives early on.
Stay within your budget: The list of event planning expenses is rather long and includes venue costs, food, and sometimes even hotel rooms. Every team has a budget and not sticking to it could mean low ROI for your company. For this reason, keep the specified budget in mind before you make any choices and set some money aside for last minute expenses.
Cut corners: While budget is extremely important, you cannot compromise on quality. Try to optimize quality whilst cutting down on costs and don’t rely on items with substandard quality.
Skip the site visit: Some event planners opt for virtual walk-ins through 3D management tools. This may save you time but an actual site visit is the only way to determine whether a venue can deliver to your needs.
Forget to make a site inspection plan: This mistake can prove far more detrimental than most event planners realize. Without a unanimously agreed-on site inspection plan, there are higher chances of last-minute issues, delays and budget deficits.
Good event planners keep their stakeholders on-board
Running a comprehensive site inspection is key to picking the right location and managing your event successfully. You must ensure that you’re using the information you have collected in the right way.
For this, you should get your entire team on-board. Give them regular updates of your site inspection findings and keep collecting their feedback.
Furthermore, schedule internal meetings with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page. These may include your clients, site sales representatives, decor and power vendors etcetera. This also helps you to incorporate suggestions from all the key decision makers.
Keeping your team on-board and lending an ear to their opinions ensures every stakeholder is satisfied. This also ensures that your event runs as seamlessly as possible.
EZOfficeInventory is the leading event equipment management software. With it, you can track and scan event assets over different locations, and generate reports for better insight. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!
Data collected by the American Hospital Association shows a total of 5534 registered hospitals incurring approximately $991 billion in expenses. At present, medical institutions are facing an increased inflow of patients due to a sharp rise in the number of people suffering from long-term illnesses.
Without a robust management program to manage the scores of devices and machines, hospitals are unlikely to efficiently deal with this influx. Such circumstances put pressure on the healthcare sector and give rise to a number of challenges:
Financial incompetence: Apart from securing adequate funds for equipment, a large number of hospitals also struggle to provide Medicaid reimbursement. Bad debt and increasing costs of staff and supplies put a huge strain on the majority of healthcare centers as well.
Government mandates: Like every other industry, the medical industry also goes through a lot of changing government regulations. Compliance is absolutely necessary, without which hospitals will not be allowed to operate.
Access to technology: The coming years are expected to see much more automation in daily tasks for hospitals. The inability of the staff to keep up with this trend is likely to have negative consequences for the quality of care provided.
Patient safety and care quality: By deploying the best available services, hospitals should be able to maintain the quality and standard of healthcare provided. It is critical that the environment should be safe from medical hazards at all times.
These were some of the hurdles listed down by various hospital CEOs in a survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives. The table below shows the percentage of the medical community facing these challenges between 2015 to 2017.
A number of asset tracking solutions have been endorsed by hospitals to boost performance, save money and improve the quality of care provided.
RFID technology is becoming quite popular for running daily operations to optimize resource allocation. Here are the seven most common procedures medical centers carry out using RFID hospital asset tracking solution:
1. Tracking medicine and pharmaceuticals for authentication
Hospitals have an endless supply of medicines that need to be manually counted and entered into the database. Such activities take up a lot of time and have a high chance of human error in documentation.
The use of RFID tags can streamline this process by enabling staff members to automate inventory counts. Labels on hospital drugs can be read by handheld scanners to immediately update supply accounts.
In addition to this, one of the biggest concerns for healthcare institutions is the authentication of the drugs used. Due to the high rate of counterfeit medication being produced, hospitals have to be extra cautious regarding this. Use RFID tags to check medicine authenticity!
2. Recording patient data to improve accuracy
Patient history tracking is vital for providing diligent healthcare. This data enables doctors to create prescription lists and to provide the required care. For this purpose, hospitals can use RFID wristbands encrypted with patient data to trace past medical records.
Doing this comes in extremely handy when dealing with patients who have been admitted for a long time. Critical details like allergies can be noted down and accessed through the RFID wristbands in emergency situations.
3. Scheduling sterilization for surgical tools
Most surgical equipment is used on a daily basis and needs to be sterilized quite often. Failure to do so can lead to the spread of bacteria and infection in patients as well as the hospital staff.
To set up a maintenance routine for all your medical tools, you need to develop a mechanism to streamline tool upkeep. This is where an RFID hospital asset tracking solution comes in. Once you decide to label all your tools with RFID tags, you will be able to track when repair sessions need to be scheduled.
You can also diligently update tool records with RFID tags attached to the equipment being sent in for sterilization. Specific labels allow you to follow through the individual care instructions as listed down by the manufacturer as well.
4. Managing procurement for inventory items
Hospital inventory comprises of long term goods and disposable goods. Both require different procurement strategies to be replenished on time. In order to cater to this, RFID hospital asset tracking techniques let you define inventory modules.
By using the labels on the back of your goods, you can set up a minimum threshold level to avoid facing shortages. Every time this limit is reached, automatic purchase orders will be created.
Even though RFID tags prove to be cost-effective for durable goods, disposable items present a different case. To monitor goods like gauze, gloves and plastic vials, RFID inlays can be used. These are peel-and-stick solutions that are easy on the budget but also reliable.
No means of tracking assets makes asset misplacement quite common in hospitals. This even includes large equipment like stretchers. If not dealt with in the right manner, replacement costs can put a huge burden on hospital finances.
Some assets are made to order and not readily available, which makes renewal more difficult. Deploying an RFID system is an easy way to keep track of such tools within the hospital premises. A real-time location system lets you allocate areas and helps supervise tagged equipment at all times.
6. Implementing security through user tags
Not all areas in a hospital are allowed to be accessed by staff and patients. Unauthorized personnel gaining entry into restricted areas can lead to a greater risk of asset loss or damage.
In order to prevent such malpractices, healthcare centers design security systems to check IDs. This ID is RFID-enabled and simply has to be swiped against door readers to enter. In this way, only selected doctors and staff workers can gain access to limited areas.
Such a system prevents patients from coming in contact with drugs and equipment which should not be used without supervision or authorization.
7. Checking out multiple tools for daily operations
Sometimes, organizations run workflows that require a similar set of tools for execution. Instead of wasting time checking out these similar tools repeatedly, staff members can create task-specific toolkits.
