The supply chain works when everything comes together exactly how and when it should. Although you can resolve small issues easily as they come up, at scale, companies can face serious consequences when any part of the supply chain breaks down.
And for a lot of companies, there's no Plan B in these situations.Once the supply chain stalls, it takes time and resources to get everything back on track. Businesses face customers left without the products they need, often leading to irreparable damage to the company’s reputation. Losing control of asset inventory, work schedules, vehicle maintenance, or any other part of the chain can mean consequences for both the bottom line and the company’s reputation in the marketplace.
But effective asset management in the supply chain can help you avoid disruptions and ensure reputations, workflows, and revenues remain intact.
Asset management can increase the resilience of your supply chain, from acquiring raw feedstock straight through to the final delivery of products to customers.
What is asset management in the supply chain?
According to the Corporate Finance Institute, asset management is the process of developing, operating, maintaining, and selling assets cost effectively. What you do in terms of asset management directly affects the viability of your supply chain. Ultimately, how you keep track of maintenance issues and the ways in which you interpret trends and data have real consequences.
For example, if part of your responsibilities include being in the loop on warehouse operations, and a driver’s post-trip inspection indicates brake issues on one of the delivery trucks in your fleet, your team’s ability to spring into action regarding a work order informs how long the vehicle remains out of service. Regular maintenance of your entire fleet ensures that all vehicles get out on the road on time.
This highlights just one example of the many scenarios that can call the strength of your supply chain into question.
Asset management can also involve:
- Scheduled maintenance of machines, vehicles, or other physical assets
- Comprehensive work orders that describe critical issues
- Historical and inventory data
- Employee and vendor scheduling
- Institutional knowledge for new team members
Effective asset management in the supply chain can support uptime and in turn, your team’s ability to maintain revenue streams. By contrast, relying solely on a reactive approach to asset management or resistance to leveraging newer technologies can stall productivity. It is important to maintain a “birds-eye view” of the supply chain and anticipate challenges before you find yourself running damage control.
How can you manage assets when faced with supply chain challenges?
There are inherent challenges built into the supply chain; they’re volatile and can ebb and flow over time due to market conditions.
Some supply chain challenges include:
- Rising fuel and labor costs
- Multiple channels to market; for example, local competitor warehouses can deliver goods faster thanks to proximity
- Difficulty in sourcing raw materials
- Regulatory compliance concerns
- Logistical concerns, such as distributors located in different time zones or multiple countries
- Issues with data sharing between internal and external resources
No single organization can predict every situation that might slow down production and delivery. However, the intricacies of your asset management can help you understand how to best prepare for whatever situations might occur. Analyzing historical data informs what you can do next.
Utilizing best practices and updated tools helps you streamline asset management. Here’s a quick breakdown of how.
- Analyze fuel cost trends by reviewing the factors that caused previous fuel hikes
- Source products and raw materials from locations that are near your customers (near-shoring) to reduce transportation costs
- Practice shipping consolidation by scheduling drivers to deliver bulk deliveries located in the same geographical areas and educe packaging sizes and weight
- Work with vendors who show efficiency and cost effectiveness
Promote compliance with preventive maintenance
- Ensure safety and prevent common failures by keeping machines and vehicles on a regular maintenance schedule
- Require drivers to submit post-trip inspection reports with an accurate description of all mechanical issues
- Have trusted vendors at the ready to take on work orders so you can address repairs or other issues quickly
Keep logistics problems at bay
- Keep detailed vendor notes accessible to your ops team; learn who the most dependable and accessible workers are
- Generate detailed work orders so you can address all critical matters
- Provide photo documentation of physical assets
- Develop training material for new team members and vendors
Bottom line: be empowered to take preemptive steps to ensure that supply chain challenges don’t paralyze your operations or damage your company’s reputation.
What is the importance of asset inventory?
Understanding where everything is in the supply chain helps you avoid slowdowns and revenue loss. Maintenance history and the cost and utilization of assets helps to keep your budget on track, too. Generally, asset inventory is a mainstay of any well run operation with multiple moving parts.
Asset management software is a powerful tool with a proven ability to help teams keep track of their asset inventory. The software offers an integrated dashboard where you can access, track, and analyze asset information. Users can search for a particular asset by type, location, owner, and location. Users can pull up asset histories quickly by filtering using specific criteria, including serial numbers, warranties, and installation dates.
Warehouses and distribution centers aren’t the only businesses that can utilize this robust, integrated solution. Hospitals, offices, farms, and any other organizations requiring ongoing asset management can benefit from having valuable data accessible to them at a glance.
Set up a call with one of our experts to discuss how ManagerPlus can help you take charge of your asset management.
Managing assets is integral to keeping your supply chain intact. On a practical level, keeping a good record of parts, labor, machines, and vendor communications ensures that customers get what they need on time. Keeping customers happy is how your organization continues to generate revenue. Having the right software solution can strengthen the supply chain, as your team can continue to have a good understanding of how everything and everyone is performing. Communications between teams is stronger, and you can keep costs within budget.
About the author
Jason is a storyteller at heart with a career spanning everything from film and TV to iPhones. Just don't expect much before his first cup of coffee.