The food service industry places a high priority on organization and cleanliness, making effective asset tracking for food service companies a must. During operating hours, these businesses are often maximized for throughput, with a desire to serve as many customers as possible in a limited amount of time. There are many moving parts, and a single equipment issue can cause massive problems and even impact the ability to serve customers. In order to keep up with these demands, food service operators often turn to asset management and tracking solutions to help them stay organized and keep equipment functioning optimally through effective maintenance management.
Since food service covers a wide range of businesses and operating structures, including catering and restaurants, it is important for any asset tracking system to be flexible and scalable. Tagging food service assets not only creates an organized and professional working environment but also makes it easy to track items and equipment across any number of locations. Throughout the entire supply chain, from food manufacturers to food service companies, there are many great benefits of using dedicated asset tracking tools. In this post, we’ll explore a few of the general steps required to implement an asset tracking system for a food service provider.
One of the most important steps in setting up a comprehensive asset tracking program is the selection of a centralized software platform. Most food service businesses will find that either an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) or Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) will be able to handle all the necessary asset management tasks. These software programs allow you to track real-time data and streamline inventory and asset management across your entire operation.
The software platform can also be used to store financial data for each asset including depreciation forecasting and maintenance costs. With such a high priority placed on hygiene and workplace cleanliness in the food service industry, properly organizing and completing maintenance work orders is a must. An EAM/CMMS can also track utility costs and planned downtime for large pieces of equipment such as HVAC units, ice machines, and grills.
It will also be important to create a uniform procedure for tagging and monitoring all assets. Food service companies can choose from asset tags for facilities management such as equipment tags, QR code tags, and RFID tags as potential markers. In some cases, a business may select more than one type of tag in order to support a variety of different asset tracking needs. The decision-making process for choosing a design should include a review of potential environmental hazards and scanning methods to select an option that suits the needs of each application. For example, some equipment, such as cooking ovens, operate at a high temperature, requiring asset tags that can withstand high heat applications.
Tracking the movement of inventory or assets is especially important if a food service operation has multiple locations. It can be easy to lose track of items that are transported between sites or loaned out for events, as is common in the catering business. It is therefore important to include scanning technology in your plan and integrate this hardware with your centralized asset tracking platform. This will allow employees to quickly log assets in and out of the system and facilitate easy hardware scanning during maintenance activities.
Many modern devices have Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities that may allow you to connect integrated sensors directly to your EAM/CMMS for real-time data monitoring. In other cases, it may be useful to install a third-party sensor to record data such as temperature and moisture. Measurements such as these can be very helpful for monitoring restaurant and kitchen environments. You can also use an EAM/CMMS to store vendor data and track costs associated with your supply chain. Always be mindful of the data streams that are being tracked and use them to make data-driven decisions about equipment upkeep and hardware changes.
Designing an asset tracking system for your food service operation is only useful if you can use it to lower costs and improve efficiency. Establishing a working baseline for maintenance schedules, inventory levels, and key performance indicators (KPIs) is important. It is also a good practice to customize automated alerts to make sure that the right people are notified if there is an issue.
When implemented correctly, asset tracking for food service companies can help lower costs, reduce waste, and bring a new level of organization to your operation. These platforms can also help reduce the administrative burden on staff and allow them to focus on higher-value tasks such as preparing quality food products and offering customers exceptional service. Working with a trusted partner can help you choose an asset management solution that can add significant value to your food service business.