This is useful for doctors who deal with numerous patients suffering from the same ailment every day. RFID hospital asset tracking solutions allow you to take mass actions and check out multiple equipment at once.
Doing this not only cuts down on time but also lets you carry out all operations in an organized manner, especially in emergency cases at the hospital.
Efficient asset management made easy with RFID Hospital Asset Tracking Solution
RFID asset tracking allows hospitals to record accurate data about daily work operations. Such information can be analyzed to trend and benchmark your healthcare services.
Asset performance can be examined through maintenance and procurement cycles which let you trace the current consumption patterns. These can then be used to generate reports to forecast future demands as well.
When you have all these stats listed down, it will be easier to set and reach yearly goals and objectives. Such benchmarks allow you to raise overall hospital efficiency and productivity levels to gain higher revenues.
Access to reliable equipment data makes it possible for healthcare centers to meet government mandates and compliance regulations as well.
EZOfficeInventory is the leading RFID hospital asset tracking solution. It allows you to track, maintain and report on equipment from anywhere, at any time. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!
Assessing the role of fixed assets in an organization
Categorized as long-term tangible property, fixed business assets are mainly used to generate income. Along with this, such assets and equipment can be used for the production or supply of goods and services or even rental to third-party organizations. Following this description, fixed assets are typically reported in the balance sheet under property, plant, and even equipment. Let’s just briefly go over how these assets are utilized for business operations.
To start off, the purchase of an asset represents cash outflow for the organization. And if the value of a particular fixed resource falls below its net value, then that asset is subjected to an impairment write-down. Moving on, once tools reach the end of their lifetime, they can be disposed of by selling them at their salvage value. On the other hand, if the assets become obsolete, then they have to be disposed of without receiving any payment in return.
Once you learn to treat fixed business assets in the correct manner, you will start to realize why it’s important to do so. First, data about your corporation’s assets enables you to generate accurate financial reports, business valuation, and thorough analysis. These documents act as credibility proof for investors and help them to decide whether to lend money to the organization or not. All this is particularly critical for capital-intensive firms which require large investments in property, plant, and equipment.
Why should you implement an automated solution for fixed business assets?
The majority of organizations struggle when choosing the right type of asset management system. Due to high operational efficiency, cloud-based programs remain popular amongst both small and medium businesses. Opting for a management software lets you avail the following benefits:
Improved security: Companies face aggressive scrutiny from regulatory bodies and government agencies. To maintain credibility, firms should be able to provide transparent financial records. Asset management software enables you to store and track data easily. This enables users to mitigate the likelihood of human error. This way you have an accurate depiction of available resources and their financial value for compliance regulations.
Streamlined budgeting: When it comes to dealing with fixed business assets, there are huge finances involved. For this reason, extra care should be taken to prepare the budgets, track rate of returns and costs. By defining certain asset traits like depreciation rates, users can estimate equipment lifespans. Having accurate insights prevents firms from overstocking and tying up resources unnecessarily.
Centralized platform: Fixed asset management software serves as a centralized platform to record all asset updates. With a single database, all users can instantly view tool activities and monitor them simultaneously. Such practices improve collaboration and initiate constructive communication between the teams. Moreover, a reliable information system eliminates the need for multiple programs to overlook different assets.
Using a cloud based system to best manage your fixed assets
Asset management software offers various capabilities for an organization. Its multifaceted nature makes it a popular tool in achieving the desired asset outcome levels. Since fixed business assets are vital to both daily operations and long-term goals, their maintenance and reliability should be a top priority.
So, how exactly does a cloud based software help you fulfill all these functions? Here are some features which prove that cloud based fixed asset system is a good investment:
A. Lifecycle management
Fixed resources owned by a company are the assets used for long-term like buildings, furniture and fixtures. Such assets require constant monitoring to ensure they remain in optimum condition at all times. To do so, fixed management software enables you to track each and every asset from the moment of its procurement to disposal. This process is made simple with the help of barcodes which let you monitor activities and record real-time data.
Detailed insights into the asset lifecycle enable you to identify potential issues and schedule items for maintenance in due time. Lifecycle management can be further broken down into:
To maintain seamless daily functions, it is critical for companies to ensure there is an undisrupted supply of goods. But the key here is to gain a balance between overstocking and understocking. This is essentially important for fixed assets as they require hefty funds and extensive budgeting. For this purpose, a cloud-based system lets you utilize inventory modules and automate the entire process.
You can start by documenting usage history which gives an estimate of how long before a certain product needs a replacement. Then consequently, by following this rule you can set minimum threshold levels. Once this limit is reached, purchase orders will be automatically created. To carry out all this procedure, the following metrics are tracked by the software:
Stock level indicators
C. Preventive maintenance
Robust maintenance is about making sure all assets function properly and have a prolonged lifespan. This is extremely important for seamless business operations. But where do you start? The answer is to invest in a software program for asset management. Such a system comes equipped with features which lets you schedule preventive maintenance as soon as new stock is procured. Along with this, you can also define recurring service sessions to ensure none of the equipment gets missed out on. Such a practice is quite beneficial for fixed business assets as they are long term investments which need frequent repair and maintenance with time.
For maximizing the value of assets, the software records the following aspects:
Regulatory compliance management
Warranties and licenses
Third party integrations
By reinvigorating fixed asset management, organizations can hope to achieve their yearly goals in an effective manner. However, this needs constant commitment, feedback and most importantly, constructive analysis. To maintain consistency, the majority of firms opt for a cloud-based management system. Such software offers excellent features to track asset activities and optimize utilization. These mainly include lifecycle and inventory management and preventive maintenance.
In addition to the above, fixed asset tracking software enables you to access the app on-the-go and integrate with third-party solutions. Now, this comes in extremely handy while dealing with off-site business projects. Here the users simply can update information using their smartphones and keep everyone in the loop. This way no critical data gets missed out on.
And lastly, third-party integrations enable companies to merge data from multiple forums to generate insightful performance reports. This gives companies a chance to closely overview progress and seek potential areas for improvement. Data analytics boost the rate of return on investment (ROI) and help prolong asset lifespan as well.
EZOfficeInventory is the leading fixed asset tracking software. It enables you to track the depreciation, location and maintenance status of your fixed assets along with offering many other intuitive features. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!
