How to Perform Efficient Asset Audits with RFID

rfid asset tracking inventory management

RFID is the Asset Manager’s great ally when it comes to annual asset audits…..

Wall to Wall Inventory Audit Process

Do you find yourself preoccupied with your annual asset audit for at least three months every year? Annual or Semi-annual audits are the bane of the Asset Manager’s existence. No matter the type of assets to be audited – IT assets across the Enterprise, instruments in Labs, tools on the manufacturing floor or weapons in the Armory – the process is excruciatingly tedious and burdensome. If you currently use barcodes or worse, a highly labor-intensive manual process to do your wall-to-wall audits, we commiserate with you. Having to crawl under desks or lab benches, reach behind assets in order to read off barcodes or serial numbers, is not only time consuming, but can also be injurious to your health! Often, teams of people are made to perform these audit tasks and it can take days, if not weeks. Once an audit is done of the entire company, considerable amount of time is spent reconciling the audited list with the list sent by your finance department.

Then the teams have the unenviable task of chasing down those assets that were not yet located the first time around. Now, equipment owners, lab managers, Principal Investigators and the like, are recruited to participate in the daunting task of having to track down the missing assets. After days of these expensive resources being deployed, the missing asset list is whittled down to a few dozen. The Finance department is then asked to write these items off. All in all, it is a costly and laborious process.

rfid asset tracking inventory management

RFID Asset Ttracking Inventory Management
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/berkeleylab/3523139681/

RFID Asset Tracking Solution for Wall to Wall Inventory

1) Identify all assets that you need to audit and RFID tag them

By using RFID asset tracking solutions i.e. RFID tagging the assets, using an RFID handheld reader only or a combination of RFID handheld readers and fixed RFID readers, the organization can more efficiently and accurately complete its audits, with nearly 100% reconciliation. Audit times can be cut down by nearly 90%, i.e. if a manual audit of a building takes 20 hours, an RFID scanned audit will take less than 2 hours to complete.

2) Perform audit with RFID scanner

How often has an audit team found an asset stashed away in a cardboard box in the far corner of a room after having spent dozens of hours looking for it. If the asset had an RFID tag on it, it would have been picked up the first time someone walked by it with an RFID scanner. This is because RFID tags can be read from inside cardboard and wooden boxes.

3) Scan multiple assets with RFID as opposed to 1 by 1 scanning of barcode

Scanning barcode tagged assets with a barcode scanner takes at a minimum 30 seconds per asset. This typically involves locating the barcode and then aligning the scanner in line with barcode to scan it. Whereas, scanning 100 assets that are RFID enabled takes less than 10 seconds. This enables the customer to be able to perform inventory scans more often and so asset information usually is up-to-date. Additionally, the AssetGather web application keeps track of each and every asset’s movement history. If during the audit process, a critical asset is not found, then the AssetGather web application can be used to identify where the RFID tagged asset in question was last seen. This helps save tremendous amount of time for the Inventory Manager who tries to locate an asset in a traditional barcode system.

4) 90% faster audits and efficient locating of assets with RFID

Our customers have not only seen at least a 90% reduction in audit times, but have also not seen a need to write off inventory due to their inability to locate them. Further, they have realized more than 100% ROI in less than 2 years.

One of our happy customers

“The AssetPulse active RFID solution meets my needs for managing the ALS vacuum equipment pool. The inventory and search capability of the active system is invaluable during the yearly wall to wall inventory of the entire lab. Having an up-to-date inventory record of all assets will cut the time and labor cost to the lab to an ultimate minimum. Previously, wall-to-wall inventory has taken multiple weeks to manually find and scan these assets.”

– Frank Zucca, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Since the AssetPulse web application server keeps track of asset movement history, additional data can be gleaned out of the system like what types of assets are used extensively and how long an RFID enabled asset stays at a particular location. This will help the inventory management team to stock more of these assets so that these assets do not become a bottle neck for regular day to day work.

