I’ve seen hundreds of organizations put fixed asset tracking software in place over the years – some succeed, some achieve moderate results, and some fail. In my experience, success or failure has less to do with whether or not a solution does what it’s designed to do and quite a bit more to do with whether or not the solution actually does what the customer needs it to do. Because of this, it’s crucial to select the right solution for your organization. Below are some pre-purchase tips to help ensure your asset tracking success, before you ever scan an asset.
Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel
Thinking about building a solution in-house to ensure you get exactly what you want? Don’t. Almost every customer I talk to that has in-house asset tracking software is looking for an off-the-shelf system to replace it. Why? Because building software from scratch takes much longer than you think and the functionality typically doesn’t come close to what mature, off-the-shelf software solutions can offer.
Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) like RedBeam have invested thousands of hours and millions of dollars developing asset tracking solutions based on expert industry knowledge and feedback from tens of thousands of customers who are trying to do the same thing you are. Also, a good asset tracking software manufacturer will maintain the product for you and continuously deliver enhancements and improvements.
Numerous feature-rich, highly configurable, off-the-shelf asset tracking software systems are available, so there’s no need to develop one yourself. Instead, focus on defining your requirements and evaluating off-the-shelf solutions that meet them.
Do Your Homework Before You Buy
There’s a popular story that’s been circulating for decades: A woodsman was once asked, “What would you do if you had just five minutes to chop down a tree?” He answered, “I would spend the first two and a half minutes sharpening my axe.” The same should be true with your asset tracking software selection. A little time spent up front can mean the difference between success and failure.
I’ve found that customers who follow this simple evaluation process tend to choose solutions that meet their needs and achieve excellent results:
- Clearly define your requirements – Examples include being able to use existing asset tags, having RFID asset tracking functionality, or being able to generate specific reports. A simple spreadsheet list will do.
- Create a short list of vendors – Talk to a value-added reseller (VAR) or search online. Identify at least three potential asset tracking software providers that look like they might be a good fit.
- Schedule product demonstrations – This is the best way for you to determine if the system will do what you need. Even if you like the first one you see, take the time to evaluate all of them. You might change your mind.
- Ask the right questions – In addition to product features, make sure you ask about things like mobile device support, reconfigurability and scalability.
- Compare functionality and pricing – Rule out the products that don’t meet your needs. Compare the ones that do. The definition of a user license may vary by vendor, so you’ll want to take that into account.
Vendors and manufacturer reps are intimately familiar with the automatic data collection (ADC) industry and its offerings, and the good ones will be there to help you throughout this entire process.
Short-Term Thinking and the Future of Asset Tracking Software
Operating systems, mobile devices and data collection technology change regularly. Technology evolves at a rapid pace, so you’ll want to find an asset tracking solution that is as future-proof as possible. Here’s the direction asset tracking software appears to be heading:
- Nothing to install;
- Ability to access from anywhere;
- Secure and scalable; and
- Support for barcode, RFID and other sensor technologies such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) beacons.
You’ll also want to choose an asset tracking software vendor with a clear vision for the future direction of their solution. Their commitment to enhancements and improvements will help ensure your asset tracking system will remain viable for years to come.
Are you looking for asset tracking software? Our non-commission pre-sales support team is standing by to help you determine product fit and configuration.