Businesses that need to track inventory—but don’t usually consume or sell what they stock—use asset management systems to stay on top of their stuff. In this article, we’ll outline what an asset management system is and why adopting one is so essential.
An asset management system is a process, strategy or protocol that allows a business to track its inventory. Regardless of what a company owns, an asset management system offers businesses a way to see what they’ve got, and where.
There are three main types of asset tracking systems: a written or typed asset list, a spreadsheet, or some kind of inventory management software. All three systems have their pros and cons, but any asset management system is better than nothing at all. After all, if your business owns anything of value, you need to keep track of where it is, who’s got it, what condition it’s in, and how much it’s worth.
Here’s a little bit of information on the three main types of asset management systems:
Some businesses track their inventory on a sheet of paper—with a pen! Others use Google Docs or Microsoft Word. These systems are simple, but they’re also quite limited. They tend to work only for the smallest of businesses, usually with just one or two employees.
While pen-and-paper asset management requires no training and is virtually free, it’s also a ton of work. Every time the status of an asset changes, somebody must manually make an adjustment to the inventory list. There’s no way to generate reports, feature photos, sync barcodes and QR codes or set low stock alerts.
Another option for asset management: a spreadsheet. Many businesses use Excel, Google Sheets or another type of spreadsheet to track their inventory. But not all spreadsheets are created alike. Many are just glorified pen-and-paper inventories; the only difference is text goes into a cell, instead of onto a line.
A true spreadsheet inventory might use formulas to help you understand the value of what you’ve got. It may also use tabs to help you separate inventory stored across multiple locations. Still, all spreadsheets are vulnerable to human error, especially when it comes to data entry and jumbled numbers.
Unsecured spreadsheets can also be corrupted, hacked or deleted. There’s no way to set low stock alerts, and tired eyes may have difficulty distinguishing items with similar names. Also, adding pictures, QR codes and barcodes to a spreadsheet is virtually impossible.
That being said, some businesses—usually small ones with just one or two storage locations—might be satisfied with an asset management spreadsheet.
Many businesses choose inventory management software to track their assets. New solutions like inventory apps allow businesses to easily track assets using equipment they already own, like smartphones and laptops.
Best of all, these inventory apps are easy for teams to use, inexpensive and very secure. They offer automation features like barcode and QR code scanning, inventory alerts, and customizable reports. Plus, they save businesses tons of time, money and stress.If you’re curious about how inventory management software could help your business track more assets in less time, why not give Sortly a try, free!