A successful asset inventory management system (AIMS) relates to the process of tracking the movement of items, i.e. IT equipment or other devices within an organization – from one location to the other. The system that is used for this type of tracking involves a unique barcode identifier which makes the process more efficient and results are more reliable.
For a better understanding, let’s take a look at some key functions of AIMS:
Centralizing asset repository
Efficient tracking and record keeping
Reduce the labor requirement for AIM
Tracking assets throughout their lifecycle
Discovering any possibility for threats or changes to the assets in advance
Therefore, through the use of this system, i.e. monitoring of assets, the evidence is provided to the organization that can be useful in making decisions ahead of time. You can also schedule regular maintenance of assets. This is because not only are the assets tracked but their age is also fully defined as to how much value they bring in to the organization.
If you are looking to implement a robust inventory tracking system, here are some areas to focus on:
Top 5 Benefits of Asset inventory management system
1. Saving procedural costs
An inventory management system involves a centralized asset repository. This means that because of the software involved in the AIM process, acquiring, sourcing and purchasing activities can be carried out on a central database. This further leads to record-keeping as well as efficient utilization of the data. Thus, costs will be lowered after the initial investment and managers will be able to coordinate activities efficiently.
In addition to the above, companies can save up by using barcode scanners and asset tags, which are a one-time investment. Ultimately firms end up reducing administrative costs when less manpower is required.
2. Tracking and recovering of assets
Another benefit of the inventory tracking strategy is that it keeps a tab on the location of assets. This helps in:
i) Quantifying the data and ensuring how much of assets are available on hand
ii) Whether valuable assets are being fully utilized or not
iii) Tracking these assets in case they are not present at the location they are meant to be.
All this can be easily monitored by using the management software. Therefore, it saves extra costs for manual labor and time involved in tracking delays in different procedures.
3. Increasing productivity and minimizing labor
Through the use of asset inventory management, business processes are controlled and inventories are tracked through the app. This enables you to minimize chances of human error as tags are read through scanners.
As an alternative to manual documentation, automated data entry results in accurate asset information. Not only does it increase efficiency but it also raises the productivity of labor. Automation enables staff members to focus on important tasks instead of tracking inventory manually.
4. Recording real-time data on asset lifecycle for accurate asset value
As the software lets you record all vital activities involving the asset, including the lifecycle of various tools and equipment.
Just as an asset is tracked, the scanner updates the system on the stage of lifecycle the asset is at, how regularly is it being used, i.e. how much value it holds and how quickly will it deteriorate. This information can only be important for an organization if it is updated regularly so that it is correct and thus useful.
Easy access to updated data enables the organization to anticipate about a product that is losing value and stop investing in it. Therefore, a good management system not only tracks the assets but also monitors devaluations of assets. Doing so makes it easier for the organization to make plans about replacing them.
5. Maintenaning assets become easier
By making use of reliable management software, organizations will be able to maintain optimal stock levels. How can this be done? The multi-feature software enables you to track maintenance at different intervals. This means, that through the AIM system, alerts can be sent when an asset is set to be upgraded or needs to be maintained. These alerts can be set by following previous data that has been collected on the performance of the assets, thus making it easier for the management team to keep the assets up to date.
What does the future have in store for Asset Inventory Management System?
A successful asset management strategy can help in finding and tracking assets spread across the globe. Due to the rapid evolution of the cloud, several organizations have started opting for this system
Not only this but companies these days have shifted their attention towards streaming analytics. While this is not entirely a new concept as it has gained popularity in the world of inventory management. This is because of the increased access to real-time data which helps to track asset movements at all times. By making use of this insightful information, organizations aim to constantly calculate statistical analytics along the workflow.
And lastly, the future tends to amplify the need for proactive decision making. More simply put, this means business forecasting. In our context, companies should develop usage history records and follow up on stock consumption. Doing so helps in establishing a seamless asset and inventory flow.
EZOfficeInventory is the leading asset tracking software that makes maintaining assets and managing inventory a breeze! You can also track all your machines, conduct audits, ensure compliance, and manage staff users so productivity at work is always accounted for!
Whichever sector it operates in, a business must follow adequate equipment inventory management practices. Lack of proper inventory management can bleed into unexpected outages and project delays.
Adding to this, you cannot run the risk of using faulty or hazardous equipment at a project site. It can cause injuries and slow down your daily operations even further.
Halted workflows are both costly and time-consuming. They not only strain your financial and human resources but also slow down customer delivery. This results in a tarnished brand image.
Therefore, it is important to avoid such roadblocks in your daily operations by keeping a check on your equipment inventory levels. A well-grounded equipment inventory management strategy is key to ensuring that your business runs without a hitch.
Here are a couple of challenges your business may have to contend with if you do not invest in a robust equipment inventory management system.
1. Expired equipment warranty
Whenever you purchase a new piece of equipment, you typically get a warranty agreement from the manufacturer as well. This specifies a duration during which you can get your tools inspected and fixed or replaced free of cost.
Without an inventory system to keep tabs on equipment warranties, you may have to pay extra maintenance charges after the warranty expires. An inadequate inspection routine often requires you to dispose of the equipment prematurely too.
2. Accumulation of dead stock
Deadstock refers to items that businesses store but no longer use. Without proper equipment inventory management in place, businesses tend to hoard lots of dead stock.
It simply ties up your financial resources and takes up unnecessary storage space, without adding any value to sales.
3. Lack of standardization
Tools that carry out a similar function or have similar properties call for a standardized management procedure. Doing so lets you understand how each tool works and how you can get the best out of it.
An absence of accurate inventory records means you are unfamiliar with assets that have identical properties. Classification of assets becomes hard and businesses struggle with devising standardized management strategies.
What are the basics of a good equipment inventory management strategy?
For a successful equipment inventory management, organizations should take stock of some key tracking routines. These generally vary across industries.
However, you can even customize them based on your company’s workflows and management needs.
Let’s take a look at some universal equipment management practices that help maximize productivity levels.
1. Barcode tracking
The fastest, simplest and most widely used equipment management system is that of barcode tracking. It involves developing a unique identification number for each piece of equipment.
You can then read these codes using a handheld scanner or a smartphone device to track asset utilization. For standardization purposes, businesses often generate barcodes in line with the Universal Product Codes (UPCs).
