How did the U.S. Army’s Automate their Asset Management?

It’s hard to imagine an organisation with more important asset management challenges than the U.S. Army. Organising everything from IT equipment to fighter missiles is a task of almost incalculable complexity, and it’s easy to think that the army would have standards far above those that any small business could manage. A 2014 audit by the Department of Defense’s Inspector General reported that the 401st Army Field Support Brigade “did not report in a timely manner 15,600 pieces of missing equipment valued at approximately $419.5 million” during 2013. A Reuters report revealed that the Pentagon will often “spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date.”


If even the U.S. Army can’t keep track of assets, what hope is there for a small business? Luckily, hope can be found at Fort Hood. As one of the largest U.S. Army posts, Fort Hood was most vulnerable to the problems mentioned above. Over one thousand IT assets across eight buildings and four locations (three of them off-base) was a manual entry nightmare. The equipment didn’t just have to be accounted for, it had to be retired and replaced as old equipment became obsolete and new equipment was issued. Tracking assets by location, number and type, all by hand, was a nightmare. “This was a time-consuming and cumbersome process”, said base IT equipment property manager Terry French. They knew they needed help, so they implemented Wasp MobileAsset.

Related Article: Asset Management Best Practices

Before we see how that helped them, let’s look at how your business can learn from the U.S. army by avoiding these five common asset management mistakes.


  1. Manual Entry

Manual entry means human error is unavoidable. Every mistake increased the amount of work which must be done to track the changes, increasing the risk of further error. It’s also expensive.

  1. Spreadsheets and Static Databases

Small businesses often save money by using the same software for several different tasks. A static file means you never really know where your assets are. You know what the file says, but you don’t know when the file was last updated. Which means that instead of a definite answer you’ve got another question. Not a good idea around audit time.

Asset Management with Paladin Security
  1. Ignoring Asset Depreciation



Manually tracked systems mean everything has to be done by hand. Not just data entry, but database management and asset depreciation calculations. Often seen as a “non-urgent” task, these calculations can end up ignored, meaning businesses miss out on an important way to reduce expenses and tax burden.

  1. Overloaded Asset Managers

With only a few people manually managing the assets, you’ll suffer from errors at best, but fraud at worst. As your business grows these few managers become more and more busy and less likely to have time to train up new hires, creating an asset management bottleneck.

  1. Ignoring Accountability

The whole point of asset management software is knowing where things are, and who says so. Proper asset management software makes it easy to track who instituted what changes, making it much easier to correct errors and enforce proper asset management strategies.

With Wasp MobileAsset, Terry French found Fort Hood’s IT infrastructure much easier to manage. Let’s look at all the ways it helped him take on this daunting IT task.



  1. Automated Barcode Data Entry

Barcode technology is faster and more accurate than manual entry, allowing fewer workers to track more assets with lower labour costs. The convenient Wasp Barcode mobile reader revolutionized Fort Hood’s IT asset management. “This process is an easy, slick and foolproof method for recording an asset’s serial number and model number using barcodes”, explains an impressed Finch. “In the past, when I received new equipment, it took up to an hour to manually record all of the information. Now, that time has been reduced to less than 15 minutes”.

  1. Accurately Tracking Asset Value

A sophisticated asset management system will automatically calculate the depreciation of aging assets, instead of endlessly consuming asset managers’ time to track the changes manually (inviting the risk of error). This also enables the disposal of obsolete assets. “In the past, this was virtually impossible”, said French. “I didn’t really know which assets should be eliminated, since there was no accurate accounting of these items. What’s more, I didn’t know when they were purchased, how much they were worth, or how much they were worth now”.

  1. Real-Time Databases

An asset tracking system should track your assets. This sounds obvious, but it’s ignored surprisingly often by many managers, who then find that their best response to auditors is “But the spreadsheet says it SHOULD be there!” Managing military assets means French faces more audits than most, but he’s less worried than ever before. “We have better information than ever before, plus we are saving tens of thousands of dollars in wasted time and effort”.

“I really don’t know how any government property manager could operate without something like MobileAsset. It has simplified my life”.

  1. Saving Money

“I estimate that we save the equivalent of $30,000,” about twenty thousand pounds,”in time, just on the reduced field auditing alone”, continues French. “I really don’t know how any government property manager could operate without something like MobileAsset. It has simplified my life”.

  1. Asset Tracking, User Tracking

A system to track user changes as they track asset management encourages a more efficient workplace culture. As well as making it much easier to find and resolve errors, the system strengthens commitment to correct system usage.

Wasp MobileAsset helped Fort Hood’s IT Asset Manager tackle one of the most daunting challenges any such administrator can face. Could your company benefit from reduced labour costs, improved accuracy and automated reporting systems, enabling you to know exactly where your assets are, every time they’re needed?

Jason Sentell

Jason Sentell

Product Marketing Manager at Wasp Barcode
Jason Sentell is a Product Marketing Manager, responsible for development and execution of Wasp's product marketing strategy.
Jason Sentell
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