New User Orientation
If you are new to asset management this overview will get you off to a strong start.
Building an asset management record follows a logical process.
In this section you will find:
- System requirements
- Terms and definitions
- Basic steps for building a data structure
- Asset management basics
All you need is a computer with an internet connection and a web browser
Tracmor is a web-based asset management service that allows users to access information from anywhere — all you need is a computer and a browser. Other devices that can work with Tracmor include a barcode scanner and portable devices that connect to the internet, such as smart phones.
Browser recommendation: the latest version of Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari.
Data and connection security
Your data remains secure through several levels of controls:
- Your company’s Tracmor administrator sets permissions so that only authorized users have access according to their role.
- 256 bit encryption protects all browser communications transmitted or received via HTTPS.
- The database is always available on the web, and is always backed up by redundant cloud based hosting.
- Data is easily exported and CSV snapshots can be downloaded to your computer at any time.
Tracking Assets versus Inventory
When considering how to structure your asset information, step back a moment and consider what types of things you are tracking. One distinction you will want to make is between assets and inventory (you will notice, once you log in, that the first tab is “Assets” and the second is “Inventory”).
- Assets: These are items of value that you want to track closely, such as computers, printers, phones, vehicles, office furniture, specialized equipment or tools, and associated documents such as manuals. With Tracmor you can maintain a complete history of each time an asset is moved, checked in or out, shipped, or received, throughout the asset’s life.
- Inventory: These are items that are used once or last only a short time, also referred to as consumables. Such items do not need to be tracked closely, but knowing the quantity on hand is valuable so that they can be easily reordered, for instance. Examples of inventory items include office supplies such as staples, notebooks, and markers, perishables of any kind, and items that are used only once, such as bandages or disposable tubing. Not all companies need to track consumables, but the inventory tracking option is there if you need it.
Using Categories, Manufacturers, and Locations
The next important thing to know is that in order to create a unique asset record, you will be associating specific types of information. The fundamental building blocks are these three data types:
- Categories: This level is generic and allows you to sort assets or inventory into groups. Examples of categories include computers, monitors, cars, trucks, motorcycles. The level of detail depends on your overall scheme, but keep in mind that categories are a defining element of a model (see definition and diagrams below).
- Manufacturers: The source of an item is a defining characteristic that helps distinguish assets or inventory items from each other. If all your items come from one source you will need only one entry. More commonly, your list of manufacturers will include many asset sources. For instance, if you are creating records for computers, create a complete list of manufacturers for every type of computer you will be tracking. In addition, include the manufacturer of any peripherals such as monitors or connectors to help track such items. This becomes important when you wish to establish “parent” and “child” relationships so that system components stay associated.
- Locations: This describes where an asset or inventory item is physically placed or stored. Examples include warehouse, building, office, or cubicle, adding as much detail as needed. For instance you could create locations as simple as “Room 22” or as specific as “Building 100, Room 22, Shelf 5A”.
Using Models and Asset Tags
|A diagram of a Tracmor model.||An asset tag.|
Once lists for categories, manufacturers, and locations are in place, the stage is set to begin associating unique information to build models:
- Model: This is where you connect a category and manufacturer to a model name (enter it in the short description field) and a model number (this is usually the manufacturer’s model or part number). In short, a model is a class of assets that have a minimum of these four attributes in common. You can add additional attributes, such as an image and a longer description, but these are optional.
Once models are developed, the next step is to assign a unique asset tag and also a location to each asset. (This can be done for each asset individually, or the information can be imported.) Before importing data you can also create custom fields that will help track other types of information such as specific asset characteristics, or the date the asset was installed, inspected, or serviced.
- Asset tag: The number that you create to track this item within your organization. Although you can create any alpha-numeric numbering scheme that works for your organization, the recommendation is to use numbers only, and to start with a very high value so that the identifier can easily be serialized. Note: Tracmor’s barcode printing option is handy for printing asset tag labels that can be affixed to each asset.
Building the database
The recommended steps for creating your asset management data set follow.
Note: These steps are an overview; step-by-step instructions are available here: https://tracmor.zendesk.com/entries/21815902-how-do-i-import-data
- Create a list for each required data type:
- Enter (or import) a list of categories through the Admin tab.
- Enter (or import) a list of manufacturers through the Admin tab.
- Enter (or import) a list of locations through the Admin tab.
- Create models by associating a short description and model number with the category and manufacturer (both of which are already in the database).
- Create an asset record by assigning a model to a unique asset tag and the asset’s location. (Additional options include creating custom fields, adding an image, adding attachments such as a manual, copy of a sales contract, or other information, and creating parent/child relationships.)
Putting it all together
What does an asset’s record ultimately consist of? Two examples illustrate the components of a typical asset record.
1) Prepare a list of each of the following four required data types to be used in the tracking system:
Categories, Manufacturers, Short Descriptions, and Model Numbers
2) Create models based on the four required data types. You may have many different models.
3) Create unique asset records and assign them each an individual asset tags and location. You can also assign each asset with an image, custom fields, parent asset, or child assets.
Once the asset record is in place you will want to begin tracking your asset. For that you will need to enter (or import) contact information for companies, shippers, and users. Once this information in place — and you can add it as you go — you will be able to:
- Track shipping and receiving
- Track when assets are moved
- Reserve assets
- Check assets in and out
- Generate reports
- Print asset tags (barcode labels)
Advanced Features: Next Steps
If you are familiar with the Tracmor interface, you might want to try a few of the more advanced features.
Administrators: controls and permissions are set under the Admin tab.
Advanced features include:
- Create new user accounts
- Manage existing user accounts
- Reset user passwords
- Using a portable device
- Generating asset audit reports
- Generating a packing slip
- Creating barcodes for personnel, assets, inventory, and locations and using them to simplify tracking
- Updating large data sets.
- Archiving records to save space if you are approaching a data record limit