UPCs are affixed to a product by the manufacturer. UPCs are different from Stock Keeping Units (SKUs). They refer to identification numbers assigned by a business for internal tracking or stock keeping.
Therefore, barcodes for two identical products can have the same UPC but different SKUs.
2. Location management
Equipment and tools tend to change locations quite often. They are likely to get misplaced if not monitored properly. Thus, it is crucial to keep tabs on asset movements.
Most businesses manage their equipment inventory by location tracking. GPS tags help a great deal in this regard. They notify you when an asset is checked into or out of a location.
You can even streamline your warehousing with location management. You can assign IDs to each warehouse and nest sub-locations such as aisles and shelves under each warehouse to make the process more precise.
This makes it easier to locate equipment and spot check for theft if it ever goes missing.
3. Quality control
Most businesses use equipment inventory management to ensure compliance with regulatory standards too. A rock solid inventory system lets you schedule inspection routines and service sessions.
This cuts down on instances of unforeseeable equipment breakdown. By keeping the performance of your equipment under constant scrutiny, you ensure quality control.
Regular servicing also keeps equipment safety concerns at bay.
How to run effective equipment inventory management
A dedicated inventory management strategy means your stock levels are updated at all times. You have access to real-time inventory information and can make sales decisions accordingly.
However, it is important to devise your equipment inventory management strategy in a way that brings you the maximum return.
Here are some best practices you can follow to get the most bang for your buck invested in an inventory tracking system.
1. Maintain a consolidated asset database
With a robust equipment inventory management system in place, you can log crucial data regarding all your equipment. Inventory software, if paired with a barcode tracking solution, lets you clock in asset details with a single barcode scan.
The system houses all relevant equipment details in a cloud database that you can access from anywhere, at anytime. You can monitor any updates in the status, usage and location of equipment in real time.
An exhaustive asset database also helps flag any ghost assets by tracking utilization patterns over the years.
2. Track equipment utilization
Once you have an exhaustive list of all your assets, you need to keep an eye on utilization of your equipment. It helps greatly with procurement decisions. A rule of thumb is to procure more of what you use more.
You can even glean over insights regarding which departments use which tools the most. This helps iron out the asset checkout process. You can group together equipment that is specific for use by a department and check it out in bulk.
Equipment utilization patterns zero in on assets that bring you the highest returns so you can continuously invest to increase your ROIs.
3. Automate procurement cycles
Planning out an inventory purchase routine can get quite hectic. With their hands almost full, it is possible for managers to lose track of declining stock levels.
To make things simpler, you can automate procurement cycles using an equipment management system. You can set minimum threshold levels for each of your equipment.
Whenever your stock reaches this threshold, the system automatically generates Purchase Orders. It notifies the vendors and replenishes your stock before you run out of it.
This practice also prevents overstocking and saves you exorbitant storage costs. This type of strategic sourcing also comes in handy when it comes to managing perishable or delicate, high ticket goods.
4. Schedule maintenance events
Organizations that house a wide array of equipment inventory must take stock of regular maintenance. Storing obsolete and faulty equipment does absolutely no good and adds no value to your business.
Thus, you must ensure that the inventory management system schedules all your assets for periodic repairs. Most inventory systems come saddled with a Maintenance module.
This module lets you initiate recurring services and service triage as well. This way whenever an asset is checked in after use, the system first checks it out for service.
Hence, this practice guarantees that all assets used by your employees are in top shape. Timely maintenance truncates replacement and repair costs. It also helps improve productivity levels.
A dedicated equipment inventory management system helps devise risk management strategies
When used the right way, inventory software lets you automate business tasks and offers access to vital asset information.
You can even utilize equipment inventory management software to run performance reports for your business. Reports give you a bird’s eye view of your operations.
They also highlight threatening instances where your equipment is performing low. This way you can devise risk management strategies and protect your business before it takes a dip.
Get a thorough understanding of your supply chain with equipment inventory management and do away with unforeseen setbacks.
EZOfficeInventory is the leading equipment inventory management system. It allows you to track, maintain and report on equipment from anywhere, at any time. We offer a free 15-day trial – no credit card required!
Running a business does not mean you’re always sailing over smooth corporate terrain. Whichever sector your company operates in, it is bound to face some sort of challenges when it comes to carrying out daily business tasks.
One way to steer clear of such inevitable hurdles is to implement a dedicated issue tracking system. As the name suggests, “issue tracking” refers to identifying, documenting and resolving various issues that arise over the course of a business’s projects.
These issues include not only technical glitches but also minor defects that crop up in a business’s assets. An issue tracking system solves all your problems in a jiffy; whether they pertain to a software bug or a server upgrade.
If you record your business challenges in the correct manner on the correct platform, you can easily get done with them. This also ensures that you complete your daily operations in time.
Issue tracking is a broad terminology. It encompasses a spectrum of activities under it. In fact, people often confuse it with bug tracking. So to make it easy for you to grasp, we’ll highlight some differences between the two.
Bug tracking typically contends with tracing down bugs after the coding phase is over. These bugs are not only limited to codes but may also exist in product design or specifications.
Help desk or service desk systems, on the other hand, pinpoint issues during all phases of the development and implementation cycles. With quality checks being done at every stage, service desk systems allow you to tackle with defects before they occur.
How does issue tracking work?
Issue tracking may sound like a complicated term at first. But it really is about making a specialized to-do list for your business tasks. It adds an extra layer to your workflow by incorporating a diligent review process, be it your physical assets or software systems.
So instead of having a single completion status, you now have another stage to identify whether all the operations have been adequately reviewed. This practice pulls down chances of errors so they do not slither into the final deployment stage unnoticed.
Issue tracking system allows your staff to request for further investigation as soon as an asset starts showing symptoms of malfunctioning. A key aspect to note here is that of the assigned status of each of the issues; opened versus reopened.
Opened issues have typically been resolved once. Reopened issues, on the contrary, need more than one round of review. They are critical to determining the functionality and useful life of your assets.
For instance, assets associated with numerous reopened tickets depict lower functionality and deteriorating value. You must get rid of such items before you squander any more dollars on repairing them time and time again.
To iron out their issue tracking procedures, most tech-savvy businesses opt for dedicated software solutions. Choosing a suitable issue tracking software system gets half the job done.
