Equipment tracking delivers resource certainty

Equipment tracking, the sheer volume of expensive and ever-expiring equipment, and the importance of getting the right equipment to the right people, at the right time, makes equipment management particularly challenging.

With many large organisations having multiple locations, sometimes numbering well into the hundreds, the number and reliability of operational equipment can vary widely.

Organisations whose core operations are highly dependent on mission-critical equipment, such as emergency services, extensive fieldwork operations demand rapid issue of functioning equipment.

Without proper equipment tracking budgets for new equipment would hit the roof! Which is why the demand for tracking systems to regulate the issue and return of these items is growing.

How Technology is Revolutionising Asset Management

Modern equipment tracking software can integrate with fixed RFID gateways at chokepoints such as doorways and exit points. Catering for the extremely fast issue and return (check-in/out) of equipment and personnel. Generating all-important audit trails that provide managers with a chronological record of events and evidence on equipment usage. A powerful tool for any organisation.

Police departments, like other large organisations, have embraced information technology to streamline internal processes and improve administrative efficiencies. But technology is also playing a more prominent role on the front line. Victoria Police are currently undertaking a state-wide roll-out of Hardcat’s Lebosi enterprise tracking solution for critical and high-risk assets.

Thin blue line takes hi-tech road to managing equipment

Equipment tracking software provides the tools needed to effectively track where your resources have been deployed. Tracking solutions allow your organisation to manage the usage, warranties, and performance of equipment in a centralized single source of truth.

Applications often include barcoding/RFID capabilities, can improve repair timelines, and reduce equipment break downs. Depending on the asset tags you use, real-time movement can be recorded via doorways and chokepoints, for an exceptionally fast issue of equipment.

Generally, organisations want to track the following to yield better strategic decisions:

  • Current location of each piece of equipment and its parts
  • Replacement parts for equipment
  • The current condition of the equipment
  • Ownership/accountability
  • The utilisation of equipment and re-deployment
  • Equipment maintenance, due dates and schedules
  • Equipment replacement and when to retire an item

For emergency, search and rescue services manually tracking equipment and usage creates accountability and compliance complications. Especially when poor records give a false impression regarding the level of equipment and PPE preparedness and safety.

Effective control and governance of equipment and PPE

Fire services at a bushfire with tracked equipment

Effective control and governance of equipment and PPE tracking is what provides the certainty, and protects workers. Equipment tracking allows you to manage risk and opportunity, in order to achieve the desired balance of cost, risk and performance.

While reports on maintenance, usage and movement are vital, tracking purchases and disposals is also essential for ongoing database accuracy. Below are some of the controls organisations are adopting to keep on top of equipment management.

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Tracking and maintenance

Equipment and maintenance tracking provides an organisation-wide and location drill-down view of equipment on-hand, condition and where it’s located. The purpose of this exercise is primarily for reducing loss and breakdowns. If items are misappropriated or break down at critical times, such as during a job, the effect causes time delays and may endanger lives.

Maintenance management schedules are a critical component of compliance. Unreliable equipment is dangerous and the single biggest source of downtime. No insight into the availability and condition of equipment means you pay more! More for reactive maintenance or impulse purchasing.

Most ERP/EAM systems only tracking equipment once received. Providing no visibility as to where they have been deployed and where they are now. When it comes to maintenance of critical equipment, users of major EAM systems still cannot get work orders on their mobile devices. Not having mobile access to service and equipment location data when you are “out in the field” is like leaving your toolbox at home!

Work orders and EAM/ERP integration
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Equipment loss

If you don’t know what equipment you have, you won’t be aware if they go missing! Until you need them! Your organisation will also have to reinvest, thus incurring extra costs. If items are lost/misappropriated during a job, the effect causes time delays and budget issues. Due to equipment and tools having to be reordered with priority delivery or equipment hiring costs.

Drive efficiencies and deter theft by tagging, tracking and regularly auditing your tools and equipment. When you utilise cutting edge identification and mobile tracking technologies, you build a digital management solution. That ensures all data is current and accurate.

The value of assets unprotected by asset management and tracking technology is staggering in Australian business. Each year Australian organisations must manage a vast array of physical assets of varying value. From mobile devices to industrial machinery, physical assets are expensive to procure, manage and maintain. New research in 2019 has found poor asset tracking is a $4.3 billion problem plaguing Australian businesses.

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Equipment checks and audits

Physically auditing (inventory count) equipment used to be time-consuming but now modern technology allows for easy audits. A mobile phone or tablet is all you need to rapidly account for equipment. Apps provide a cost-effective way for each location to perform their own easy audits. Without having to “send out” a specialised PDA.

It doesn’t matter if you use RFID or Barcodes, you can facilitate wall-to-wall audits, self-audits, issues and returns (check-in/out) quickly and accurately. With a full audit trail, if using a comprehensive equipment tracking solution.

