Generally when we’re talking about Asset Inventory practices and solutions, it doesn’t take long before we’re talking about how automating with a mobile solution can reap huge benefits and relating how others have experienced just that. But during those discussions, we’re usually speaking to the perspective of the organization as a whole. And as a result, the upside that we discuss is then focused on the organizational prospective too.
While it’s the larger organization typically has the inventory requirement for reporting, decision-making, etc. – it’s the staff across the buildings and locations who are the lucky ones who get to actually conduct the inventory.
I’m sure that is how they see it.
The truth is there are some benefits – big ones actually – for the team with the trusty clipboards.
4 Personal Gains from Automating your Asset Inventory
Here are four of the larger benefits that your staff gets to call their own – when you decide to automate your Inventory activities:
Life is Easier
Conducting an inventory can be a real pain in the ___. There are desks to sometimes crawl under and closets to sometimes dig through. Once you find assets (if you find them), then there are lists or spreadsheets to update. When you’re done, you get to key that information into your ERP – or someone else does (at which point you get to answer questions about your writing….”that’s a Q not a 5”….writing under a desk doesn’t always bring out your best penmanship).
Or better – you get sent out again for “more details” or “just to be sure” or to find that laptop that no one has seen in the last four inventories.
When an Automated Asset Inventory system is implemented, you basically get to carry around an assistant, in the form of a Handheld scanner – & that is going to make life much easier for you. Instead of scribbling notes when you’re counting – you get to scan, confirm and move on. No handwriting corrections, no rework. Inventory becomes a One & Done task – for the year anyway.
If you’re really lucky, your company may leverage RFID – in which your crawling around on the floor days are done.
In addition to the classic clipboard & pencil, some are really lucky and have to carry reference paperwork too. Well, that Handheld scanner that comes with automation can also carry your books too.
It is just like a regular computer and can carry the reference database, documentation – whatever other information that you need to complete the inventory. All in your hands – well handheld, actually – but you get the idea.
Look – No Hands! (or typing anyway)
Once you get all of that valuable inventory information on your clipboard, then comes the fun tasks of getting it all wherever it needs to go. Sharing the results can be almost as cumbersome as the physical inventory. If you aren’t typing results for hours, then you’re handing it off to someone else who has to key the data into your ERP. Then we’re back at handwriting questions again.
Never mind the fact that the inventory that you counted last week may have moved – so your data may already be outdated.
Automation allows you to return from your counting, dock your handheld, click a button and have a single electronic communication launch – getting everything into ALL the right hands (operational & strategic) in near real-time. But most importantly – it gets it out of your hands.
One of the fun parts of having to conduct an inventory is having this task on top of your regular, everyday tasks. Time spent on counting often takes away from time that you’d usually be doing other things. Unfortunately, those tasks (and the people impacted by them) don’t always appreciate delays and extra hours are often required to get it all done.
Automation eliminates a lot of the extra work, rework and just plain headaches that often surround manual inventory tasks. That means less time to complete – so your “real job” isn’t interrupted nearly as long and you are free to get back to your regularly scheduled programming.
When considering moving your inventory practices to automation – you will find a variety of benefits for your organization. But any solution implementation team will tell you that the success of a solution (automated or manual) largely rests in the happiness of its users. So while you’re looking at those company benefits, it doesn’t hurt to consider that your Inventory staff might just be a little happier with an automated approach.