You must make sure that the software is not too complex for your business workflow. At the same time, it shouldn’t be extremely simple either, that it’s not able to do much.
However, it is important to take stock of the fact that even the best software can’t help you if it is not used the right way. For issue tracking to play out well, you must first lay down some fundamental goals you want to accomplish using the software.
It also helps to set deadlines so you can get problems reviewed and solved on time.
Key stages of issue tracking for your business
Now that you are familiar with what issue tracking is all about, let’s dive into the various stages involved in issue tracking. Each of these stages can be assigned to different teams.
Nevertheless, the end goal remains the same i.e. to organize your processes better.
A basic approach to issue tracking looks something like this.
1. Capturing data
It is quite common for employees to experience difficulties while operating a piece of equipment. A scanner may not be working due to a broken plug or a hard drive may get corrupted.
When this happens, where do you report all these issues? This is where issue tracking software steps in to save the day. It provides a central database for you to clock in all sorts of bugs, queries and technical issues that shoot up daily.
It gathers functional information of all the pre-recorded assets. This way none of the issues go unnoticed, and you can deal with them in a timely manner.
Once you have data on what the issue is about, you must make a decision on how you go about solving it. It drastically helps to record such decisions for future review purposes.
Doing so allows managers to evaluate whether the right decision was taken, given the available information. It sheds more light on employee performance and how they chose to repair a certain piece of faulty equipment.
Past servicing information aids, even more, when you reopen tickets to solve a recurrent issue. This way, you can modify your service technique as needed.
It is always a smart move to have trained professionals deal with asset issues. Most companies hire IT technicians for issue resolution. Having experts allows business to ensure accountability and authority.
Professionals exercise their expertise during issue resolution and restrict asset usage by other employees. This ensures that no asset data is tampered with while the asset is being fixed.
In case an issue is not rectified in a proper manner, the concerned professional can be traced and held accountable.
Whether you are a small business or a multi-department organization, hundreds of issues come swarming in on a daily basis. Given the time pressed nature of your business, it is often nearly impossible to tackle with all the issues at once.
When this happens, it really helps to prioritize various such instances. You should label problems that need immediate action as “high priority”.
Others that are not so urgent and can be dealt in a few week’s time can be labeled as “low priority”. Issue tracking software makes this process a breeze.
It sorts your issue by their priority status so you can first work on ones that are more urgent.
When you deal with various but similar problems, a documented Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) really helps. You can develop an SOP from previous breakdown instances and implement it whenever a similar situation arises.
This eliminates the need for redundant workflows where you keep digging into the same issue again and again. An issue tracking system keeps tabs on all of your devised SOPs and notifies you which SOP to use under which circumstances.
With a thorough review process in place, you can ensure that all your assets are in top shape. Once an issue has been resolved, you can compare the actual performance of an asset with its expected performance.
If the actual performance lags behind the expected one, then your SOP needs some tweaks for sure and the issue needs to be reopened.
Why does your company need to track issues?
The slightest issue in design, specifications or functionality of an asset can disrupt your entire workflow. For time-sensitive businesses, such challenging scenarios need to be dealt with in time.
Or else businesses run the risk of losing their customers to competing counterparts. This is where you need a rock solid issue tracking software. A dedicated issue tracking system ensures quality control at all stages of your supply chain.
It also truncates unnecessary costs feeding on frequent repairs and lost revenue.
Here are some benefits you can reap a multitude of benefits with an issue tracking software.
1. Prolonged useful life
Trivial maintenance issues, if left unattended, can eventually pile up and take a toll on the useful life of your assets. With issue tracking software in place, you never miss out on such instances.
The software flags up even the slightest of functional problems and they get resolved promptly. This way, you can ensure prolonged useful life of all your assets. Your assets do not drop in value before their disposal time.
2. Higher return on investment
An issue tracking system enables you to prioritize maintenance tasks. This way, you can give due attention to more critical tasks, whereas the smaller insignificant tasks can be scheduled for later.
A hierarchical approach to problem resolution lowers unnecessary repair and development costs. It also improves productivity as you singularly focus on issues that are crucial to running your daily operations.
3. Improved connectivity
Issue tracking software comes saddled with advanced features for easy communication. These include chat interfaces and email notifications that help the concerned team members stay updated.
Instant information across departments reduces the communication gap. When relevant people are informed of an issue, it gets resolved in time. The centralized database of issue tracking software is accessible to all the team.
This lets you spot check for issues without a hitch.
4. Plot defect trends
A key advantage of issue tracking software is that it keeps an exhaustive record of all the issues your assets ever encountered. It also documents who solved an issue and how was it done.
The Reports module of issue tracking software plots defect trends of each of your assets. With revelatory insights on defect trends, you can choose to get rid off the equipment which needs more frequent servicing.
Detailed reports also help you to modify your SOPs if needed.
Bolster performance through third party integrations
Initially, many organizations start off with the most basic management tools to keep things simple. Most businesses still cling onto to spreadsheets to log their list of asset maintenance issues and software bugs.
Although the manual data entry system is easy to teach, its darker side is becoming more and more exposed. Manual data entry is prone to typographical errors and requires more vigilance on your part.
Another problem with working on a static spreadsheet is that you’re working in isolation. Issue tracking software sets a more interactive and flexible atmosphere.
It integrates with many third-party applications so you can collect, sift and analyze data without any development roadblocks. Instant collaboration bleeds into efficient daily operations.
Ideally, a sleek issue tracking system must integrate with other applications, preferably an asset management database. Such integrations allow you to glean over useful insights into the reported defects and rectify them better.
A good example of easy-to-integrate issue tracking systems includes Jira and Zendesk. Both software systems enable users to report issues and extract relevant asset data from the database as needed.
With adequate knowledge of asset specifications and build, you can make the right decision for its issue resolution. When issue tracking software is linked to an asset management system, the reported asset is also checked out for maintenance.
This makes sure that your employees do not use a malfunctioning asset for their daily tasks. In addition to this, easy integration also enables you to group together items with similar issues.
For instance, if a ticket mentions that the ink cartridge in the printer (# 123) needs to be replaced and another printer (# 125) needs the same service done.
You can link the two assets to the same ticket number so both the assets get serviced at the same time. Doing so eliminates redundant workflows and multiple reporting of identical issues.
Issue management becomes a breeze when you can pair your software with third-party applications.
