Best Practices

Where to Start
Track IT Equipment
Use Unique Identifier As The Barcode
Use Simple Barcode Format
Purchase Preprinted Barcodes
Give Easy Access to Barcodes
Maintain One Database
Maintain Detailed Locations
Use Location Barcodes
Select Appropriate Handheld Connectivity
Barcode Other Information
Minimize Data Sent To Handhelds
Do Not Send Software License Asset Records To Handhelds
Maintain Data Integrity
Populate CG4 Server Database
Hide Unused Fields On Handhelds
Do Baseline Inventory First
Do Verification Inventory Second
Perform Regular Periodic Inventory
Reuse Equipment
Suggest Departmental Accountability
Be in Compliance
Minimize Property Taxes
Eliminate Unnecessary Maintenance Contracts
Scan Non-Discoverable Assets
Consider Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Ask CG4

Where to Start

Some customers are not certain where they should start when beginning to track their assets more thoroughly. Refer to the Asset Tracking Basics document.

Track IT Equipment

Many of our customers focus a large percentage of their asset tracking efforts on tracking their IT equipment.

Use Unique Identifier As The Barcode

Most commonly a unique identifying barcode is all that is necessary to track your assets. The handheld scanner matches the barcode and then pulls up the relevant asset record. Some companies decide to include text information in the barcode. It is quite a bit more effort and usually yields minimal incremental benefits.

Use Simple Barcode Format

Many great new barcode formats are available. Some of the barcodes can store a great deal of information, but most of our customers have been able to accomplish all their asset tracking desires by using simple, standard barcodes.

Purchase Preprinted Barcodes

Pre-printed labels are the best choice for asset labels. Pre-printed labels are more flexible, have greater adherence properties, and are more durable. We offer a full range of custom or standard formats designed specifically for asset labeling.

Give Easy Access To Barcodes

If the barcode is on the front of the asset, the technician scanning barcodes will be much more efficient than if they need to reach around, behind, or underneath the asset to be able to scan.

Maintain One Database

By having only one server running for all of your handhelds, it reduces any administrative efforts required to support the users. You can have hundreds of simultaneous handhelds synchronizing so there is no need to maintain separate instances of production servers.

Maintain Detailed Locations

The more detailed the locations and sub-locations, the easier it is for your support personnel to find the asset. It is common for technicians to add unnecessary time to their assigned work because they cannot find the asset. You may not necessarily take the time to go down to the cubicle level, but in general, additional location details are helpful. For instance, it is better to know which floor of a building rather than to know only which building. And, it is even better to know which area of the floor rather than to know only the floor.

Use Location Barcodes

If a technician is able to scan a location barcode as they enter an area, it saves time and increases the accuracy of the location information rather than having to select a location manually on the handheld. On the location barcode, include the human-readable name of the location. Do not barcode the actual name of the location. Use a unique location identifier. If you barcode the location name and later decide to change the location naming conventions, you will have to redo your location barcodes. Using a unique location identifier as the location barcode to scan, will eliminate this problem.

Select Appropriate Handheld Connectivity

Some customers have a wireless infrastructure in place which gives them the option to purchase handhelds that can connect wirelessly into the corporate network. If your technicians need to sync their data many times during the day or if you have a million assets in your database, then wireless may be the way to go.  If you prefer to have closer to real-time updates from the field technicians, then online/connected is the way to go.  If your technicians are operating in offline/batch mode and need to sync just a couple of times a day (maybe at lunch and at the end of the day), then using a standard batch handheld in a cradle will probably work for you.  If you are using scanners or smartphones that may need to be online at times and offline at other times, your technicians can operate either way. 

Barcode Other Information

Barcodes are helpful because they are very accurate. Most people understand the benefits of making your unique asset identification a barcode so that you can scan it quickly, but there are other things you may want to consider barcoding. Creating location barcodes and affixing them to the doorways around your facilities is very common. Continuing down that same line of thinking, if you have a task your technicians are doing where there is repetitive input of the same information, you can prepare a scan sheet that they can use to scan that information into the appropriate field on the handheld. If you are adding new assets quite a bit with the handhelds and most of the new assets are from a relatively short list of models, you might want to prepare a model scan sheet to help them be more efficient while creating new assets.

