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Exchange Balances

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TrackAbout Feature
Feature Name: Exchange Balances
In Module: Core Tracking
Short Description TrackAbout uses special logic to track "Exchange" assets that are typically not closely tracked.
Available In:
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Some quick info on Exchange:

  • Exchange types can have negative balances.
  • For exchange types, the list of barcodes is not related to the asset balance.
  • For exchange types, the asset balance is just total ships minus the total returns over time.
    • You can return a stolen exchange asset and still get credit for returning it.


"Exchange" asset types are small cylinders that are cheaper and are typically owned by the end customer (holder). A holder must normally "exchange" one of their tanks for one of the gas distributor. If the holder does not have any, he must buy one. A common example is an Acetylene MC size tank. It is only maybe a foot tall and worth $35. Distributors typically sell these rather than rent them. Most of our customers do not barcode these kinds of assets. Some customers do barcode medical exchange tanks, but not the industrial exchange tanks.

Rental was built before the issue of exchange types was introduced. Many clients would prefer to never rent these tanks and instead make the customer buy them. On further investigation though (the devil is in the details) there are cases where these tanks are rented. Even without rent, it is important to at least keep track of a running tally of which party owes the other party cylinders. For instance, if over several years a customer has been delivered 150 tanks and has returned 155 tanks, then the distributor owes the customer 5 tanks. If the distributor loses the business, they must give the customer 5 of these tanks.

Conceptually, for exchange type tanks, we need to have enough data to be able to calculate a running tally of delivers and returns over a time period without regard to exceptions or accounting adjustments. If an individual returns three exchange type tanks but doesn't pick up new ones, the vendor owes the individual three tanks. This means that the balance for the asset type can go negative, and TrackAbout should not "hold the line at zero", as it does for non-exchange types. It is for this reason that TrackAbout suppresses normal Asset Transfer Exception (ATE) processing during movement of the asset. If it did not suppress ATE processing, the line would be held at zero and the customer would not get credit for all returns.

Normally, we calculate a customer's balance by the following formula.

For each distinct Asset Type:
Count of unique (tagged) assets + DNS - RNS = Balance

For exchange types, this balance calculation will, over time, differ or drift away from the running Exchange Type rental balance. This is OK.

As mentioned, negative balances for exchange types are allowed. A negative balance just means that the distributor owes the holder some tanks.

If a distributor delivers a tank to holder A and then holder B returns it, this is OK. Holder A still owes the distributor a tank back. Also, the distributor now owes holder B a tank.

We support both unique and NS assets for exchange asset types.

For exchange types, end customers don't care if they get their unique, owned asset back. They just want to get any asset back of the same Asset Type. So though these assets are tracked uniquely with lot numbers and other properties, distributors don't care about tracking them uniquely on customer balances.

If a customer is delivered more exchange tanks than they have returned, then they owe the distributor rent. In the opposite case the balance goes negative. This negative balance indicates that the distributor owes the customer X number of tanks of this type. This negative has no affect on rent. It does not cause a credit. It is just used to indicate that the distributor owes this customer tanks.

Why even bother tracking them then? Why not just track using Not-Scanned Assets (DNS/RNS)?

  • Lot # Control – there is value in this. You can't have lot numbers on Not-Scanned assets.
  • Internal Quantity Control – we don't support NS at branch locations, only at Holders, so these assets must be tracked uniquely to maintain internal location balances.
  • Internal Tracking – sometimes users want to find the exact tank returned from a given customer. Need to track them uniquely to find these tanks
  • Consistent process – It is a simpler process to train and enforce when users must barcode and track all cylinders
  • Some DNS/RNS logic prevents negative balances, so it's not ideal for exchange types.

Enabling Exchange Types

Exchange types can be enabled in 3 different ways:

  • Asset Type - All asset balances of asset types set to exchange will be allowed to go negative.
  • Customer - All asset balances for a particular customer will be allowed to go negative.
  • Customer Overrides - Specific asset types for a specific customer will be allowed to go negative.

Before you can set up any Exchange Types or Overrides, this feature must be enabled by TrackAbout Support.

Set Asset Types to be Exchange

To override an asset type to be exchange:

  • Go to the Asset Classification page ( TrackAbout Config > Asset Classifications).
  • Expand the Category and Group to find the Asset Type you want to set to be exchange.
  • Click on the Asset Type to expand the menu, then click on "Edit this Type".
  • Set the "Is Exchange Type" option to "Yes" and click "Save".

Set Customer to be Exchange Only

To set a customer to have only exchange type balances:

  • Find the customer you want to set as exchange only.
  • In the rental section of the Customer Detail View, click "Change" by "Exchange Overrides".
  • Change the Exchange Override option to be "Special Case: Treat All Asset Types As Exchange" and click "Save".

Set Specific Asset Types to be Exchange for a Customer

  • Find the customer you want to set as exchange only.
  • In the rental section of the Customer Detail View, click "Change" by "Exchange Overrides".
  • Click "Add New Override" on the right-hand side of the screen.
  • In the pop-up box, find the asset type you want to allow to be exchanged.
  • Check the Is-Exchange box and click "Save".
  • Repeat for all asset types you want to override and click "Save" when finished.

This method can also be used to make an asset type non-exchange for specific customers.

How Exchange Type Affects Customer Balances

  1. For exchange balances, Failed RNS and No Credit Returns are treated as valid returns.
  2. When an asset is delivered to Customer A, but returned from Customer B, and Customer B has an override making that asset type be Exchange, but it's a non-exchange asset for Customer A, then how the two customers' balances are handled depends on a TrackAbout Setting called : TreatAnAssetTypeAsExchangeIfEitherHolderInvolvedConsidersItExchange
    1. True - the asset will be treated as an Exchange Type asset for both Customer A and Customer B - Customer A will not get credit for the return, but Customer B will.
    2. False - an Accounting Adjustment will remove the asset from Customer A's balance. Customer B will also get credit since Customer B has no exceptions.
  3. For the best information about customer balances that include exchange type balances, make sure to use the Balance Changes Summary page.