Using Technology to Apply Best Practices in Asset Management

Having spent almost 20 years helping businesses digitise operations, we have heard some real horror stories when it comes to asset management.  

With more and more companies moving away from manual processes to monitor their usage and whereabouts, systems like Excel spreadsheets may let you get a system set up quickly, but it rarely stands the test of time for growing businesses.  

Unless your company is using an integrated management system for your assets, it’s likely that you’re exposed to a broad range of risks which can easily be addressed thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).

How to use QR Codes and NFC Tags to Manage Assets with Jonathan Patchell

We recently met up with a recycling and demolition business ($10million+ turnover) who were keeping track of their 100+ assets using a range of manual processes – including Excel – which was starting to take a major toll on their ability to make decisive operational decisions. They were keen to ramp up the growth of their business by pitching for larger tenders, but knew having manual processes in place to manage assets meant they’d have to hire teams of extra administration staff to cope with the load if more people and equipment came onboard.  

They felt like they were “flying blind” when it came to:

  • Knowing exactly where their assets were located
  • Ensuring the operators had the right qualifications and licences
  • Knowing when scheduled maintenance was due and past servicing history
  • Knowing real time defects which needed urgent attention
  • Data for reporting Fuel Tax Credits
  • Asset utilisation and productivity
  • Tying speeding fines to drivers
  • Managing safety risk
  • Maintaining accreditations

They needed to find another way.  Fast.

In this case, we started off by digitising all of their forms so the data was captured using mobile devices (replacing paper forms) and sent into a central database.  As they were using Android devices, we were able to affix NFC tags onto plant, vehicles, trailers and equipment which the operators tapped to bring up the pre-start checklists directly for the asset type and raise defects with photos in real time.   NFC also enables a location for a low cost asset tracking.

GPS was installed on multiple assets and also connected to the CAN bus (Details – Wikipedia) for heavy vehicles so kilometres, fuel usage and other data could be monitored and reported on.  The non gazetted roads were “geo fenced” allowing fuel tax credits (FTC) reporting.

It was a busy two months.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has great potential to make an impact for managing assets within the next 12 months.  Instead of a physical transmitting needing to be deployed, a virtual BLE is simply a beacon point that is added to existing Wi-Fi networks. The BLE broadcast functionality achieved through a BLE antenna is added to a Wi-Fi access point. This eliminates the need for beacons and batteries. Such virtual BLE networks can be leveraged for general safety management, project time tracking and asset.

We are big believers in the Kaizen model of continual improvement (Details – Wikipedia) and actively encourage our customers to identify areas within their business which need addressing. 

To summarise, if your business is not managing your assets using an integrated management system, here are the Top 10 reasons why you should give it serious consideration.

  1. Greater asset utilisation
  2. Enhanced billing accuracy
  3. Easier to scale business
  4. Improved forecasting of demand
  5. Higher safety standards
  6. Provide better service for customers
  7. Worker productivity level increases
  8. Improve delivery consistency
  9. Ability to run operations from your pocket
  10. Happier staff and better lifestyle (owners, managers)

We encourage our customers to create systems by design – not by default. 

Why shouldn’t you choose the shortest path to achieve the ideal outcome?

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