Fixed asset management is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for manufacturers looking to manage costs and maintain operations at a high level. However, a recent article from The Wall Street Journal found the current state of manufacturing equipment in the U.S. leaves something to be desired. In fact, the median age for industrial machinery has surpassed the decade mark, according to Morgan Stanley economists.
Are Manufacturers Investing in their Infrastructure?
The Morgan Stanley report found industrial operators in the U.S. increased capital spending by just 3 percent in 2013, which often reflects manufacturers' interest in adding new equipment. In fact, the major equipment manufacturer Caterpillar reduced its capital expenditures from $1.39 billion last year to $710 million in 2014. Instead, the company is focused on buybacks, the WSJ reported.
Why Asset Management Software is Important
With aging equipment and organizations failing to put financial backing into new equipment, it's even more important for manufacturers to keep a close eye on their fixed assets, including plant equipment. Asset management software is a key resource for companies looking to utilize the most convenient way to track their machinery. Software enables flexible data capture through the use of barcode scanning when performing a physical inventory of all assets.
Having a mobile solution for asset management is an effective solution, especially for manufacturers with multiple locations. Automation World recently looked at the benefits of mobile data collection, explaining there are distinct advantages that mobile technology can provide employees working in remote sites. Because of high-speed Web connectivity and data transfer rates, asset management is much more convenient than in the past when workers were forced to work with clipboards and paper-based processes that not only slowed the operation but also contributed to higher error rates. Employees equipped with barcode scanners can rapidly transmit critical information about fixed assets to a central ERP platform.
As a result, manufacturers can more easily run status reports to check on their equipment. In the event of a transfer, managers can locate property quickly because they'll never lose track of assets. What's more, an up-to-date asset inventory can save an organization money through tax assessments. Manufacturers can also prevent exorbitant maintenance costs because they'll have a firm idea of the state of their equipment and can perform repairs before their assets are too far gone.