Asset tracking is the ability to track an organization’s assets (location, condition, status, and etcetera) via barcodes, RFID tags, sensors, and GPS (cellular and satellite) trackers. Assets include the inventory an enterprise sells and the machines, equipment, and fleet an enterprise owns. Asset tracking’s objective is to maximize the life and condition of assets, improve compliance, reduce theft and unauthorized use, and increase utilization and ROI. Fleet management, shipping, and long-term asset tracking are a few of the common use cases.

Asset Tracking Use Cases

For fleet management, sensors and GPS trackers are utilized to monitor vehicles’ locations in real-time to ensure they use the most efficient routes. By using the most efficient routes and ideal vehicle speeds; fuel usage and cost are optimized. Driver and environmental safety and vehicle life span are increased by condition monitoring and predictive/preventive maintenance; via the use of OBD devices and analysis of real-time onboard diagnostic information. Non-authorized vehicle use and theft can be minimized with geofence alerts and the ability to disable stolen vehicles. Finally, real-time GPS tracking of shipments increases customer self-service and retention rates. It also reduces delivery status inquiries to customer service.

For delivery, GPS trackers and sensors are used to monitor the shipment status of products in real-time. Current locations down to street address levels are enabled. Geofence alerts are created for real-time notifications when shipments enter or exit certain areas. To ensure product quality and to minimize damage during shipping, sensors can be used to record vibration, shock, temperature, and humidity. For instance, vibration and shock sensors are utilized to record conditions that lead to any damage such as glass breakage. Damaged materials for inbound logistics can disrupt or halt downstream production; especially for Just-in-Sequence environments. Likewise, real-time monitoring can catch the potential disruptions early and implement contingency plans. Finally, temperature and humidity sensors coupled with GPS trackers can determine if perishables are delivered on time within the required humidity and temperature ranges. This helps speed up inbound material quality checks and minimize disruptions from non-compliant materials.

For long-term asset tracking, GPS (cellular and/or satellite) trackers improve the utilization and return on investment for machines and equipment. Real-time reports can determine which assets to sell, to repurpose, and to relocate for different tasks. In real-time, organizations know their assets’ exact locations, current status, and usage history. This information minimizes unauthorized use of equipment, asset theft, and rental of equipment (due to inability to locate assets). Finally, the condition of assets is monitored and status updates sent out for temperature changes, excessive door movements, excessive vibration, and other parameters. These status update alerts are utilized to maximize the availability of machines and equipment via maintenance and other relevant actions.

Unique Asset Tracking Use Case

SMI Consulting Technologies helps organizations track the assets they own and inventory they sell in multiple ways; including via the use cases mentioned above. Asset tracking is also utilized in creative ways to address unique challenges. For instance, a global manufacturer of large luxury products wants to improve it cash conversion or cash-to-cash cycle. Specifically, the company wants to reduce the number of days it takes to collect cash from its credit dealers. The manufacturer offers trade credits to its dealers for up to 180 days with no or minimal interest. Once dealers sell the products, they are not immediately paying off their trade credits. At times, they will pay 90+ days after sales are made. As a result, the manufacturer loses millions of dollars a year from audits and interest due to cash tied up too long in credit sales.

With the use of asset tracking, GPS trackers with SIM cards can be placed on the manufacturer’s high end inventory which ping once or multiple times a day. Even when the products are inside dealers’ warehouses; the nearest Wi-Fi access points and cell towers can provide estimates of the products locations. Daily alerts can be sent when these items are potentially sold by movement from warehouses to customer locations; since the warehouses are geofenced. As a result, the manufacturer can collect cash quicker from its dealers’ credit sales; improving its days sales outstanding (DSO).

Interested to Solve a Common or Unique Asset Tracking Challenge?