The Smart Service Dispatch

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October 1, 2020

 

Guide to Field Service Assets and Asset Management Software

As your field service business grows, good asset management and asset management software will serve you well.

For field service businesses, asset management represents an important consideration that can eat up a lot of time and cause a lot of frustration. In this article, we’ll discuss the obstacles that you will encounter when managing assets, and some of the best ways to overcome those obstacles. 

What is an asset?

Before we dive in, let’s establish a clear definition of an “asset.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “asset” as an “advantage” or “resource.” In the context of field service, an asset is a company-owned piece of equipment that the company uses to help complete jobs. The asset can deprecate in value over time if not properly cared for.

What are some examples of assets in the field service industry?

Assets can vary widely in their form, function, usefulness, and value. Some common examples include company vans or trucks, construction vehicles such as bulldozers, backhoes, or dump trucks, ditch digging or post digging machines, drain snakes, refuse containers, lawnmowers or snowplows, and fabrication machinery. Some uncommon examples include refrigerators, cargo containers, temperature monitors, lights, farming machinery, and horses. As you can see, assets are quite varied, and that begs the next question: what asset is right for me?

What is the best asset for my company?

Since assets can range so widely in form, function, and value, one way to appraise them comes in the form of return on investment. Since assets depreciate naturally over time—even with regular care and maintenance—it becomes imperative to assess assets from a financial standpoint. An asset could be valued at $25,000 and be worth every penny, but will you be able to make that money back (and then some) through the use of that asset? Will the asset allow you to take on higher paying jobs? Will these higher paying jobs compromise the value of the asset? Assessing the risk/reward of investing in a particular asset is one of the keys to proper asset management. Every company and every situation is different, so there is no one single answer. 

How do I maintain the value of an asset?

Assets lose value naturally over time, a process called depreciation. However, not properly maintaining the integrity of your asset—whether through lack of regular washing or tune-ups or inspections—can cause your asset to depreciate prematurely. In addition, while performing work which requires the use of your asset, the asset could become damaged. The key to maintaining the value of your asset? Plan ahead. Spending that extra ten minutes to schedule recurring maintenance can drastically improve the lifespan of your asset. Doing a little bit here and there and keeping up with general maintenance is the best approach.

How do I assign/schedule an asset?

Assigning an asset to a job or scheduling an asset for a service call sounds like a pretty straightforward task, and at times this is indeed the case. However, logistical management is often the culmination of the previously presented questions. Sure you can assign or schedule your asset to any job that you see fit, but why use a sledgehammer for a small nail when a regular hammer will do? Perhaps there are three jobs that you have lined up that all could better use a particular asset. The asset cannot be in three places at the same time, and neither can its qualified operators. You need to ensure that your company does not simultaneously book two jobs that require the same key asset. Furthermore, assigning or scheduling downtime or maintenance will ensure that your asset will continue to work for you well into the future. Of course, doing this means leaving some time slots free for such maintenance to take place. 

How do I manage an asset?

In general, managing assets is accomplished by assessing what kind of asset you are currently working with, assessing any liabilities (whether in investing or while performing a job), ensuring that it is fit for service through good care and maintenance, and assigning the asset to jobs in a logistically proper way. However, practically speaking, this all involves a hefty amount of paperwork/record keeping. From the investment research paperwork to the purchase paperwork to the owner’s manual to scheduling sheet, a lot goes into getting the most out of your asset. Of course, workers that spend their days in the field struggle to complete such paper-heavy administrative tasks. So then, what is the best way to manage an asset?

Managing an Asset with Software

Software can be an excellent resource for managing all of the information about your assets. Instead of having to work with a stack of physical paperwork, you can enter in all of the information about your asset into a field service management program, thus keeping all the information on that asset in one convenient spot. Furthermore, you can take that asset information out in the field with you, without having to worry about lugging a large binder everywhere and running the possibility of losing it. 

Managing an Asset with Smart Service

The asset management software Smart Service is one such solution. In Smart Service, you can view vital information related to your assets, review service information, downtime, and even schedule jobs and maintenance checks for your assets. Smart Service will also prevent you from scheduling your assets while they are already in use. If you’d like to learn more about Smart Service asset management, request a free demo today.