Best practices for issue tracking
Once you’re done selecting the appropriate software, you must stipulate some guidelines on how to make the best use of it. Most businesses follow a set of best practices when it comes to issue tracking to enhance their workflows.
Let’s go over some of them to help you track and manage business issues.
1. Keep the process organized
Robust tracking of issues begins with proper project management. The more organized your issue tracking routine, the lesser overhead and operating costs you will incur.
One way to do this is to keep all the business tasks logically structured. This allows you to trace and tackle any interruptions easily. A streamlined routine results primarily from a centralized and comprehensive database that stores all your business data.
You have a single source to extract information about which asset needs more prompt attention and which vendor to contact.
2. Define your issues adequately
When you start off recording issues with a software, data fields are one of the first elements you should define.
Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
Which data fields should appear by default on the defect forum when someone wants to report an issue?
Is there a specific order you want to follow for filling data fields?
Do you want to put up any read-only fields?
Which fields are mandatory?
Typically, companies include the following data fields:
A precise title
Description of the issue
Instant directions to rectify the issue
Who the issue/ticket is assigned to?
The priority of the defect
Associated asset/equipment/IT details
Additionally, you may also want to include a field to document screenshots of the issue. But remember not to overdo it by adding too many fields. This simply lengthens the reporting process and discourages employees from reporting issues.
Once you have identified the requisite data fields, be sure not to change them too often. It only creates more chaos and you need to train your employees more frequently.
3. Structure and secure issues
Perhaps, the most effective way to solve issues is to develop an organized platform for your issue reports. Doing so will allow users to quickly search for pre-existing issues.
For this you should consider:
How do you want to categorize the issues? Issues can be classified by projects, departments or asset groups.
Does every employee have the same level of authorized access to issues? Or do you want to restrict certain users to gain access into the software?
Which data fields have limited access?
4. Set up a pathway for the tracking process
You can rectify problems better if you establish a definite pathway on how to go about issue management. With a well-defined procedure in place, none of the issues can go unnoticed.
Furthermore, an organized workflow ensures that team members know their assigned tasks and which procedures they should follow.
You can sort your processes by:
Determining how to prioritize issues
Incorporating a ‘testing’ phase to review the issue fix
Setting up email alerts for every step of the issue management process
Issue tracking software: The most important cog in your operations machine
A rock solid issue tracking system clearly delineates how various types of defects need resolution. For this added level of guidance, most businesses opt for advanced software.
It automates all your issue tracking steps and alerts you of breakdowns or bugs in real time. It also equips you for seamless integration with third-party management applications.
For instance, pairing up issue tracking software with an asset management system increases the efficacy of your processes. You can run both programs side by side, have insights to both asset and defect data and take immediate actions.
A well-grounded issue tracking system is indeed the most important cog in your operations machine.
This eBook will take you through the different modules added to our EZOfficeInventory Mobile App, and how the easy-to-use Asset tracking software features can help you track your equipment on-the-go. We will also highlight the actions you can take on Items, Carts, Bundles and Work Orders using the EZOfficeInventory Mobile App.
To read more, click our eBook on EZOfficeInventory Mobile App:
Or, you can first read about what to expect inside this eBook!
Table of Contents:
Dashboard: An Overview
Scanning Items on-the-go
Viewing and Taking actions on Carts
Searching for Items
Viewing and Taking actions on Bundles
Viewing and Logging updates on Work Orders
App in Action [Video]
About EZOfficeInventory EZOfficeInventory is the leading asset tracking software with a robust mobile app that is easy to use and easy to navigate for asset assignments, maintenance, and work orders. We’ve worked with a multitude of companies and SMEs, and have helped them lower costs, optimize workflows, and improve transparency from one centralized location.
Tracking systems are primarily used by businesses to trace where their assets are at a given time. This routine has to do with managing commercial goods that are permanently owned by a business and used in its daily operations.
A few years back, many organizations used to keep manual logbooks of assets to track their usage. If you still keep paper trails of your assets in this era of automated business operations, then you’re living under a rock.
Many businesses have moved to the idea of clocking in asset details in spreadsheets. However, it still calls for manual data entry and bleeds into typographical errors.
Smart businesses, on the other hand, are jumping onto the ‘automated’ bandwagon. They use cloud based asset tracking solutions to keep accurate records of asset data in the cloud.
These automated asset tracking systems make use of asset labels to trace the whereabouts of each asset. They wipe out the need for manual data entry and ensure the veracity of your asset records.
Companies typically choose between the following asset tagging mechanisms:
1. Barcode labeling
Barcode labeling was introduced in the 1970s and remains the most widely used asset tracking technique to this day. Its popularity stems from the various benefits that barcode tags offer.
They are affordable, can be printed in various sizes and can stick to almost any material. In pursuit of automating your asset tracking, you simply need to scan the barcode tag on an asset.
The barcode scanner reads the asset information. It then logs it into a cloud database, curbing any instances of typographical errors. However, there are some downsides to barcode tagging too.
Barcode tags must be within the visible line of sight of a barcode reader. This means that barcode labeling proves futile for tracking assets in remote locations.
2. RFID tagging
RFID tags are more advanced and offer more features as compared to barcode labels. An RFID tag uses radio waves to emit asset data to a reader. It is ideal for tracking assets that are not easily accessible, for instance, a tool that is being used in a coal mining shaft.
RFID tags also enable businesses to scan multiple tools at once, thereby expediting the process of data documentation. Nevertheless, it does not come without its disadvantages.
Being more technical, RFID tags are definitely more expensive than barcode labels. They are, therefore, not suitable for small businesses that are looking to track various, low-value items.
Unlike barcodes, they can also be read by only a limited type of scanners.
3. GPS active tracking
Ideal for tracking assets in transit, GPS tags allow firms to actively record location coordinates of each asset item. GPS active tags send signals to relevant satellites so you can locate your goods wherever they are.
Since they are fairly expensive, it’s not feasible to use them for monitoring asset movements indoors. Fleet management, logistics or car rental companies normally use GPS tags to keep tabs on assets that are always on the move!
Okay, but which scanner do I pick?
Once you’re done selecting the asset labels you want to use, next comes the task of picking scanning hardware. Companies choose between either a handheld or smartphone scanner depending on the nature of their workflow.
