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How the Army Took Control of their Assets

 

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Arguable the most powerful army in the world, spending $577 billion per year, stacked with superior airpower and a carrier fleet larger than other country’s entire navy, one would think the United States has asset management under control. Contrary to popular belief, while this army is out on the battlefield they’re losing the true war against asset management. Or should we say, used to be losing? We’re here today to tell you how the U.S. effectively defeated the mismanagement of their assets, and how your business can, too.

The U.S. Army has faced asset management issues beyond belief. The Pentagon faced challenges effectively managing and tracking assets, spending money on unneeded supplies and storing others that were out of date, according to a report by Reuters. The Department of Defense’s Inspector General’s audit for 2013 revealed the 401st Army Field Support Brigade “did not report in a timely manner 15,600 pieces of missing equipment valued at approximately $419.5 million.”

Related Article: Asset Management with Active RFID

In addition, Fort Hood (more commonly known as one of the largest U.S. Army bases) was most vulnerable to the issues stated above. “There is a continual need for information related to our IT assets,” said Terry French, property manager for the base’s IT equipment. “The U.S. government demands accountability for the property assigned to us.” French used to manually record serial and model numbers into an Access database, causing a multitude of issues for the base. He often needed to physically locate an asset to see if it corresponded with his database, but had no real way of knowing if the database was actually up to date.

“This was a time-consuming and cumbersome process,” French said. “Plus, the Access database was simply not designed to provide effective reports quickly at the time they were requested. I got tired of the wasted time and the errors that I struggled with each week.”

Try to imagine an organisation with more important asset management challenges than the U.S. Army, accounting for everything from IT equipment to fighter missiles. Let us not fail to mention that Fort Hood consists of thousands of IT assets (including servers, computers, network switches and more) across eight buildings and four locations (three off-base). It is essential for aging equipment to be retired and new gear deployed yearly. Furthermore, the base needs to track each asset type, number and location for audits by IT managers and outside inspectors.

To say the least, manual entry for the U.S. was a losing battle.

After researching alternatives, French ditched his time-consuming, error prone manual system and implemented Wasp MobileAsset. They provided French an affordable, wide range of functionality and allowed him to easily track and manage valuable company assets, conduct audits and instantly access and create managerial reports.

 We know what you’re thinking, “It’s that easy?”
It’s that easy.

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Fort Hood Requested and Mobile Asset Responded

Wasp MobileAsset relieved Fort Hood’s IT Asset Manager battle one of the most daunting challenges any such administrator can face. Could your company benefit from reduced labor costs, improved accuracy and automated reporting systems, enabling you to know exactly where your assets are, every time they’re needed?

How to effectively win the battle on asset management in 3 steps

  1. Replace Manual Entry with Automated Barcode Data Entry 

Companies and government agencies have become so comfortable with spreadsheets and written asset management systems that only make many of the same mistakes. Manual entry (aka unavoidable human error), multiplies the amount of work required for tracking changes… and it’s expensive. “I estimate that we save the equivalent of $30,000 in time, just on the reduced field auditing alone”, continues French. “I really don’t know how any government property manager could operate without something like MobileAsset. It has simplified my life.”
So how exactly can automated barcode data entry transform your business?

We recommend barcode technology because:

  • It’s faster
  • It’s more accurate
  • It requires fewer workers (which means lower labor costs)
  • It’s convenient
  • It saves money

For Fort Hood, the Wasp Barcode mobile reader revolutionized IT asset management. “This process is an easy, slick and foolproof method for recording an asset’s serial number and model number using barcodes”, explains an impressed French. “In the past, when I received new equipment, it took up to an hour to manually record all of the information. Now, that time has been reduced to less than 15 minutes.”

  1. Out With the Old, In With Tracking the New 

If your current asset management system is not automatically calculating depreciation of aging assets, it’s doing something wrong. In order to save an exponential amount of time trying to manually track changes, reduce the risk of error and maintain customer privacy and data security: dispose of aging assets. “In the past, this was virtually impossible”, said French. “I didn’t really know which assets should be eliminated, since there was no accurate accounting of these items. What’s more, I didn’t know when they were purchased, how much they were worth, or how much they were worth now.” If you find your business in a similar situation, here are 3 helpful tips on knowing when it’s time to properly dispose aging assets:

  • The equipment is no longer working and cannot be salvaged
  • The equipment no longer supports your current needs
  • The equipment is old and no longer meets company standards

In addition, using a manual system to track assets makes it more difficult to keep up with them and keep track of their depreciation over a long period of time. This might not seem like an urgent task, but when such calculations end up ignored, businesses miss out on an important way to reduce expenses and tax burden.

Tip #1: Creating a centralized database that is updated in real-time can be beneficial in allowing you to understand where your assets are. You won’t have to fear when auditors come or reports need to be drafted. Instead, you’ll feel confident in finding an asset right when you need it.

  1. Find a System That Works For You, Not Against You

A successful asset management system encourages a more efficient workplace culture, makes it easier to find and resolve errors and strengthens commitment to correct system usage. Wasp MobileAsset was the best management system for Fort Hood, but it is crucial to find your fit.

“”I estimate that we save the equivalent of $30,000 in time, just on the reduced field auditing alone.”

Here are some questions to ask yourself when researching an asset management system for you:

  • What information do I need to track and how effectively can the system track it?
  • What organizational benefits does an asset management system provide?
  • How easy is it to transition to the new system? Can it integrate with my existing systems?
  • Is the system in my budget?

Managing military assets means French faces more audits than most, but he now can accomplish this task with no worries. “We have better information than ever before, plus we are saving tens of thousands of dollars in wasted time and effort.” Your asset management system should be improving your overall work experience by making your job less stressful and allowing you to spend more time on other aspects.

Tip #2: Ensure that your managers are able to have the time to train new hires by cutting back the amount able to manage assets. A multitude of employees manually managing assets causes your business to suffer from errors or even fraud.

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Head Into Battle, Full Force

Having a dedicated, convenient asset management tracking system allows your company to keep accurate records of assets, save time and money. In order to ensure your business is prepared for any battle it may face by replacing your outdated system, researching the best practice for your success and implementing the new system right away. If the most powerful army in the world is able to conquer highly important asset management issues, don’t you believe your business can, too?

How would a dedicated asset management system help your business keep better track of where your company assets are being used or stored?

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Jay Schofield

Product Business Development Manager at System ID Barcode Solutions
Jay Schofield’s passion is numbers. For more than 10 years, he has been turning facts and figures into actionable business intelligence for System ID. When he’s not researching, analyzing, and planning for the “next big thing,” Jay can be spotted on the lake with family and friends.

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