Know Your Stuff: Managing Assets

As an owner, executive, or manager, do you know what assets your business owns? Do you know when your assets were purchased, what you paid, or where they're located? I ask the question out of curiosity, knowing that most large businesses have some form of asset tracking software…yet the vast majority of the US economy consists of businesses which may still be "looking in the couch cushion for the lost remote". For those looking in the couch cushions, I'd like to share a few thoughts on effectively managing your assets.

I recently had a conversation with a client regarding a project we began about seven years ago. We were looking back at the state of their business before implementing a strategy and process for managing their furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Back then, they had furniture in the hallways, rooms full of unused office products, and cubicles either completely empty or on the verge of looking like a storage room. People were purchasing products left and right, without any procurement controls for their Facilities team. In short, we were seeing a totally uncontrolled spending scenario with zero accountability toward standardizing and tracking assets. They were spending thousands upon thousands of dollars toward assets that they already owned.

Understanding the challenge allowed Apex to develop a  three-fold solution:

  1. Implement a software solution that digitally track and manage assets through bar codes.
  2. Enlist a procurement program to retrieve unused assets and return them for repair, redistribution or recycling.
  3. Aid inter-department cooperation with Apex’s program, centralized within their Facilities department.

This client immediately began to see the return on their investment. Upon closing the first calendar year of the program, this client reported they had avoided spending several hundred thousand dollars by actively collecting unused assets, redistributing them, and controlling procurement of new assets. Apex was also able to provide a standing inventory report stating where their current in-use assets were located, who was using those assets, and many other details.

Finding the solution right for your business can be tricky, and the best solution is usually one that provides you with 80% or better of what you're looking for - there's never one solution that's a perfect fit, so find the one that's closest to your needs. After all, "You can't manage what you don't measure and track."