How Asset Tracking Works: Asset Tracking 101

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Asset Tracking Label

Every successful business starts with a framework. An important piece of that framework is a software to increase efficiency, organization, and revenue. Asset tracking is a technical practice covering those areas that many companies housing equipment utilize. Let’s take a look at the basics.

What is Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking is the process of tracking physical assets, usually equipment, via barcode scanning labels or RFID or GPS tags to broadcast an asset’s location.

RFID, or radio-frequency identification, are tags placed on assets that use electromagnetic fields to identify and track an item’s location. Asset tracking is beneficial for companies with a warehouse, or other storage type facility, that need to track an item’s location and organize inventory.

What is the purpose?

The overall goal of asset tracking is to save your business time and money. We’ve all heard that phrase before, but just how true is it? Asset tracking helps improve the accuracy and efficiency of keeping assets secure. This means the barcode labels, GPS and RFID tags improve the accuracy of asset location and improve the efficiency in moving assets in and out of storage facilities. This is why asset tracking saves you time and money rather than pursuing manual processes of tracking inventory.

How is it used?

As mentioned already, asset tracking is performed through barcode labels and RFID or GPS tags attached to assets to track their location.

Asset tracking is typically performed through a software that implements the IP numbers on the labels and tags to compile an inventory. This system of tracking also utilizes some sort of inventory database to keep a steady record of data, such as where the assets are and if any have gone missing. If assets go missing or are moved around without consent, the inventory database has that record on hand to check past mistakes.

Although asset tracking can be used for most companies with any type of inventory, big or small, it is most often used for industries with large equipment.

Farming, construction, mining, and cities managing emergency equipment are a few examples of companies handling large inventory sizes using asset tracking, as well as shipping and logistics and supply chain management.

Asset Tracking Benefits

  • Control of movement. Administrators of companies utilizing asset tracking like the ability to control the movement of inventory, as well as the ability to gain insight to its whereabouts. It creates a peace of mind to know employees can access their inventory quantities and locations by simply inputting a series of numbers into a system. The access to an asset’s location also allocates time to correct mistakes in the future. By tracking the number, employees can easily view where and how an item went missing, and work to prevent that mistake for the next batch of inventory.
  • Variety of options. The most obvious benefit to asset tracking is that it comes in various forms, dependent on your geographic and size needs. Barcode labels are manually scanned by either smartphones or special barcode readers. Barcode readers are handheld and typically small, so necessary storage space is small, too.
  • RFID tags come in ‘passive’ and ‘active’ forms. Passive RFID tags are typically smaller and cheaper, with a read range of 1-10 centimeters and 5-6 meters based on level of frequency. Active RFID tags are typically much larger than passive tags and can read hundreds of meters in reach.
  • GPS asset trackers can track items globally. Rather than using a car for battery power like most GPSs, GPS asset trackers are internally battery powered. However, they still combine the power of satellite technology and mobile phones, so users can view their inventory anywhere in the world in real-time.
  • Organization and efficiency. Because asset tracking provides all the data for it’s users, organizing warehouses or other storage spaces can be finished quickly. You can track which items are grouped together to create a more efficient system of filing, organization, and reduce the time it takes to locate items. Users also have the ability to better forecast future inventory purchases based on the quantity needs easily found through barcodes, RFID, and GPS numbers.