WhereNet Did I Put those Assets?

Survey shows ongoing problems with asset management

Santa Clara, CA  September 17, 2001  Wireless supply chain visibility solutions company WhereNet has announced today survey results that provide insights into current asset management techniques, associated costs and desired solutions for managing critical supply chain assets. Focused on managing assets in industrial manufacturing and transportation and logistics environments, nearly 150 operations managers, engineers, and IT executives completed the survey.

Survey results indicate that a surprising number of respondents, 84 percent, still rely on manual techniques to locate and track physical assets, and 100 percent of the respondents indicate that their asset management data is inaccurate due to this manual process. Respondents reported that their companies write off at least $500,000 or more in annual losses as a result of lost assets or inventory.

The results of this survey clearly substantiate the need for real-time visibility of supply chain assets to support lean manufacturing, synchronous material flow, enhanced operational efficiencies and bottom-line cost savings, said Tom Turner, senior vice president for WhereNet. Today's operations executives and IT teams must meet corporate business objectives of reducing inventory, compressing cycle times, increasing quality, and improving return on assets in industrial manufacturing and transportation and logistics environments. This survey highlights the need and desire for companies, large and small, to use technology and implement solutions that can make their supply chains operate more efficiently.

The survey highlights a range of concerns associated with current asset management methods, including significant labor costs and expenses incurred due to a lack of real-time information about inventory and assets in the supply chain.

  • 84 percent of respondents indicated that their companies still use manual labor either through physical searches or bar code scanning to locate and track inventory or high value assets

  • 100 percent of respondents admit that their data capture information is inaccurate due to human input error, improper scans, or missed scans

  • 100 percent of the respondents report that the latency associated with current inventory systems results in the incorrect location of inventory. (This occurs often because by the time the asset/inventory is located, scanned, and downloaded into an inventory management or enterprise system, its original status has changed.)

  • 78 percent of respondents reported that operations personnel perform at least one search per day for inventory/assets, with 25 percent reporting more than 10 searches per day

  • 64 percent of respondents indicated that search times to locate each item takes 30 minutes or longer

  • 10 percent of respondents indicate that their companies write off at least $500,000 or more in annual losses as a result of lost assets or inventory

Results of the asset management survey suggest several trends. Operations and IT managers and executives agree that they could significantly streamline their operations if they had real-time connectivity to the assets that they are tasked with managing on a daily basis. Due to latency and human input error, current data collection processes and systems have proven to be bottlenecks for enterprises trying to implement lean manufacturing campaigns and optimize their supply chains.

WhereNet collected electronic responses from 146 survey participants.  Respondents for this survey came from more than a dozen industries, with 56 percent of the responses coming from the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries. More than 25 percent of the respondents represent companies that have average annual revenues greater than $1 billion.