Best Managed Assets for Your Best Run Business – Announcing FAMe Version 2.8.1

We love to hear from our customers and resellers.  Of course, we love to hear how our solution has made the business day a little more manageable and enjoyable.  But we also love to hear practical suggestions on how we can make our solutions incredible to use.

Over the past several months, we have been meeting with clients, from around the world and in a variety of industries, who have provided us with invaluable ideas, feedback and suggestions.  They each have their own nuances, but some also overlap where we can create broader enhancements.  The result is our latest version of Fixed Assets: Enterprise (FAMe).  We’re thrilled to announce that version 2.8.1 is ready to go, and ready to make life a little easier for our users.

Here are a few of the updates we think you’re really going to like:

General

  • All FAMe Contracts that create SAP Marketing Documents have been upgraded to insert a Remark into the SAP Document Header, with that Remark being consistent with the SAP Generated Remarks.
  • All FAMe Contracts that create SAP Marketing Documents have been upgraded for Multi-Currency support, allowing the Contract to create documents in any Currency defined to the Business Partner.
  • FAMe now supports the new SAP 9.0 64-bit Client.  Several forms, particularly set-up forms, have been changed to accommodate this in SAP.

Asset Accounting and Tracking

  • Improved and expanded the capabilities when auto-adding Assets.  Assets can be auto-created from several places within SAP, and this enables better control and more functionality.
  • Enhanced Component Management to allow non-Asset Components (for accessories and additional description information), non-capitalized Assets, and Capitalized Assets.  Also, added a Component Cost column for added information.
  • Enhanced Asset Tracking by expanding fields for Longitude and Latitude.  This is preparation for Google Mapping, GPS Tracking, Mobile Physical Inventory Taking, RFID, and other tracking capabilities.
  • Added the ability to delete a Retirement Transactions that has not been posted.  In addition to other uses, this is necessary for the new Rental Return functionality that auto-creates Retirement records for missing equipment.

Equipment Rental, Leasing, and Service

  • Added ‘Select’ and ‘Clear All’ buttons to the Details tab on the Rental Contract to facilitate billing the Contract detail
  • Made several enhancements to the Billing process to provide more functionality and control
  • Added the capability to auto-generate an Asset Retirement (Disposal) when an Asset is not returned from a Rental Contract.
  • Added a ‘Return All’ button to the Rental Returns form to make it easier to enter Return information
  • Added an alternative Lease accounting option on all Lease Contracts.  The new option accounts for the Lease as a Financing or Sales Lease in addition to the historic Direct Lease.
  • Expanded the number of SQL Queries and Crystal Reports

Equipment Maintenance

  • Provided the option to integrate SAP Activities with each Maintenance Work Order (MWO).  This capability provides for creating a related Activity whenever an MWO is added (from all sources), updating the MWO when the Activity changes, and updating the Activity when the MWO changes.   This also allows the new SAP 9.0 Calendar to be used to assign MWOs to Technicians.
  • Enhanced the Scheduled Maintenance facility to change the Maintenance Schedule depending on the Item used in the Maintenance Procedure.
  • Added a Related Documents tab and a Work Order History tab to the Maintenance Work Order, providing even more information about the Asset and the Work Order.
  • Added a ‘Status Promotion’ button to the MWO to make it easier to capture a Status change, as well as the date and time of the change.  This will enable the MWO to better work in a mobile access environment.
  • Added a Master MWO to provide another option for managing small Projects.  This enables several Work Orders to be linked into one common Parent Work Order for scheduling and control.
  • Added ‘Select’ and ‘Clear All’ buttons to the Items Billing tab on the Maintenance Work Order to facilitate billing the Work Order
  • Enhanced MWO Billing and billing processes to be more flexible and provide more capabilities.
  • Enhanced the MWO Maintenance Outsourcing (creating SAP Purchase Orders) to provide more functionality and control.
  • Expanded the number of SQL Queries and Crystal Reports

For more information, feel free to contact us at any time.

Six Significant Problems with Managing Fixed Assets as Inventory

tumblr_static_logo_-_just_wrench_and_hammerWe talk a lot around here about having the right tool for the job. Using a wrench to drive a nail will certainly work, at least to a degree, but it’s definitely not the most efficient way to do it.

The issue of managing Fixed Assets as Inventory is something that has been around for quite a while. Is this the best way to manage assets, or is it just another way to manage assets? You purchase goods and/or services, or manufacture goods, and record it all in the Inventory system. One could argue that it seems easiest to have Assets go there as well.

Further, we see the convenience of keeping Item Descriptions, Serial Number tracking, and Purchase/ Manufacture History and Tracking within one application area (Inventory). The only key differences are the GL Account Number (Fixed Asset versus Inventory), and, possibly, the Warehouse. This eliminates re-keying information that was already captured during the initial purchase or manufacturing processes.

Despite these modest advantages, there are at least six disadvantages to this approach that I must address.

1. The Keyword is “Fixed”

Fundamentally, Inventory is expected to be transient, while Fixed Assets is not. Managing Fixed Assets is a much different discipline and business requirement than managing Inventory.

2. Different Purposes

Similarly, Inventory focuses on Quantities of an Item, while Fixed Assets is about a specific use of that Item.

3. Valuation Differences

Inventory revaluation is a business exception that’s typically reserved for obsolete Items, or used when the value changes drastically over a short period of time. But the value of a specific Fixed Asset can change at different points during ownership, due to completely different reasons, such as damage, improvements, etc. The accounting for these changes is vastly different and more complex with Fixed Assets. At a minimum, there must be a change to the depreciation schedule.

4. Location Issues

What if the Asset moves? Whether within the Company or between Customers (e.g. Leases and Rentals), tracking the movement both physically and financially requires precision. Inventory Systems aren’t in a place to accommodate such changes.

5. Inventory Registers

Inventory Registers that tie out to the General Ledger must account for the portion of the Inventory — specifically, the Fixed Assets portion — which really isn’t Inventory at all, and must instead be tied out to the Fixed Asset Accounts. While this can be done, it’s always better to be direct, and thereby more efficient.

6. Multiple Transactions

Many Fixed Assets are created and valued based on two or more purchase/manufacturing activities. A simple example is the acquisition of equipment that requires installation and set up. The initial purchase is one transaction followed by the installation and set-up, which can be several additional ‘related’ transactions. Once again, getting this exactly right with a Fixed Asset Management system is challenging, but it’s even more cumbersome when only using an Inventory system.

We’re proud of how powerful and useful FAMe is for our users. Even more so, we’re delighted when we hear that sense of excitement followed by, “This is so much easier!

That’s right – excitement about Fixed Assets!

So, about that wrench in your hand….