A physical asset inventory is a complete process of managing asset identification, location, and condition. Regular asset inventories are a key part of operations and quality management procedures. Collecting this information is important for tooling utilization, theft prevention, maintenance management, and budgeting. There are multiple methods that are available to conduct an asset inventory.
A paper log is a notebook or printable spreadsheets that contain asset status and details. Logs are often stored in each department, record are often entered into a Master Log that is kept with a tooling or quality manager. Paper logs often have dedicated areas to write asset location and condition. Companies that have few assets or limited technology resources will often keep a paper log.
Excel spreadsheets are another option for conducting a physical asset inventory. Spreadsheets allow space to store much more information, include calculation features, and are easy to send to other people in the company (regardless of location). A spreadsheet is a static document, everyone must make sure they are using the most up to date document that has the same information.
Cloud Document or Spreadsheet
Cloud based spreadsheets allow live editing, providing information that is always up to date. When a technician enters new information, the changes are available for everyone with document access to view. SharePoint, Electronic Document Management Systems, and Google Drive are popular options for this method.
Many ERP systems provide out of the box inventory management or additional modules for asset tracking. ERP systems often use barcode scanning or manual entry at terminals throughout the facility. ERP systems work similarly to cloud documents in that the changes are live immediately and accessible across locations.
Asset Tracking Software
Asset tracking software performs many of the tasks required to keep an up to date physical asset inventory. Comprehensive asset tracking software solutions may include extra functions that help with preventative maintenance or associating related items to an asset.