Minimize Data Sent To Handhelds

The less total data you send to the handheld, the shorter the synchronization. If you are sending more than 40,000 records to a handheld for a field technician, you probably could spend a little time analyzing your data load. You can load hundreds of thousands of assets without any problem, but it just takes a few more minutes for the sync time to load the assets to the scanner.  Here are a couple of data optimization items for you to consider. Use the location and category grouping assignments for each user to define which asset records to send to a user’s handheld profile. Decide if you need the entire location list or only those locations within the user’s location grouping assignment. Look at the employee and models lists to make sure they match the types of hardware assets that are being included on the scanners. There are many more strategies to consider. Give us a call, we would love to discuss these strategies with you.

Do Not Send Software License Asset Records To Handhelds

Regardless of whether you are operating in stand alone or pass through mode, it is usually not needed to send software asset records to a handheld. The handheld is looking for a physical asset to scan. You can restrict sending software license asset records to your handheld by using the category grouping assignments. There are other ways to manage this too. Give us a call, we would love to discuss options with you.

Maintain Data Integrity

When possible, use dropdowns to edit field values. If you are updating status, category, brand, models, locations, employees, etc, using a dropdown will ensure that your database is consistent. If you decide to make using driodiwns optional or let users enter values as free text, you will end up with multiple instances of similiar data values such as capitalization, abbreviation, misspelling, etc. Dropdowns are just one of the many types of features available to you in Asset Tracking System.

Populate CG4 Server Database

The handhelds receive data that is populated in the CG4 server. The most common way to populate the CG4 server is using import files. If you have data available, this is the most efficient way to get started. In pass through mode, these files may be provided by a data bridging tool that can extract data from your system. If you only have your assets in a spreadsheet, you can do a little work there to be able to import your data from the spreadsheet. Some customers do not have any confidence in their existing asset data or they have no existing database of assets. These customers generally elect to add all the assets as new assets to the handheld. It takes a while, but when they are done, they have a very accurate asset database. If you are using the CG4 Asset Tracking System in stand alone mode, you can also optionally use the fully-functional web interface to add or to edit all the assets. Give us a call and we can help you select the most effective option for you.

Hide Unused Fields On Handhelds

After you determine which fields of information you want to have on the handhelds, you should hide the other available fields. The simpler the handhelds screens are for the users, the more efficient the users will be.

Do Baseline Inventory First

The first step is to do a quick baseline inventory so that you can determine where your known assets are and which assets are missing.

Do Verification Inventory Second

Once you have done a baseline inventory, the next inventory efforts could include a more detailed and thorough inventory reviewing/editing all asset fields rather then just a few fields when doing a baseline inventory effort.

Perform Regular Periodic Inventory

Consider performing periodic inventories throughout the year rather than just doing a full inventory once a year. The ongoing inventory is constructive and has a steady amount of personnel hours required throughout the year. By doing periodic inventories throughout the year, you do not need everyone to stop what they are doing to help with an inventory and you do not need to have as many handheld scanners.

Reuse Equipment

When considering purchasing new equipment, review the inactive equipment list of assets that you already own. Check stock rooms. As a result of your inventory efforts, you have accurate asset information and you may be able to use equipment from one end of your organization instead of buying new equipment.

Suggest Departmental Accountability

Some organizations go to the effort to allocate the costs of assets to particular departments or cost centers. When department managers are charged for equipment they request, it is interesting to see the reduction in “must have” asset purchases they submit to the budgeting process.

Be in Compliance

Accurately keeping track of where your assets are is not only good business and saves your compnay money, it also is a key component of complying with Sarbanes-Oxley, GASB 34, filings, or internal mandates. If you are doing a good job tracking your assets, then being in compliance with reporting requirements and filings is much more of a constructive effort than a managed problem task. Asset Tracking System is the tool you need to make compliance as painless as possible.

Minimize Property Taxes

When doing verification inventories and when doing daily moves, adds, and changes, you need to update the status of the asset. This type of information and knowing if an asset is retired or not helps to reduce property taxes–which are commonly overpaid by companies.

Eliminate Unnecessary Maintenance Contracts

With increased accuracy of asset information, look for maintenance that you may be paying on assets that are no longer in use.

Scan Non-Discoverable Assets

Make sure and scan the assets that are inactive or offline. Discovery and barcode scanning compliment each other. RFID can also be a compliment to your overall asset tracking goals.

Consider Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Depending on what you want to accomplish and what your budget is, RFID can be an effective part of your asset tracking efforts. Call to discuss with us your objectives and we will make suggestions.

Ask CG4

If you have a question about the best way to accomplish your objectives, give us a call and we will be a sounding-board for you. You can also refer to the Asset Tracking Basics and Return on Investment ideas.