Organizations need to track and take inventory of their physical assets, or in IoT terminology, their ‘Things’. Inventories are generally performed at scheduled intervals or when an item needs to be located, an ad hoc inventory gets underway. If an asset is scarce, shared across departments, or high in value, the more important it becomes to keep track of it.
When it comes to taking inventory, asset management software needs two components – an application which runs on a scanner, tablet or smartphone that detects the unique ID of a physical asset; and a database where asset information is stored. The system can be hosted in the cloud or on premise. Cloud environments make data collaboration easier, so sharing data among company locations becomes simpler.
The application which runs on a handheld device is the frontline of a system which automates and streamlines the often-tedious task of taking inventory. Key features in the mobile application improve the speed, accuracy, and ease of use of the inventory process.
Starting with collecting inventory data, the mobile app compares results against expected values and categorizes assets as Found, Missing, Misplaced, or New. Assets can be added, edited and asset details viewed directly on the mobile app. If an asset is located in an unexpected or wrong location, exceptions can be corrected in the field. If a new asset is found that is not yet recorded in the system, it can be added on the spot. Using various filters in the software, the inventory taker can focus the inventory on specific types of assets or specific locations.
In addition to having search features for an asset within the software, the Visi-Trac Mobile app includes a local search function to find the physical location of an asset with the aid of an audible alert which becomes louder and more frequent as one gets closer to the target asset. The mobile app synchronizes data between the mobile device and the Visi-Trac database wirelessly, or in environments without wireless connectivity such as warehouses or data centers, data is uploaded via a hard-wired cradle at the end of a shift. The Visi-Trac system can readily integrate and exchange data with enterprise asset management, procurement, and accounting systems.
For organizations who schedule monthly or quarterly inventories, the inventory manager is able to schedule inventories for multiple buildings or locations on a single screen. The tool has a personnel capacity planning feature so that inventories can be planned to complete on time within given resource constraints. Visi-Trac Mobile helps a manager determine:
- If an inventory needs to be completed by x date, how many personnel will be required?
- If I have x number of inventory personnel, given the available working hours, how many days/weeks will it take to complete an inventory?
- If I have only x number of inventory personnel and need to complete an audit in y number of days, how can I adjust the schedule by increasing the number of hours or days to accomplish the goal by the deadline?
Progress of all inventory teams can be viewed in real-time on an enterprise inventory screen.
Visi-Trac Mobile is available on both iOS and Android. This flexibility helps inventory teams be more productive by enabling inventory takers to use a mobile device and O/S compatible with the company’s IT standards. Visi-Trac’s iOS version runs on iOS devices and supports scanning attachments called sleds from firms such as TSL and Zebra.
When an inventory app provides these capabilities so that an inventory crew can rapidly and easily perform the operational process of collecting inventory data, and an inventory manager can schedule inventories, audits, and do resource planning, a company is well on its way to automating and streamlining the whole physical inventory management process.
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