Reusable asset being moved between facilities.

Asset Visibility: In-Facility and Cross-Facility

As your business grows, so will the number of reusable assets to track. It’s vital to track these reusable assets as they move through the supply chain

The ability to see all of your assets across every facility and every process is a powerful tool for any organization. Real-time visibility into the entire supply chain helps you make better decisions that help optimize operations, improve customer service, and reduce risks and costs.

Asset visibility is divided into two types: in-facility asset visibility and cross-facility visibility. Let’s look at the difference between these — and how asset tracking across the supply chain improves decision-making for your business. 

What Is Asset Visibility?

Asset visibility is the capability to provide accurate information on all assets of a business: equipment, supplies, personnel, and more. The term “asset visibility” comes from the armed forces, an organization extremely concerned with the location and movement of equipment and personnel. 

In business, assets are necessary for a company’s day-to-day processes to ensure continued usability. Although a company’s inventory of parts and products are considered assets, their purpose is different. The main difference between the two is that a business sells inventory to make money. In other words, all inventory items are assets, but not all assets are inventory. 

At one time, asset visibility relied on manual processes, such as pen and paper or manual entry into a spreadsheet. Now, automation of those processes makes for a faster, more organized collection of information from data sources. For our purposes, we will be focusing on reusable asset visibility. Reusable assets include shipping containers, totes, reusable pallets, and other multiple-use cases.  

How Is Asset Visibility Different From Asset Management

Though they may seem similar, asset management is the process of understanding what a company’s assets are, where they are located, and whether or not they are functional. Asset management also includes all of the initiatives taken after data collection so that company decision makers can identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities and undertake optimization of processes to maximize the return of the assets. Asset management is only as good as the decisions made to streamline and maximize processes to reduce risks and increase profitability. 

In-Facility Asset Visibility

In-facility asset visibility is knowledgeable about all of a company’s assets within a single facility. One facility can cover millions of square feet, so visibility of assets within a given plant, warehouse, or yard is vital. 

QR codes, barcodes, and RFID tags are all different locating technologies utilized for asset visibility in a facility. The type of tracking technology (or technologies) depends on the size of the facility, its layout, and the number of assets tracked. RFID stands for radio frequency identification, which can transmit data without the need to physically scan the item. 

Cross-Facility Asset Visibility

Cross-facility asset visibility is information about reusable assets when they move to another company facility or the facility of a different company. As with in-facility asset visibility, technology has greatly increased the capability to gather information about assets as they travel the supply chain. Advancements in RFID technology provide instant notifications when assets leave a facility, how long they are in transit, and when they arrive at their destination. 

The Importance of Asset Visibility

Knowledge is a valuable resource, and asset visibility gives decision makers the knowledge they require. In-facility asset visibility virtually eliminates the chances of losing assets — and if they are, it makes finding those assets easy. This technology avoids needless shipping delays and improves customer satisfaction for those clients expecting their products. 

Cross-facility asset visibility provides similar advantages but on an even larger scale. Data shows where bottlenecks may be present in your supply chain — and if reusable assets tend to gather at certain locations. This dwell time allows you to pinpoint areas that need to be improved. The lack of reusable assets within a certain area can create unnecessary downtime.

Data on those assets is collected automatically and uploaded to the data management system of your choice, eliminating the need for physical data recording and speeding up employees’ workflow. Tracking technology metrics aggregate from your data center into a dashboard configuration with different measurements displayed in modules for straightforward interpretation. Asset tracking saves management time by not spending time on handwritten notes or multiple spreadsheets

Asset Tracking: Saving Money and Time   

Asset tracking (whether in one facility or across multiple installations) provides valuable data that is part of a business’s overall supply chain management strategy. The ability to track reusable assets, know where they are, and ensure that they all return to their point of origin can have a larger effect on things like pricing and sustainability

Don’t wait to implement asset tracking into your business or facility. RTI can help you with in-facility and cross-facility asset tracking and make it part of your IoT (internet of things). Contact RTI today and learn more about our asset management solutions!