Benefits of tracking-based business

Asset management cases differ in an important respect from supply chain management. The important difference is the closed circulation in asset management, and the flow-through in supply chain management. This is a difference that defines two broad categories of business cases in the current state of the art. The business cases can be further distinguished by information scope: from location centric, to item centric, and info centric. The functionality of wider information scope cases build on successful implementation of the more basic information scope.

The basis for all tracking based business is the - preferably automated - identification. The scope is local and gives the answer to the question: “What is in store?” Location centric asset management applications help companies authorize access to a location and prevent unauthorized removal of assets from a location. Location centric SCM helps improve the accuracy of inventory management records, and more efficient goods receipt and goods issue transactions.

To obtain further benefits materials and items need to be identified as individuals. In order to track an asset or a material across many locations the information scope needs to be expanded from asset types and material types to individuals. The issue in item centric business cases is: “Where has this item been?” By adding a tracking database it becomes possible to track and control an asset across multiple locations and over the asset lifecycle. Similarly, in supply chain management cases materials can be individually tracked and controlled across locations and over time.

Widening the information scope further, introduces the question: “Who has access? In developing tracking based business cases in both the asset management and supply chain domain it is important that access to critical information is controlled. For example, a company developing an item centric application further may require that only authorized service partners may update the maintenance information of an asset. Or, a manufacturer may for privacy and confidentiality reasons in a supply chain application want to restrict access to tracking data to the end-customer of the item.

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