Rugged handheld scanners have historically been a more popular choice. They are durable and enable you to capture data quickly. Some of them are designed to even work in harsh chemical environments.
Another, more affordable and more portable option is that of scanners integrated in smartphones. They are lightweight and easy to deploy in different locations.
Key aspects of streamlined asset tracking
To make the best use of an asset management system, you must first enlist some goals that you want to accomplish with it. It always helps to keep a checklist of such aspects ready.
Most businesses aim to realize the following objectives by implementing an asset tracking system.
1. Risk management
The prime risk most asset managers have to contend with is that of item theft or misplacement. With real-time asset updates, you can always conduct a spot-check on your assets, see where they lie and who’s using them.
Asset tags enable you to track asset movements and possession so you can always trace down a culprit in instances of theft.
2. Incident response
This has to do with detecting asset malfunction and rectifying it. The faulty equipment can either be an IT device whose software needs an upgrade or an office air conditioner that broke down.
An asset tracking system helps you schedule regular repair sessions and sends alerts for upgrades before they are needed. This helps establish a faster incidence response time.
3. Security measures
Most businesses store confidential customer information in their IT assets. If leaked or accessed by the wrong person, it can lead to dire consequences. It is important for companies to prevent such security breaches from happening.
You need to have an overall view of the assets you possess and must restrict their access to authorized personnel only. An asset tracking solution helps in this regard by defining user roles and placing certain groups of assets under the domain of each user.
4. Asset acquisition
With a dedicated asset tracking solution, you can keep a check on current inventory levels at all times. It enables you to carry out forecast demand so you do not end up with unnecessary asset purchases.
It also helps you maintain optimum stock levels, saving you tons of money and streamlining your warehouse management.
5. Quality control
No business can be viable enough if it doesn’t comply with federal quality regulations. With asset management software, you can harness strict quality measures by scheduling your items for regular repair sessions.
It keeps all your asset repository on the same page when it comes to reliable operating condition.
Asset tracking across industries: Common use cases
As mentioned earlier, barcode asset tracking is the most widely used method out there. It helps different industries run their daily business workflows in an efficient manner.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of asset tracking use cases that various industries deploy to iron out their daily operations.
Instant product information: Asset tags at the back of each stock item can be scanned to glean instant asset details. Easy access to inventory information enables you to plan timely procurement. This drastically helps in the retail industry where you cannot afford to run out of your inventory and lose out on obvious sales.
Mobile point of sale: Most asset tracking solutions are smartphone compatible. They enable you to scan item labels with the camera of your phones. With your personal devices acting as a point of sale, you can expedite the checkout process, and cut down on POS hardware costs.
Goods in transit: With GPS tracking enabled, you can keep an eye on your inventory when it is shipped off to different retail locations. Instant location updates in the asset tracking database lower chances of misplacement.
Data management: A cloud based asset tracking system enables logistic companies to store relevant details about their orders and customers in a single database that is accessible across different branches.
Shipment tracking: Different orders shipped to different customers sitting throughout the world can be traced using active GPS tags. It also helps notify customers of when an order has reached their doorstep or has been delayed due to unforeseen conditions.
Bundles and packages: Some items are usually booked together by customers. An asset tracking system enables a logistics company to group such complementary assets in bundles. This way they can check them out together. It eliminates duplicate workflows and saves them time.
Equipment maintenance: Patient safety and health is a top priority for hospitals. An asset tracking system enables medical technicians to regulate sterilization for surgical tools. It also enables biomedical engineers to check in diagnostic equipment for periodic maintenance. This prevents unpredictable breakdowns during patient checkups.
Consumables management: Hospitals stockpile different types of pharmaceuticals and disposable medical goods. These consumable assets have a short shelf life and need continuous monitoring for timely disposal. Automated asset tracking solutions keep tabs on the expiry dates of such instruments and alert the hospital staff on when to get rid of them.
Regulatory compliance: Medical assets are subject to strict quality controls set by regulatory authorities. Asset tracking software enables hospitals to run frequent asset audits to meet compliance. It also helps keep a check on asset ownership and usage to prevent fraudulent activities.
4. Information Technology
Software licensing: Like hardware assets, software systems need oversight too. An asset tracking system lets IT companies record licensing details of each software and alerts them when a license needs renewal.
Access control: Asset tracking software helps strengthen security measures by defining unique user roles. IT companies can then authorize which users they want to give access to different software assets.
Third party integration: Asset tracking systems are easy to integrate with third-party applications. This consolidates information from various departments, enabling seamless access to business data. It also helps combine the expertise and functionality of separate applications so you can run your daily tasks without a hitch.
Universal best practices for tracking assets
Having an asset tracking system doesn’t do you any good unless you follow the best practices used by industry leaders.
Below are some tips and tricks you should consider while managing your assets with an automated system.
1. Create a baseline inventory
Once you’ve decided which software you want to use, the next step is to carry out a thorough inventory audit. Doing so enables you to capture every type of resource that your business owns.
Detailed insights about the inventory stock help you decide how you want to track it.
2. Know what you want to track
It is always smart to classify your resources according to their monetary or business value. This is one way to determine which tools you want to track and which ones you don’t.
For instance, there is no use to tag and track dumpsters in the parking lot of your office. Company laptops, on the contrary, are an expensive item and need surveillance.
3. Be more fastidious in your warehousing!
The more detailed your location and sub-location data is, the easier it is for your employees to locate and retrieve an asset. It also helps with faster checkouts and decreases employee frustration.
4. Ensure hardware connectivity
Most asset tracking software systems receive data from handheld scanning hardware. Some businesses use wired whereas others use Bluetooth enabled devices.
When working both on and off premise, it is key to stay connected to your scanning hardware. For this reason, most companies are now shifting to personal smartphone scanners.
It helps sidestep any disruptions in hardware connectivity and ensures seamless operations.
5. Maintain data consistency
When working with multiple asset types, you must make sure that you record the same data fields for them all. It helps establish a consistent and comparable database.
Asset tracking systems enable you to set mandatory default or custom data fields so you never miss out crucial asset information.
A rock-solid asset tracking solution is your key to achieving operational efficiency
A well-grounded asset tracking system enables you to run asset life cycle management and schedule for regular maintenance. With it, you can keep a check on your stock levels, conduct frequent audits and reserve assets for daily tasks.