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Triggered notifications

Setting automatic notifications delivers the intelligence needed to make better decisions. Notifications can minimise equipment loss, save time and resources. Timely alerts manage operational risks, reduce equipment downtime and ultimately improve public safety and responsiveness.

Triggered notifications for critical business intelligence provides managers and relevant staff with equipment and service data, from their mobile devices.

  • Where is equipment, who has it, what condition is it in
  • Perform an ad-hoc equipment audit
  • Perform an issue or return (check-in/out) transaction
  • Create new equipment records
  • Create maintenance and help desk activities against equipment
  • Assign the maintenance task to an engineer
  • Capture photographs illustrating the level of damage
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Equipment parts and inventory

Multiple quantities such as spare parts incorporated into your equipment tracking solution will provide a fast and efficient way to consolidate and track stock and parts “on-hand”. Controlling the re-ordering of goods you consume and their replenishment. This also applies to general stock, MRO, consumables and spare parts for machinery and equipment.

Types of parts/inventory:

  • Office consumables
  • Spare parts for machinery and equipment
  • MRO (Maintenance Repair & Operations) goods

Stock management procedures manage the goods you consume and their replenishment. Unlike your equipment, stock items are constantly being depleted and re-stocked or replenished. A stock management solution therefore assists in monitoring inventory, parts and stock levels, alerting you when available item levels drop.

https://www.hardcat.com/2019/02/19/stock-management-inventory/
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Tool tracking and management

If you could scrutinize the cost of your yearly tooling expenses, you might be surprised at what you are really spending. Typically, your tools can represent up to one-third of your company’s investment. Better tool utilisation and lifecycle management reduces the impact on productivity arising out of tool losses, missed calibration and maintenance events.

While there is less focus on smaller tools and equipment, these are unlikely to be insured, less likely to be recovered, but still cost your organisation in both time and money.

Greater accountability when tracking tools
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Safety and PPE Equipment

Operational Safety Equipment (OSE) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tracking safeguard workers from dangerous and possibly life-threatening situations. In the process, this equipment is exposed to many hazardous substances and harsh environments in an emergency situation.

Tracking OSE/PPE is critical in ensuring the safety of officers. To comply with in-house requirements, employee union requirements, and regulatory requirements. In addition, some PPE has a finite life span and these uniforms need to be rigorously tested to ensure they can withstand the harsh environment of an emergency situation.

It is critical that PPE is electronically tracked to ensure each item is properly inspected and maintained, to prevent both short-term and long-term health risks. Tracking OSE/PPE will assist in the management of replacement schedules and enables you to monitor the delivery and replacement of PPE items.

Emergency equipment management
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Negotiating and budgeting

Difficulty in negotiating and budgeting from a lack of oversight causes difficulties at the financial level. What maintenance and equipment replacement budget would you request if you are unaware of quantities of equipment, where they are, their condition, and which are due for replacement?

With equipment tracking, you can leverage your maintenance evidence during budget negotiations! Consider being able to report on equipment usage, for instance, to negotiate replacement or to increase maintenance budgets.

Deliver the right data at the right time and integrate to disseminate data to your entire enterprise. Adopting modern technology saves organisations time and money while providing comprehensive visibility on procurement and purchasing.

Procurement and purchasing risks

Hardcat equipment tracking solutions

Firefighters and critical equipment tracking

Hardcat equipment tracking solutions keep track of your equipment and maintenance schedules “on-the-go” with MiCatX. Lessening the time it takes to complete mandatory physical audits and keeps track of maintenance work orders.

MiCatX allows equipment issue and return, maintenance and help desk functions to be performed anywhere anytime. The MiCatX offline mode in a non-connected state, stores data locally on the device. Allowing MiCatX access in areas with limited or no internet/Wi-Fi.

Anyone with a mobile phone and access rights can complete inspections, view detailed asset history and easily track parts and labour in real-time. Simple, fast, and reliable communication between the office and field.

Hardcat maintenance management

Web and cloud equipment tracking

Have you ever needed information right away on a work order? What about the geographical location of a critical piece of equipment or the location of spare parts within a facility? HardcatWeb is a web-based equipment management system accessible via a web-enabled device. Designed to help organisations competently track and maintain the equipment they own.

The rapid evolution of cloud technology has revolutionised what is now possible, with managers of small teams equally able to benefit from industrial-strength technology without having to worry about how to pay for it all! Lower your up-front costs and put your equipment tracking in the cloud!

HardcatCloud

Put simply, Hardcat delivers resource certainty by tracking all types of equipment and assets, from procurement through to disposal. From the assignment, reassignment, inspections, cleanings and repairs, to eventual retirement.

More information

Hardcat solutions deliver the control you need across multiple locations. A holistic organisational overview of your important assets and equipment.

Hardcat taking control of assetsHardcat asset register software meeting