Public safety workers such as police officers, firefighters, and EMS crews are essential to saving lives, protecting property, and keeping our communities safe. But if they’re not properly equipped and don’t have access to the right resources and supplies when they’re needed most, they can’t do their jobs effectively.


This is why it’s so important for public safety agencies to have good asset management tools and procedures in place. At a time when costs are on the rise and budgets are under intense scrutiny, it’s absolutely vital to ensure that mission-critical equipment, supplies, and resources are available when they’re needed. But they also need to be properly maintained, inventoried at the right levels and managed as cost-effectively as possible.


If you’re involved in managing public safety assets, then this is nothing new. But many police, fire, and EMS departments struggle with asset management and miss out on easy opportunities to maximize availability and minimize costs because they’re still relying on manual, paper-based, or spreadsheet-based processes.


Fortunately, there are many mobile and digital solutions available today to help automate and error-proof public safety asset management, so we can support our first responders while minimizing costs and inventory, and managing our budgets more effectively. Here are three ways you can do it by enabling better asset management:


  1. Use mobile software to automate your asset and inventory management processes.


The best way to optimize asset and inventory management is to mobilize data capture and tracking workflows, so you can automate the process of identifying, tracking, maintaining, and managing each asset. These days, there are a number of outstanding mobile software solutions that are designed specifically to help public safety agencies automate asset and inventory management with customizable digital processes.


Using easy, touch-enabled workflows and leveraging the built-in data capture capabilities of mobile devices, you can make identifying and tracking assets as simple as tapping a button on a screen. By having a mobile process that allows you to collect data wherever your assets might be received, stored, and distributed, you can scan barcodes on the spot and update inventory quantities, maintenance records, or an item’s status in real time.


The right solution will also help you track sign-outs, sign-ins, equipment assignments, and other essential data, so you always know what inventory you have on hand, what’s in use out in the field, when it’s due to be returned or needs servicing, and who’s accountable for it.


  1. Run your software and track your assets with tablet computers.


Mobile tablet solutions are becoming a key part of front-line police, fire, and EMS operations, particularly when it comes to issuing eCitations, accessing databases and information, and managing scenes and investigations. But they’re not as commonplace in asset tracking and inventory management, where many organizations are still relying on manual processes, spreadsheets, desktop-based solutions, or traditional barcode scanners.


Tablets are an ideal solution for asset management because they combine the power and functionality of multiple devices, including a laptop or desktop computer, with the data capture of a barcode scanner. For example, with Zebra’s ET8x or L10 Series tablets, you get fast and versatile mobile computing that’s on par with a high-spec computer, with octa-core Intel Core VPro processors, 16GB or more of DDR4 RAM, up to 27 hour of battery life with an optional extended battery, on-board cameras, and scanning of 1D and 2D barcodes with built-in enterprise-grade scanners for lightning-fast and intelligent decoding.


These devices are great for indoor or outdoor use because they’re built with military-grade drop resistance, IP65 waterproof and dustproof sealing, resistance to extreme temps, and rain, and are available with Wi-Fi 6E, 5G/4G capabilities, GPS, CBRS, and public safety network certification. They’re also excellent for police, fire, EMS, and government use because they have extremely powerful security, including support for CAC/NFC readers, facial recognition, an optional fingerprint reader, and even removable solid-state hard drives.


But tablets make the biggest difference in terms of the mobile productivity and efficiency they enable, by giving your users access to all the asset management software and tools they might need, on a large screen with touch interactions that work beautifully even if you’re using a gloved finger or stylus, and even if the screen is wet.


By deploying devices like these to run your asset management software, you can replace paper-based processes, get rid of the spreadsheets, and stop walking back and forth to desktop PCs. And you can maintain more accurate inventory and manage your assets more cost-effectively by collecting data in real-time, on the go, with an efficient and automated process that simplifies your workflows and ensures more accurate tracking and accountability.


  1. Leverage your collected data to optimize your asset inventory and reduce costs.


Once you have mobilized and automated data asset management in place, you can leverage the data you collect to get a better understanding of your asset usage, your inventory levels, ad your replenishment needs. And you can easily identify and eliminate waste and inefficiencies that might be causing you to order and maintain excess inventory or lose assets.


By knowing where your assets are, to whom they’ve been assigned or distributed, the quantities used or in inventory, and when they’re due to be returned, replenished or serviced, you can minimize waste and manage your assets far more efficiently and cost-effectively. You don’t have to waste time searching for assets or figuring out who has them, and you don’t have to order excess inventory to protect against losses or shortages. You can stay on top of everything by having digital visibility into all of your inventory and assets.


In fact, many asset management solutions deliver relevant inventory data and asset management insights in the form of dashboards and customizable reports that allow you to see all of your assets, specific types of items, departmental inventories, upcoming maintenance, and servicing requirements, check-ins and check-outs, and much more. Most solutions also provide automated email alerts to notify you when something is due, when inventory levels reach a minimum threshold, or when any other issues need to be addressed.


It all starts by using mobile and tablet-based solutions to capture all the data to drive these kinds of time-saving and money-saving insights. In turn, the resulting improvements in asset management can make a huge difference in terms of your budget and costs, but most importantly they make it far easier to make sure public safety officers and workers always have the equipment, supplies and resources they need, whenever and wherever they need them.


To learn more about improving your public safety asset management with mobile, digital, and tablet solutions, connect with us at Vantage ID. We’ve been serving the public and private sectors for 28 years, delivering data capture and mobility solutions that help our customers boost productivity, efficiency, and accuracy in everything they do.


We’re also a woman-owned and minority-owned small business certified by the SBA, WBENC, and NMSDC, and we serve leading public agencies and organizations such as the San Diego County Sheriff, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, California Department of Water Resources, UCLA, and over 4,000 other clients. Contact us now to learn how we can help your organization.