A returnable asset is anything of value that can be re-used by a company. From an object as large as a shipping container to as small as a beer keg and even smaller, returnable assets represent a large investment cost to many multi-national companies and therefore are very valuable.
The mismanagement of returnable assets, including containers, pallets, totes, tanks and more can have dramatic effects on the time, labor and costs associated with shipping and receiving them. The inability to track these assets correctly can cause logistical and financial problems, including loss of said assets and loss of revenue to replace them, searching for them and manually counting them.
The best way to avoid these problems is to invest in a sound Container Tracking System. The best systems can track, manage and coordinate your returnables across the street and around the world. It should permit any company using it to input information about any type of returnable asset.
As they move from location to location, your tracking system should store and organize historical passport records of everything that’s been in them, and who’s touched them. It should obviously track the whereabouts of your returnable, but more importantly provide you with the reports and analytical tools necessary for optimum operation, keeping shrinkage to a minimum, and improving customer relations. A well designed tracking system is an important investment for the security, control, shipping and eventual recovery of any returnable asset, big or small.
Furthermore, a well-designed tracking system can also track deterioration of some returnable assets and keep them from being reused after their serviceable time has passed. This can save on loss due to perishable assets that can spoil if they are packaged in returnable containers that are no longer functioning correctly, such as refrigerated containers and beer kegs.
A tracking service can also help meet external and internal audit requirements, international trade necessities and regulatory compliance that your company must meet. It will increase the cost effectiveness of a returnable asset, such as a shipping container, by increasing the speed at which it can be re-used during its lifetime.
Managing returnable assets with a proper system helps you to avoid excessive dwell, damage or stranded assets, and enables a company to rank the asset supplier locations from “first to last” based on their performance. It should provide you with the ability to quickly scan a report and immediately pinpoint problem areas in your supply chain.
Container Tracking Systems are invaluable for tracking high value assets such as refrigerated trailers, specialized packaging containers, or returnables whose contents are of very high. These assets may also have regulatory value, where the contents are subject to tracking and reporting requirements for hazmat or homeland security purposes, or strategic value, where availability of the contents for just-in-time production or customer contractual requirements outweighs the cost of the asset.
Finally, a well-made online tracking system can track high mobility assets that are difficult to track through traditional means, and in situations where barcodes prove difficult or are subject to high wear and deterioration. Inability to use traditional scanning in places such as ports, open yards and container storage areas make a tracking system invaluable.
A well-designed, customized, and properly used Returnable Asset Tracking System should be capable of the following:
- Reducing human error.
- Sending alert messages when shipping conditions are sub-optimal.
- Providing you with faster, more accurate inventories and searches.
- Reducing labor time and expense.
- Providing your with automated exception reporting based on either time or quantity.
- Placing asset accountability on end-customers or vendors.
- Preventing asset hoarding and reduce shrinkage.
- Managing procedures such as cleaning, loading, and maintenance.
- Notifying you of improper procedures.
- Decrease loss, theft and misplacement of assets.
- Reducing capital investment in having to purchase new assets in order to ship your products.