Here’s How to Manage Your Physical Assets When Your Business is Growing

Posted on April 02, 2019 by Greg Clock

Your business is growing, and that’s a great thing. It means you’re among the 5% of fastest-growing companies or 50% of all fast-growing companies.

But rapid expansion can cause chaos if you’re not keeping an eye on your physical assets. What if an important laptop goes missing? What if a company vehicle needs urgent maintenance? What if you lose track of your equipment warranties or customer contracts?

To prevent these emergencies, it’s critical to have a solid asset management plan in place. Let’s look at some ways you can manage your assets while experiencing a period of fast business growth.

Maintain Transparency As You Grow

First, examine how deeply you can see into your current system. How much transparency do you have? It should be easy to understand where every asset is, at all times.

If you don’t have transparency, you may see red flags like:

  • Suspicion and secrecy around company data
  • Unproductive time when certain key people are on vacation
  • Disagreements between teams/departments
  • Vague answers to important daily questions
  • Territorial behavior, jealousy, and finger-pointing

As your business grows, the growth should propel your company toward more transparency, not less. Assess your current level of asset management and transparency. If it’s lacking, look at implementing a tracking system.

Update Your Tracking System and Policies

A recent report found that 11% of businesses don’t track assets at all, and 6% weren’t sure whether they track their assets or not. Another 12% still use a pen and paper to handle all asset management.

Together, that means at least 29% of all businesses have poor and outdated asset control. That’s staggering.

Where does your company fall in the spectrum of asset management? Whether you have a formal tracking system or not, it’s important to take a look at your company policies and see how they are contributing to asset control problems.

Ask policy-related questions like:

  • Is it your stated policy to track every asset?
  • Are asset tracking policies enforced?
  • Who is responsible for locating and maintaining physical assets?
  • Who is responsible for approvals?
  • What happens when something is missing or broken?

Knowing the answers to these questions, you can refine your asset management and take specific steps to improve it - even as your company grows by leaps and bounds.

Watch Overages and Downtime During Growth

When growth is happening fast, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. These “ups and downs” - things like overages and downtime - can drain your company’s resources.

Overages are activities that are excessive, causing unexpected expenditures. Overage comes in many forms, including:

  • overbuying inventory
  • waste and overuse of resources
  • overstocking products
  • overbilling for services
  • overpaying for raw materials
  • paying too much overtime

On the flip side, you have activities that create problems when they’re too low. In this category you have things like:

  • reduced employee productivity
  • unavailability of fleet vehicles
  • equipment downtime
  • product unavailability
  • lack of raw materials available for production

When there’s too much unexpected variation in your activity, your company will struggle in its day to day work. Products will go out of stock. Things will go missing from the warehouse. Locating assets will be a constant headache.

Into this chaos, an asset tracking system injects stability and predictability. Alerts and notifications from the system tell you when something is too “up” or “down.”

Your tracking system becomes a central source of information everyone can rely on. It reshapes your company’s ability to adapt and grow.

Don’t Grow Faster Than Your Lifetimes

Let’s not forget the importance of predictive maintenance. Every asset in your company has a lifespan and end-of-life point. Your company should be able to track these lifecycles.

As an example, maybe your customer service reps use desktop computers to access your inventory system and assist customers with their questions. What if all of these customer service workstations went down simultaneously because you failed to track the expiration date of a software agreement?

An asset tracking system would have alerted you that your software needed some routine maintenance - that is, updating the agreement with the company. Your company could have seamlessly continued work rather than having the customer service center experience downtime.

Stay Flexible

Finally, during a period of growth, a company needs the flexibility to add many things: inventory, product lines, service offerings, customer service assistance, upsells, workstations, vehicles, staff, and more.

One of the biggest benefits of a good asset management system is that it is scalable and flexible. Your company can grow as much as desired because the system will always grow right along with it.

So go ahead and pursue new customers. Build your product line. Expand into new geographic markets. With the right asset management tool, you’re free to grow for years to come.

Choose Growth-Focused Tools

Here’s a tool to consider: Stave AssetPath, is an asset management tool that fully supports flexible growth. It reduces costs by more than 20% and reduces overtime labor and contractor costs by up to 50%.

For a typical company, AssetPath brings benefits equivalent to 20% of the total spending portfolio within 3 to 5 years. To learn more, watch this short video or connect with us for more information. You can also try AssetPath for free in the ServiceNow store.

Get Instant Access to an AssetPath Trial