Enterprises have always had a compelling reason to track inventory, because it affects the asset side of the balance sheet. But in today’s world of mobile technology, inventory tracking and management is more important than ever as a part of a managed mobility services strategy.
Unlike assets that are stationary or difficult to move, company mobile devices and BYOD go everywhere their users go for example. Mobile devices are also easier to misplace and are more valuable than previous generations of mobile devices, such as pagers or mobile phones. Anything you can do to protect this asset or maximize its value is worth looking into. As such, asset and inventory management in this age of mobile devices must be more than just an asset database, an enterprise’s mobile device management solution should support provisioning and initial set up, warranty and RMA process, and replacement and upgrade policy.
For initial provisioning, determining the corporate policy for each type of device and how to initially track and manage the asset is key. Once employees place an order for a given device that the company pays for, the asset belongs to the company; so it must set clear expectations regarding proper use and data policies. At this point, having access to Find My Phone features and the device memory wiping should be key discussions for your corporate policy. Since the phone can store company data and employee personal data, remote wiping should at minimum include erasing the stored company data. This can be done via sandbox apps and programs that partition the phone’s memory. Also, misplaced phones should have some tracking ability to try and recover them.
Warranty and RMA
Managing the device through its daily use requires support. From a management standpoint, this will be through the monthly cost in usage and the warranty support for broken devices. Using an asset management tool that tracks the devises IMEI, serial number etc. will ensure a much faster turnaround when you reach out to the vendor for servicing. Also, tracking the RMA process and the vendor response time will allow you to evaluate the vendor’s performance and service level.
Replacement and Upgrade
It’s natural that every mobile worker should want the latest and greatest device. Asset lifecycle tracking and a clear replacement policy ensures the company only updates devices when necessary, and at scheduled intervals. The replacement policy should replace a lost, stolen, or damaged device with one of equivalent capabilities (not necessarily the latest version) and possibly charge a replacement fee. You don’t want people breaking their perfectly good devices just get an early upgrade…
If you set good policies in the provisioning, warranty and RMA, and replacement and upgrade phases, and support them with a good mobile inventory management program, you can better utilize the existing assets you have within your organization.