Can you imagine trying to run your operations without key items, like calibrating tools and electronic devices, including handheld data terminals, scanners and tablets? Without reliable and efficient access to assets, it can cause disruption to operations, which in turn results in unnecessary and costly downtime.

Here Julian Adams, Managing Director at Apex Supply Chain Technologies Ltd, shares the seven deadly sins that businesses must avoid to ensure their asset management programmes are efficient and effective.

  1. Centrally-located equipment

While keeping all your assets in one place seems like a good idea, it also means that workers must leave their workspace, travel some distance in many cases and sometimes queue to retrieve their mission critical assets.  This ‘walk and wait’ time decreases productivity and increases costs.

  1. Manual asset check out and return

In some operations, a staff member manually issues, accepts and tracks assets. This is a common approach to managing equipment such as handheld data terminals, scanners, tablets and calibrated tools.  Depending on the size of the operation, this job can be a part-time or full-time position. Either way, when it is viewed on a ‘per transaction’ basis, it’s an expensive, inefficient and unreliable way to manage assets.

  1. Self-service asset check out and return

Self-service processes can be even more ineffective as far as managed processes go.  Workers can take and return mission-critical assets from unattended storerooms, cabinets and other storage places without supervision or observation.  While there is no asset manager labour cost, there is also little control of these assets. Inaccurate or incomplete data capture makes it almost impossible to manage these mission-critical resources effectively.

  1. Ineffective tracking and accountability

Most systems still rely on log books or manual scanning to record where and when an asset is issued.  This can lead to inaccurate or incomplete data due to errors or shortcuts in logging or scanning. When items go missing, it’s difficult to track exactly where assets are or to hold workers accountable.  And there is no accurate audit trail for safety, quality and regulatory compliance.

  1. Assets not ready for action

Some mission-critical assets need to be calibrated or serviced regularly to ensure they are ready for use when needed.  Without proper management, workers may find that the assets they need are not ready for action. Replacing the item results in unscheduled downtime and a loss of productivity.

  1. ‘Hoarding’ and ‘misplaced’ assets

With ineffective or non-existent controls in place for devices or equipment some workers feel the need to build their own, readily-available supply.  Insufficient control may also lead to the loss of assets such as two-way radios and power tools, which can be used outside of the work environment.  This all increases replacement costs and productivity suffers due to a shortage of resources.

  1. Frequent searches for assets

When accurate real-time data is not available on the whereabouts of handheld scanners, for example, workers will spend significant amounts of time searching for and retrieving them.  When it comes to tasks that decrease productivity, estimates suggest these searches can account for up to 40 per cent of a supervisor’s misspent time.

There are many ways that the mismanagement of assets is failing businesses.  But there is hope, in the form of automated systems, which are able to track, manage and control assets in the workplace.

Automated locker systems replace inefficient manual processes with technology that manages check-out/check-in processes, provides 24/7 access and availability at the point of use, improves control and accountability and eliminates asset loss and replacement costs.

Automated lockers containing these vital devices and equipment can be conveniently located in multiple areas around a facility. This makes them easily accessible to the workers who need them.  Workers simply scan an ID card or enter a code on the key pad or touch screen to open the locker and retrieve or return their asset.  An automated locker system can be set up to grant access to only those assets that have been authorised for specific users.

Automated locker systems, like those available from Apex Supply Chain Technologies®, rely on cloud-based software to capture every transaction and detail so that data can show which assets have been checked out, by whom and when.

It also manages loan periods for each asset by sending notifications automatically if an item is not returned on time. Certification and calibration downtime can also be managed automatically by the system, and some systems can even capture reasons for return such as the need for an inspection or a repair.

With an Apex automated locker system, all data, reports and audit trails can be viewed on demand and in real-time, helping monitor accountability and compliance.

For businesses struggling with mission-critical asset management, salvation has arrived.

For more information about Apex Supply Chain Technologies and Automated Dispensing solutions, please visit, email, or call 0800 840 4776.