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How to Implement Asset Tracking for Engineering Inspection Companies

Inspection and Audit Management
Engineer inspecting manufacturing equipment

Engineering inspection companies provide tremendous value to customers by performing routine checks and ensuring that equipment is performing as expected. To organize and prioritize their work, these inspection businesses must develop robust asset integrity management processes. An asset tracking workflow must be created to account for the entire asset lifecycle of each item and track important information related to inspections and maintenance activities.

Two vital engineering inspection services include leak detection and repair (LDAR) and monitoring the performance of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units. Performing quality inspections of equipment in a timely manner requires that engineers can quickly locate and identify each asset. It’s often said that each system is only as good as its weakest component, and this is particularly true when it comes to asset management.

In this post, we’ll review some important steps that can be taken to implement a new asset tracking system or update an existing one. As we’ll discuss below, working with a quality centralized asset management platform and compatible hardware is essential. Each engineering inspection company will have a unique approach to their work, but these guidelines represent some crucial best practices that have been adopted across industries at businesses of all sizes.

Define Your Asset Management Goals

Electrical inspector reading power output

Before an implementation plan can be put in place, it’s important to define the scope of your asset tracking project. Pursuing new technologies can drastically improve asset management efficiency, but proper planning is essential to an effective rollout. Sitting down with your key stakeholders to clarify the budget, metrics, and resources for the project can help avoid a lot of issues down the road. It’s also important to consider any customer impacts that may result from the project and if any external discussions should also take place before moving forward.

Invest in Automation Hardware and Software

The most important component of an asset tracking setup is the centralized software platform. Depending on the specific functions of the engineering inspection company, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) or Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) are often used. These applications organize all your critical business functions and give your team access to vital metrics that can be used to drive improvements.

When choosing a program, it’s always important to review your hardware to ensure that your barcode scanners and other equipment can be properly integrated. Since engineering inspections are done at customer locations, you’ll want to choose a platform that allows for remote access. With an electronic system in place, it’s possible to scale your asset tracking program to meet your company’s needs across all locations.

Conduct an Asset Audit

Quality control inspector performing an audit in a factory

An asset tracking system will require the use of asset tags or labels that contain a barcode and important identifying information, such as LDAR tags and steam trap tags that can be used to monitor and manage leak detection and repair programs. To properly manage these assets, an audit should be conducted to ensure that tracking data matches the equipment that is present at each customer location. This will also help determine the different types of equipment and any environmental considerations that may require the use of special barcode labels. One example is rooftop units (RTUs) and other outdoor equipment that may be exposed to direct sunlight and harsh weather conditions. For these applications, a durable barcode label should be used to ensure readability throughout the lifespan of the asset.

Roll-Out A Uniform Tagging Procedure

Since each engineering company will likely have several field engineers who are responsible for visiting customer sites, it’s important to roll out a standardized tagging procedure. Having a set procedure makes it easy for employees to inspect and scan asset barcodes during their audits. There should also be specific instructions for tagging new assets or updating asset tags that may be obsolete or damaged. The integrity of an asset management system relies on the quality of the data you maintain for each piece of equipment.

Review and Monitor Performance

Once the new asset tracking system has been fully implemented, you can use the centralized software system to track important metrics. Since an engineering inspection business must maintain a high-integrity dataset, regular reviews should be conducted to identify any issues or irregularities. One of the great benefits of having an automated and centralized asset management system is the ease with which you can monitor data and track performance.

Asset management is a core capability for engineering inspection companies. Today’s modern systems make it easier than ever to tag and monitor assets across any number of locations and regions. Properly planning your asset tracking rollout is one of the best ways to avoid issues and develop a quality system that will be reliable for many years to come.

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