Words matter and avoiding word confusion in day-to-day communications is very important. Are all the things you own—lawn mower, weed whacker, game system, cell phone, laptop, electric drill, circular saw, bicycle and etc.—property, assets or matériel? Do all three words mean the same thing or are there differences?
I am a member of the National Property Management Association (NPMA). The first meeting I attended was at the offices of a global defense contractor in Minneapolis. Someone had taken a cursory look at my website and concluded that I was an apartment complex manager. Most people don’t understand the distinction.
So here is the first bit of confusion about “property management.” In my line of work, property means something very different. The “NPMA is a non-profit membership association for professionals who are responsible for the effective and efficient management of equipment, materials, and other movable and durable assets for their organization.”
The other common confusion is with “asset management.” Assets are often thought of as money or other high-value commodities like precious metals and stones that are safely kept in a bank or vault. But assets are also comprised of everything else owned by organizations and individuals.
In military parlance, you might see the phrase, “high-value assets,” meaning weapons locations, ammunition dumps and other areas that must be targeted to defeat an enemy. In military terms, assets would include just about anything and everything used to conduct war.
Matériel (with two e’s) is all the “equipment, apparatus, and supplies used by an organization or institution.” Just to clarify, the NPMA consists mostly of employees of large-scale, global defense contractors who are charged with keeping track of all the stuff (matériel) that comes into their organizations and the finished products that leave.
As homeowners or small business owners, we all own more and more matériel that needs to be managed. Militaries and defense contractors have highly advanced strategies for handling it all. At MyPropertyID, we have miniaturized the strategy that gives you the same state-of-the-art strategies to help you keep track of everything.