What is fixed asset management?

Fixed asset management is the process of tracking and maintaining an organization’s physical assets and equipment. Asset types include vehicles, computers, furniture and machinery.

Using an asset management system, organizations can:

  • Track and monitor fixed assets
  • Oversee equipment and machinery in multiple locations
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Improve operational efficiency
  • Maintain a record of retired, sold, stolen or lost assets

Fixed asset management enables organizations to monitor equipment and vehicles, assess their condition, and keep them in good working order. In this way, they minimize lost inventory, equipment failures and downtime — and improve an asset’s lifetime value.

Why fixed asset management is important

Fixed assets such as servers, transport trucks and elevators require a large capital investment. They may comprise a large portion of a company’s net worth. In some businesses, as much as 40 percent of investment goes to buying equipment and vehicles.(1)

The better and more effectively a company manages its assets, the greater the prospect of maximizing value from these investments. Without fixed asset management, an organization may experience:

  • Unplanned downtime
  • Equipment failures
  • Misplaced or lost inventory
  • Safety or environmental breaches
  • Failure to meet compliance or regulatory standards

For companies with large inventories, the results may convert into millions of dollars in lost productivity, repairs, replacement or fines. Beyond immediate costs, substandard equipment can impact the quality of an organization’s services or products — in turn, affecting customer satisfaction and business reputation.

According to the ISO 55000 international standard, asset management should maximize value for money.(2) Ideally, fixed asset management improves the quality and useful life of equipment and ensures the best return on investment.

Key features

Fixed asset management can be complex, especially for global enterprises or companies with large inventories — like a car rental business or manufacturing multinational.

Small organizations may use spreadsheets or enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools for asset tracking. However, manual data entry is prone to error. It can also be a slow method for staying on top of fixed asset inventory, when fleets of vehicles are moved between locations or the technology is complex.

In her asset management blog, Watson IoT Content Director Sarah Dudley outlines a common scenario: “You have five vehicles. Maybe you have a notebook where you keep track of when each needs an oil change, new wiper blades or a new set of tires…Now you have 500 vehicles. You’re beginning to see the issues that start to arise. If only you had a database where you could easily track this information with no risk of it getting lost or misplaced. This is the purpose an asset management system serves.”

Asset tracking software and management solutions offer a reliable way to oversee fixed assets. Included are features like location tracking, work order processing and audit trails.

Asset management software

Smaller operations may benefit from a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). The automation software assists with scheduling, management and reporting of maintenance activities. Features include: handling workflows, resourcing and routing, operating and repair guidance, and reporting and auditing.

For large operations, an enterprise asset management system like IBM Maximo provides a central platform for managing all fixed assets. It integrates asset data from across the asset lifecycle: acquisition, operations, maintenance, depreciation and renewal or replacement.

With a complete view, organizations gain insight into their complex asset environments. They’re better informed to manage asset health. Features and workflows help them optimize management tasks and reduce downtime. Teams also have an enterprise view of safety and environmental controls, the better to address issues and risks.

IoT and AI

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers deep insights and enables greater control of fixed assets. IBM Watson IoT software, for example, correlates data from sensors and devices to provide timely visibility into asset health and performance. It enhances asset management by analyzing status, assessing value and risk, and anticipating failures.

AI uses machine learning to gauge asset status and enable predictive maintenance. The technology gathers asset data (from sensors, telemetry, work orders, even weather events) and uses algorithms to see patterns or trends and develop forecasting models. The information, coupled with predictive scoring, enables the system to prescribe preemptive tactics or strategies.

Blockchain

Blockchain is a secure, shared ledger that records every transaction in a business network. In terms of fixed asset tracking, the technology helps:

  • Establish provenance of equipment and services across the asset supply chain
  • Record safety-related transactions such as permits and incidents
  • Provide an audit trail across the network
  • Provide oversight into damage and warranty related claims

“A blockchain means that all the activities that have been performed on an asset are verified and create an accurate record for asset managers to use,” says IBM lead product architect Russell Bee in his asset management blog. “They use these records to analyze performance, risks and to make strategic decisions about their equipment as part of their planning cycles.”

Case studies

Kone

See how this customer uses IBM Watson IoT to monitor and optimize management of millions of elevators, escalators, doors and turnstiles in buildings and cities worldwide.

Schiphol Airport

Learn how this customer uses IBM Maximo and "digital twins" in its quest to become the most innovative airport in the world.

Sodexo

See how Sodexo brings 24,000 buildings and 1.2 million assets to the cloud with IBM Maximo software as a service, for a 20 percent decrease in cost of ownership.

Explore client success stories with Maximo in different industries worldwide.

Featured offerings

IBM Maximo Asset Management

Optimize your asset planning, maintenance and control – and streamline your global operations, from procurement to contract management.

IBM Maximo APM - Asset Health Insights

Understand what your assets are saying and what is required to operate at peak performance.

IBM Maximo APM – Equipment Maintenance Assistant

Augment your asset maintenance program with AI, powered by IBM Watson technology for continuous learning.

Resources

Making sense of the asset management spectrum

Explore the full asset management spectrum and which choices are the right ones.

 

Understanding the impact and value of enterprise asset management

See how asset management insights can support better planning and control of assets.

Using the Internet of Things for preventive maintenance

Learn about the benefits of asset health management and using IoT and cognitive capabilities for asset health insights.