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The Cardinals Score With Effective Asset Management

 The NFL’s Cardinals Implement a Sophisticated Asset Tracking System

When the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals gear up for a match there is a lot of preparation, and not just by the team. Putting on a major sporting event involves a lot of moving pieces and a huge array of departments, from food to security to scoreboard and video production. iStock_000028734320_Medium In Arizona, each year, the Scoreboard Production department is responsible for technical execution and oversight of the 10+ Cardinals football games, as well as an additional 100-200 sport, entertainment and trade show destination events held on and off-premises. To do it they need to manage a wide array of expensive production equipment items including hundreds of television cameras, truss structures, speakers, and microphones. It is critical for the department to manage its assets effectively to ensure they have what they need and know where it is when they need it. For years they weren’t tracking their equipment and as a result their operations suffered.

4 Ways Your Organization Pays If You Don’t Track Assets

Tracking assets is crucial for operations, accounting, and preventing theft. Not tracking your assets is kind of like driving with your eyes closed, you have no idea where you’ve been or where you are going, and you are probably going to have an accident. Before they implemented asset tracking software, the Arizona Cardinals’ Scoreboard Production Department faced many of the same problems that other businesses have when they don’t track their assets, including:
  1. You don’t know where things are, where they were last, and how much you have left
If you don’t track your assets from the time they come into your possession you have no way of knowing where they are or where they’ve been. This means when you need an asset you will have to physically find it, every single time. If you aren’t tracking assets then you have no way of knowing when you are running low on certain items and when you may need to order new supplies. When you don’t have enough of the assets you need, it can create big workflow problems and organizational issues.
  1. It is impossible to forecast your asset or inventory needs for the future
Without tracking the way inventory and assets have been used in the past it is impossible to predict how they might be used in the future. When you are running multiple events at multiple locations on a given day, you need to be able to predict what equipment you will need at each event to make sure you have it and it is ready for use.
  1. The risk of theft or losing equipment increases significantly
No matter what you will lose things, it is just part of life, but tracking assets can help minimize innocent losses and reduce not so innocent theft and fraud. If you aren’t tracking your assets, the risk of employee theft and fraud increases dramatically. According the Department of Justice, as many as 1 out of 3 employees will commit some type of fraud (including theft) against their employer. When assessing the risk of fraud, psychologists have identified the “Fraud Triangle” which includes: perceived financial need; perceived opportunity; and the ability to rationalize the illegal conduct. When employees know you aren’t tracking assets, their sense of perceived opportunity will go way up, they know you won’t know it’s gone and that you will have no way of knowing who took it.
  1. You have no way to produce audit reports or track asset value over time
If your company isn’t tracking assets in some way, even by a paper, or excel-based system, then there is literally no way for you to produce audit reports. The best you can do is count what you have and hope it matches up with what you are supposed to have. This will be incredibly time consuming and error prone. Also, if you aren’t tracking assets you have no way to track their value over time and you can’t track asset depreciation. And this means you could be missing out on big tax and insurance savings.
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Why The Cardinal’s System Approach Wasn’t Working

When Nick Heller joined the Arizona Cardinals’ Scoreboard Productions Department he quickly learned that the crew wasn’t tracking the equipment at all and that this was a problem. With over $100,000 worth of equipment being used on some events, theft is always a risk. When items inevitably did go missing (by mistake or by design), without an existing tracking system there was no way to investigate, no way to know who had it last or where it had last been used.

Related Article: How the US Army Keeps Track of Assets

Another problem Heller encountered was forecasting equipment needs. With hundreds of events each year but no tracking system, the company was finding it hard to plan effectively and ensure that equipment was being allocated efficiently. Often an event would come up and Heller and his team needed to physically ensure there would be enough equipment to cover each days events. The process was time consuming and anxiety prone. Heller quickly realized there needed to some changes to their asset management if the Scoreboard Productions Department was going to work effectively.

4 Steps To Implementing An Effective Asset Management System

  1. Assess your company’s needs and the available options
The first step is figuring out what your company needs in an asset management system, do you want real time updates? 1D or 2D barcode scanners? The second step is finding some options and seeing which ones can accommodate your company’s needs.
  1. Test or demo the system you are thinking about to make sure it works for you
You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, right? An asset management system involves even more testing and understanding. You need to be completely comfortable with your asset management solution if it is going to solve your problems, so don’t just trust what you read, test it. Make sure to try the asset or inventory management system or see a demo of how it works before you buy it. 3 Inventory Tracking Issues that Can Ruin Large Events
  1. Use a sophisticated, state of the art system, one that can automate data entry, update in real-time, and allow multiple user access
While choosing the right asset management system is specific to your company’s unique needs, there are some general capabilities you will want to make sure you have. Automatic data entry (through a barcode scanning based system) will eliminate human data entry and speed up the process of tracking assets. Real-time updates make sure you always know exactly where an item is and how much you have. Ensuring multiple users can access the system reduces the risk of employee fraud or theft and allows the same database to be used by multiple teams or departments.
  1. Train employees on the new system
With your new system in place it is crucial to train employees to make sure they can use it effectively. Finding a system that is easy to learn is helpful. Finding a system that provides effective training and customer support is critical.

How The Cardinal’s Made The Switch To Effective Asset Management

Once Nick Heller established that the Cardinals’ non-system was not working it became necessary to find a system that would meet their needs and help them improve their operations. Heller began searching online and quickly found Wasp Barcode Technologies and their asset management solutions. Heller knew he found the solution that provided all the required features. “I really liked that I was able to take part in the demo that allowed me to become familiar with the software before purchasing,” says Heller. “We chose Wasp because the program was extremely user friendly for everyone on the staff. Portability was another priority due to the large number of offsite events. With Wasp, we are easily able to pack and transfer our Wasp barcode scanner when taking equipment to offsite events.”

“We chose Wasp because the program was extremely user friendly for everyone on the staff."    

 -Nick Heller

Overall, the Arizona Cardinals scoreboard production department estimates that since using Wasp MobileAsset they have saved 5-20 labor hours per event, which has accumulated to saving 500-1,000 labor hours in the past two years. This time used to be spent manually tracking equipment, double checking what was needed versus what was available, and tracking down misplaced equipment. “The reliability and accuracy of the product is key. It always works and there is no need for constant software upgrades. Wasp’s barcoding and asset tracking system is a must have item for any major sports team or large production venue,” said Heller.

Quick Tips 

  • Always use an asset tracking system with automatic data entry and real-time updates
  • Reduce fraud and theft risks by making sure employees know you are tracking assets
  • Demo the system before you buy to make sure it works for your company