Asset sharing between businesses

Asset sharing between businesses
©kinako, image #165264567, 2017, source:
Energy, Materials, Waste, Carbon
All sectors
High cost
Annual saving:
50 - 75 %
Payback time:
1 - 10 Year(s)
Resource savings: Raw material:
asset sharing among two or more companies can mean reduction of material use by two or more times.
Associated cost savings: Raw material:
50 - 75%
Payback time:
payback time varies depending on the cost of the shared asset
Premises and operation areas:
Office management, Office building, Production building, Production processes, Supply operations, Waste and recycling
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
What is in it for you:
Economic benefits through sharing the cost of shared asset/equipment. Less environmental impact due to less asset deployment and avoidance of material consumption.
Descriptive information:

Sharing an asset with other companies can be done when you are not using the asset for 100%. An asset can be anything that you use to make your business run: from an oven for catering services to construction equipment, from a car to a server computer. Any business faces variations in orders and business. Sometimes your assets can't keep up and you need extra capacity, in lower business the assets are unused. Seasonal variations in business also offer an opportunity for sharing: In agriculture, sharing equipment for sowing, harvesting or pesticide control has been the practice since many years. 

Whether used or not, your assets have continuous costs: depreciation, financing and interest, maintenance. Making sure that the asset is always used to its maximum potential ensures that no money is wasted during downtime. This is the economical aspect of asset sharing.  When you share assets, you can more easily scale your business: rent out the assets if you're not using them, or acces others' spare capacity when you need it.

A secondary benefit of sharing assets is in the environmental gains. If two businesses can share the same asset to avoid the purhcase of a second asset, less materials are consumed .

Trust is essential in the sharing economy. Maybe you do not want to share  your important assets: Either because the other party is a competitior, because your equipment is so specific that there is no need for it by others, or because your assets are sensitive to disruptions and changed operating parameters. Two approaches are available:

  • Find non-critical assets to share so you need less trust. Your business probably owns lots of assets that can be shared without any risks. For example, multiumedia projectors that only get used once a week, cleaning equipment, vans. Anything in your company that is underused can be made available for sharing. This holds even for your office space: if you're having an empty seat for a couple of months, you may rent it out as office space to a starting entrepreneur. They are then able to profit from a fully equipped office while you can reduce your business' housing costs.
  • Make use of an online sharing platform where users are verifiable and can be rated so you can increase trust.

To get started with sharing, you can follow these steps:

  1. Make an inventory of chances for asset sharing
  2. Acknowledge and quantify under-used assets
  3. Develop sharing policy and appoint someone to manage this task
  4. Make an inventory of supply and demand
  5. Use some kind of online marketplace or set up ad-hoc partnerships
  6. Integrate sharing of assets in your company culture and daily operations

An alternative to sharing currently owned assets is to invest in a new asset together with a partner. Your combined investment will lower the investment costs per partner, or you can make a larger investment together in an asset that would otherwise be out of reach.

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