My team and I have recently been approached by an Asset Tracker for Jira customer who wanted to perform periodic inventory checks and wanted this process to be more automated.
The exact request was:
We want to be able to scan the barcode on the labels that we print for each of our devices (generated with this add-on) that will tell us what inventory we have in-house and what we are missing. We plan to do these "IT inventory checks" once or twice per year, and it would be incredibly convenient to be able to use one application for it
After a brief discussion with our in-house inventory management team, it became obvious that this sort of use case is quite common. Organizations that keep an inventory typically need to track the physical presence of their assets and identify the missing ones.
Asset Tracker can aid in this quite well because it has a built-in mobile view of a single inventory asset, which can be accessed by scanning the asset's label using any of the "barcode scanner" mobile apps.
However, this process is cumbersome because it usually requires a few manual actions:
- Launch a barcode scanner app on your phone
- Scan the label on an asset
- Open the address from the scanned QR code in the phone's web browser
- Find the field in the asset record that you want to modify (for example set a "Present" checkbox, or set a "Last check" date field to current date)
Now, imagine repeating all these steps for every scanned label.
We asked ourselves - could we do better? Can this be fully automated? What if the act of scanning resulted in updating the asset record without any manual steps?
The solution that we came up with was straightforward. We developed a smartphone application featuring a QR code scanner and a logic that updates the "date" field of an asset's record in Asset Tracker by setting its value to the current date and time.
The application turns the four manual actions into one:
- Scan the label and everything else happens automatically
Just like this:
Once you scan the label, Inventory Checks contacts Asset Tracker and sets the configured date field to "now". To make things easier, the app will help you set up the field even if it is not configured for the asset that you scanned.
Identifying Missing Assets
Now that you have performed the inventory check, you would like to actually check if all your assets are accounted for. How do you do that?
Well, Asset Tracker's powerful search engine makes it dead simple.
For example, if the date field which you set up for inventory check is called "last.checked", you can run the following search query:
last.checked < -1d OR last.checked IS EMPTY
This search will return all asset records that have the field set to a date earlier than 1 day ago, or which do not have this field set at all. Thus, you can clearly see all the assets that are in Asset Tracker but you cannot physically find them.
Inventory check using Asset Tracker and mobile app requires a bit of setup. But it's really basic.
First, make sure you have at least one date field set up in Asset Tracker.
Next, start the mobile app, set up your connection to Jira and pick the date field.
Now that you are all sorted, you can set about scanning your assets the easy way.
How to get the mobile app?
Asset Tracker Inventory Checks is a mobile application available for Android smartphones. You can download the app for free from Google Play Store.
If you got this far, I am sure you know already that Inventory Checks extends the functionality of Asset Tracker, which is a free plug-in for Jira. So before you install the mobile app, please make sure you have Asset Tracker installed and running on your Jira instance.
Take the app for a spin and don't forget to send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org