Your equipment is a vital part of your business. But are you making the most of it? Read on to discover our 8 tips to improve your business’ effectiveness and productivity!
Each tip on its own will save you money and time managing the equipment in your inventory, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you implement all of the advice below, equipment inventory management will have a much bigger impact on your business.
1. Know what you have
Do you know exactly what equipment is in your inventory? You might have an idea, even though we believe the combined value of all your supporting equipment is probably higher than you’d expect.
Even if you have an overview, is it a living thing? A list of the equipment in your inventory from a year ago is worth less than the paper it is printed on.
Your equipment inventory list should be:
- Complete: include all of your assets
- Accurate: provide enough information – value, location, capabilities, …
- Up-to-date: always reflect your changing inventory
2. Track how it is used
Once you know what you have, the next step is knowing exactly how it is being used. There are several questions you should be able to answer for each piece of equipment in your inventory:
- How often is it used
- Who uses it
- When and where is it used
When you know what you have and how it is used you can make informed decisions about your current and future equipment management strategy. Time to start making improvements!
3. Right asset, right place, right time
If you have multiple locations, how should you divide your assets between them? An equal division sounds logical but is not effective, as demand for equipment is unlikely to be the same everywhere.
With accurate and up-to-date usage data you can deploy your assets where they are needed most. Why have equipment gathering dust in one place when there is a shortage elsewhere?
Demand and supply fluctuate over time as well. Offering a discount might let you make money on items that weren’t going to be used anyway, or you can rent extra equipment yourself to bridge short periods of increased demand.
4. Don’t spend more – spend smarter
One way to ensure that the right equipment is available at the right time is to buy more of everything. But this is inherently wasteful – some of the extra equipment will be put to good use, while the rest will simply sit in storage.
Luckily we can avoid this waste, based on the information we gathered in the earlier steps. By prioritizing your spending on the equipment that is used most you can get the most bang for your buck!
5. Fix things before they break
Would you rather:
- A: Spend an hour every week making sure your equipment is in great shape
- B: Spend a day every month repairing equipment that has broken down
Even looking simply at time spent maintenance is clearly the best choice. And while equipment always seems to break down at the worst time possible, you can plan your maintenance ahead of time.
Equipment that is used all the time is obviously more valuable to your business than equipment that is used once a week. But it is also more likely to break down, so it is in higher need of regular maintenance. Plan maintenance based on need, instead of a fixed schedule for all equipment, to make optimal use of your time.
And because you know when your equipment is most likely to be idle you can schedule maintenance to reduce its impact on the rest of your business.
6. Find underlying issues
If an important piece of equipment breaks down once, it’s an annoyance. But what if it keeps breaking down, over and over? Now that you have data on your equipment, use it!
Look for trends so you can find underlying issues instead of scratching the surface.
Perhaps the breakdowns are caused by an employee who didn’t receive the proper training and has been using the equipment the wrong way. In this case replacing the equipment won’t solve the problem – it’ll just cost you more money in the long run!
7. Buy the best
Inevitably equipment will have to be replaced or upgraded. But here again you can use the information you’ve gathered to spend your money smarter.
- Which brands cause the most issues?
- Which equipment is liked best?
- Which equipment loses you the most time and money by breaking down?
8. Use the right equipment inventory system
You can of course try to keep track of this information with pen and paper, for instance using an equipment signout form to know who’s using the gear – just as you can still use horse-drawn carts to get around.
Spreadsheets are another option – but that option has drawbacks as well.
We might be slightly biased, but we truly do believe that using a modern, user-friendly equipment inventory system is the best solution for your business. It automates a lot of the background work, so you can focus on the things that really matter.
We hope that these tips can help you make the most out of your equipment. Spending a bit of time here can have a massive impact on your business’s efficiency and profits!