It overthrows the need for futile manual workflows and automates your entire supply chain, from procurement to sales. It also offers revelatory insights on business performance so you can leverage on more lucrative processes.
With all these supercharged features, asset tracking software is a sound investment for businesses looking to raise their operational efficiency.
The surmounting need for better medical equipment maintenance
Hospitals around the globe are witnessing a surge in patient inflow. Consequently, there is a rising need for maintaining hospital equipment and providing improved diagnostic facilities.
Following this trend, the medical equipment and maintenance services industry has grown by 1.7% to reach a revenue of $3 billion. Better healthcare services cannot be provided with incompetent equipment management.
While the statistics promise consistent growth, the healthcare industry struggles every day with maintaining hospital equipment. So, why is this the case?
Medical institutions and biomedical engineers face multiple challenges every day when designing maintenance services.
1. Coordinating service schedules: With various types of medical devices up for performance inspection, tracking service requirements can be overwhelming. This is especially true in cases where biomedical engineers have to handle equipment across facilities. Coordinating schedules need special attention for the following reasons:
Manufacturers differ in service recommendations
The clinical staff doesn’t follow timelines for sending equipment to manufacturers
Not all medical assets have the same preventive maintenance needs.
2. Obtaining manufacturer support: Most of the time, biomedical engineers are able to diagnose equipment problems and troubleshoot them on the spot. But, in some cases, medical technicians lack familiarity with key machine components. This means that engineers have to contact equipment manufacturers for support which is problematic without vendor records or warranty cards. Missing equipment data ends up disrupting maintenance schedules.
3. Arranging for replacement parts: Securing spare parts for faulty equipment often becomes a hurdle in the way of efficient maintenance routines. Vendors might discontinue the production of a certain component or miscalculate the demand, resulting in component unavailability. In these cases, it helps to pre-plan service schedules so last minute disruptions can be avoided.
Maintaining hospital equipment with asset management
Most healthcare organizations opt for an automated management system. Choosing such a program enables you to gather accurate information and increase overall operational efficiency. In addition to this, the software allows you to track critical records and improve task delegation.
Now, let’s see how you can use asset management to establish a rock-solid maintenance program for your inventory.
1. Inventory management
When managing a hospital, start off by documenting all assets in stock so you can plan maintenance activities around them. Tag different pieces of medical equipment by type and enter them into an online management system.
This way, each device has its own unique ID and can be tracked easily. In addition to this, use barcode labels to record relevant details against each asset.
Automated data entry lowers the risk of human error so hospitals can retain accurate data at all times. To simplify the process, break up inventory into different categories like imaging equipment, devices integrated with IT, or consumables like fluids and medication.
Furthermore, your inventory needs to be as comprehensive as possible. In addition to asset serial numbers, add data regarding the availability of alternate devices, failure frequency, and downtime and repair costs.
Adding customized fields is easier when using a robust medical equipment management system.
2. Maintenance schedules
Medical equipment maintenance covers the repair of assets as well as the sterilization of instruments. To avoid the spread of bacteria and infections, hospitals must proactively plan service schedules.
Employ equipment management software to generate service tickets for maintaining hospital equipment as soon as you purchase the assets. Such a solution enables you to implement preventive maintenance so you can eliminate chances of sudden breakdowns.
Moreover, supply technicians with a list of reliable vendors from your database for specialized maintenance facilities.
3. Regular audits
Apart from scheduling regular maintenance events, meeting compliance regulations is extremely critical for hospitals. Non-compliance can lead to:
Health hazards for patients and doctors: Compromising on compliance means compromising on medical equipment safety. Non-compliant equipment can pose a health risk for anyone coming in contact with the device, be it a patient, a doctor or a member of the hospital staff.
Penalties from regulatory bodies: The FDA has laid down fundamental quality guidelines for the healthcare industry. For this reason, the Quality Care Program 2011 serves to help hospitals maintain their equipment up to the mark. The cost of non-compliance is considerably high and most medical centers can’t afford penalties and lengthy lawsuits.
Set up a compliance program at your hospital by studying current industry guidelines and be sure to follow them. Periodic audits are extremely useful in this pursuit as they help flag compliance issues that go unnoticed.
An equipment maintenance system enables you to conduct regular audits so you can verify the status of your entire inventory and ensure medical equipment safety at all times.
4. Lifecycle management
Tracking a medical asset throughout its useful life will enable you to streamline all maintenance processes for it. Automate lifecycle management with a software program and trace out usage history for all types of equipment.
This way, you can easily access complete service data for each individual asset, from the moment of procurement to retirement. Lifecycle management also makes timely disposal possible for all your machines.
In this manner, you can avoid breakdowns that occur in the middle of daily operations. Moreover, you can also save money by retiring old machinery or selling it at salvage value instead of scheduling large-scale repairs. Get replacements at the right time!
5. Actionable reports
In-depth data analysis enables you to gauge hospital equipment performance. For this purpose, stress upon the importance of diligent data logging to hospital staff so anyone using a device knows that they have to update its status.
Recording these usage trails is much simpler with software that also provides data regarding maintenance history, depreciated value, and current stock levels for all your machines.
With these statistics, biomedical engineers prepare actionable reports to examine equipment rate of return and general trends in asset management. Such reports also help spot any areas which need improvement.
For instance, if you discern the maintenance costs rising continually for a syringe pump, you can initiate an investigation. It may be smart to replace the pump rather than carry out an extensive repair on it.
Everyday equipment management problems solved with medical management software
More and more industries are realizing the benefits of business automation, and manual processes are petering out. Healthcare is one such industry that is seeing a solid rise in the adoption of software solutions like equipment management software for maintaining hospital equipment.
Such systems provide complete management capabilities to hospitals, including asset tracking, equipment maintenance, vendor and staff management, and compliance regulation.
These solutions also enable biomedical engineers to design preventive maintenance routines to prevent untimely breakdowns. In addition to this, modern healthcare organizations organize audits to gain compliance and track the entire lifecycle of assets.
They also use the software to access real-time data regarding their assets which makes annual reporting simpler and more accurate.
EZOfficeInventory is a medical equipment management system that makes maintaining hospital equipment a breeze! You can also track all your machines, conduct audits, ensure compliance, and manage staff users so your equipment is always in top shape!