Shared from the 5/21/2019 Financial Review eEdition

Hardcat’s solutions find global audience


Hardcat founder and chief executive officer Dan Drum says asset management is cost-saving mechanism for companies and organisations.

All organisations need to keep track of their physical assets, either for the purpose of due diligence, compliance, or to ensure efficiency of operations.

These assets could range from computers, vehicles, mobile phones, technical equipment, machinery, a connected Internet-of-things appliance, or anything that is used for an organisation to function.

Despite its importance, managing physical assets remains low on the priority list of organisations.

‘‘Eighty per cent of organisations control their assets on a spreadsheet, which is quite amazing. Another 10 per cent use their enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools like SAP or Oracle. The rest probably use nothing at all,’’ says Dan Drum, CEO of asset management solutions company Hardcat.

‘‘Often it’s only when a company is about to be purchased or in trouble that they think about their asset management.’’

Hardcat specialises in tracking assets and has successfully extended its tracking disciplines to property and forensic evidence for law enforcement and other investigative bodies. The company has demonstrated that efficiencies can be gained by leveraging radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

With a growing professional services division, ‘‘Hardcat is often called upon to implement solutions, to conduct the crucial initial capture of asset information, and to periodically audit the location and condition of assets’’, Drum says.

For instance, a police force armoury needs to know where its firearms are, where they’ve been, that their maintenance and calibrations are up to date, and what the cost of management and replenishment is going to be.

‘‘These days, the trend is towards sustaining assets. If you audit and maintain them, you will sustain them longer and it will cost you less. So, asset management is truly a cost-saving mechanism.’’

The Victorian government recognises this and now requires government departments and agencies to increase the sustainability of assets by complying with its Asset Management Accountability Framework.

Hardcat’s latest product is its enterprise all-ofpolice solution, Lebosi, which combines both the asset management and the property and evidence functions.

The Hardcat Lebosi solution is designed for enterprise-scale implementations, it allows 50,000-plus users online at any point of time, is 100 per cent web-based, and can be deployed in the cloud.

Its front-end is entirely HTML 5, hence can be deployed equally to desktop workstations, tablets, and mobile devices.

The platform capabilities are regularly expanded, with RFID fixed reader gateways as well as mobility, CCTV, IOT and facial recognition among recent innovations.

Given these specialist and unique capabilities, Hardcat’s solutions are finding an audience among top global organisations, with the World Trade Organisation in Geneva and German retail group REWE among recent acquirers of its products. ‘‘The larger organisations are coming to the realisation that individual asset item tracking is not a capability of the typical ERP,’’ Drum says.

Hardcat is also finding a big market opening up among police and defence forces in Australia and overseas.

NSW Police use Hardcat’s Forensic Evidence solution, EFIMS, across its enterprise, with all police registering property and evidence associated with criminal investigations. The Auditor General, Peter Acherstraat, gave EFIMS a glowing report stating that EFIMS was a crucial component of the NSW Police Force.

Hardcat has been working with various stations and specialist divisions of Victoria Police for 30 years and the force still uses the firm.

There is currently a project under way with plans to roll out an enterprise version of Hardcat Lebosi that every station and specialist unit will be able to use to track equipment that requires high visibility and accountability.

Hardcat also has several pilot projects with various police forces around the world, including with the AFP.

‘‘We are finding police forces very interested in what we have. The key reason is the quality of our asset data capture, auditing, and our issue and return processes. The efficiencies we deliver enhance member safety and result in more time on productive operational duties,’’ Drum says.

He explains that heritage firearm issuing by police forces is time-consuming, error-prone and often lacks auditability and accountability.

In South Africa, one section of the army operates 40,000 parachutes and an audit of the equipment used to take it six months. But after incorporating RFID tags to a third of the parachutes, Hardcat was able to account for these parachutes in 30 minutes.

Similarly, in Britain, Hardcat solutions are being used on two aircraft carriers currently under construction, to control the IT asset base within the carriers. The company’s systems are also being deployed across every vessel in the British fleet for controlling all the content and maintenance of those IT assets.

Hardcat currently has offices in Melbourne, Johannesburg and London, with reseller partnerships across Europe, Asia, and North America, but has signalled plans to expand in different parts of the world in the near future.

“If you audit and maintain assets, you will sustain them longer and it will cost you less.”

Dan Drum, CEO, Hardcat

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