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RFID Based Asset Tracking aids in GLP/GMP Regulated Lab Management

lab equipment tracking software

Being responsible for the equipment in a GLP/GMP regulated lab is no easy task. Several compliance requirements have to be adhered to. AssetPulse’s RFID asset tracking solutions have greatly helped streamline the equipment management of such labs.

lab equipment tracking software

lab equipment tracking software

AssetPulse Real-time Asset Tracking Software

Our real-time asset tracking solutions provide an accurate inventory of all equipment across geographic locations. It can detect addition or removal of components in qualified systems like HPLCs. The Lab Manager can be alerted of such movements, thereby triggering a re-qualification process automatically. Failure to re-qualify can have serious technical and financial repercussions.

Before the use of RFID, the equipment databases were woefully out of sync with reality. This resulted in Finance and QA departments to initiate audits often, in order to update their databases. Small teams of scientists/researchers would need to be assembled, to scour the labs looking for equipment, severely impacting their overall productivity.

AssetPulse Asset Tracking Software Maintains Centralized Database of Asset Information

Maintaining accurate inventory of all the equipment and keeping their details up to date can be a full time job. Details include location, manufacturer, model, serial number, receive date, deployment date and all maintenance related information including calibration/maintenance schedules, non-routine repairs, performance verification and revalidation dates. The AssetPulse database allows all such detailed information to be maintained in one central database, accessible to all concerned players including R&D, Quality and Finance personnel.

Further, the database allows all relevant documents to be stored together with the equipment details. IQ/OQ/PQ documents, standard operating procedures, warranty certificates, calibration certificates can be made easily accessible through the database. This allows audits to go a lot quicker, instead of having to sift through a myriad of documents in order to locate the appropriate pieces of paper.

Thus, the use of RFID can effectively bridge any visibility gaps with respect to Asset Management in Analytical labs, hospitals and in pharmaceutical manufacturing supply chains.

 

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How AssetPulse RFID Enabled Asset Tracking Facilitates in Maintenance and Servicing of Equipment?

AssetPulse RFID enabled asset tracking facility

RFID helps equipment owners to maximize the life of their assets by facilitating regular maintenance and repairs of their equipment. RFID can be leveraged across numerous industries for this purpose, including manufacturing, construction, oil and gas and Utilities. Building maintenance professionals who are responsible for HVAC equipment can also greatly benefit from the use of RFID. A CMMS Study finds that 34% of users do not track asset data

According to the study two thirds of them track asset data manually. This can lead to inaccuracies and incomplete information about their assets. Having suboptimal maintenance procedures can greatly impact the longevity and safety of their equipment.

It is important for owners to have a complete picture of their assets, including insight into utilization, allocation, operations, maintenance, safety and regulatory testing of their assets. The reality however is that at any given instant, they may have their assets spread across multiple locations making it difficult to keep asset information reconciled and to ensure that maintenance and safety procedures are executed and recorded in a timely and accurate manner.

AssetPulse’s RFID enabled asset tracking can help professionals efficiently track and assess asset health. How?

All assets are tagged with RFID tags. With the help of AssetGather software, maintenance professionals can track their assets as they move through various locations leveraging the RFID reader infrastructure. This can either be a mobile or fixed infrastructure or a combination of both.

If an asset is serviced, the maintenance team can update maintenance data in the AssetGather system. Or, if an asset has returned from a leased usage, usage information about the asset can be updated in AssetGather.

Critical data can also be stored in the RFID tag itself, so it is available to maintenance professionals locally, even if they have no network access to the centralized system.

Not only does the system allow for  updating maintenance data, AssetGather also provides for proactive alerting of upcoming scheduled maintenance, regulatory testing and other critical attributes for each asset.  Email alerts are a convenient method to warn users of these imminent tasks. Overdue or missed maintenance can also result in escalated notifications.

Maintenance and regulatory documents can be stored digitally within the system. This eliminates the need to search through myriad documents in the case of an audit. Thus, AssetGather facilitates easy access to all asset related data including its movement, operational details, maintenance and regulatory testing information.

AssetPulse RFID enabled asset tracking facility

AssetPulse RFID enabled asset tracking facility

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