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A Guide to Finding the Best Asset Tracking Software for Tracking Physical Assets

Buyer's guide

Asset Tracking Software systems are digitalized platforms packed full of various tools and features to help businesses better track and manage their most valuable current and fixed assets. By utilising tracking technology such as Barcode, RFID, QR Code, and GPS, businesses can reap the many benefits of Asset Tracking Software. Including increasing asset visibility, generating real-time location data with asset tagging, and storing all data in one accurate and accessible asset register.

What Is Asset Tracking Software?

Asset Tracking Software is a computerized system designed to help businesses effectively track and manage all physical assets throughout the workplace and beyond.

By using asset tagging tools and tracking technology, such as RFID, Barcode, QR, and GPS, industries ranging from schools to retailers are able to collect and store data regarding their entire asset database. All of which, thanks to cloud-based solutions, is stored and accessed in one centralized asset register.

The purpose of businesses being able to effectively manage and track their assets is to:

  • Gain greater visibility of fixed and current assets
  • Reduce replacement costs for lost or stolen assets
  • Build an accurate and automated asset register
  • Provide staff with asset data as and when they need it

Typically, asset tracking is used to answer the question: "how many (product) do I have?". But, thanks to the advancement of technology, the capabilities of Asset Tracking Software now provides users with more valuable data regarding their most critical physical assets. Including inventory management, automated stock control, condition monitoring, maintenance scheduling, and real-time location.

The Benefits of Using Asset Tracking Software

Asset management tools are an effective way to increase the efficiency and accuracy of a business’s overall asset management efforts. Being able to use asset tagging technology and collect accurate data results in a range of benefits for operations of all types and sizes.

Build an Accurate Asset Register

Instead of having asset data stored on different computers and spreadsheets across the workplace, Asset Tracking Software enables businesses to store it all in one place. This is particularly useful for:

  • Accessing critical asset data on demand
  • Allowing teams to access data at anytime
  • Managing a check-in system for the use of assets
  • Viewing historical data

Access Data Anytime, Anywhere

Being able to access a centralized asset register from anywhere at any time is revolutionary for businesses. Through the use of mobile apps and cloud-based tools, managers and employees can have access to asset data whenever they need it; from when equipment is scanned and Barcoded on arrival to when it leaves the workplace.

Reduce Misplaced, Stolen, or Lost Assets

By having an accurate overview of each physical asset’s location, the number of assets that are either lost or stolen will significantly decrease. This, in turn, helps to reduce the unplanned expenditure of replacing lost equipment. Having the ability to track the geographical location of assets can also be useful when tracking an item that has been detached from a big batch order, saving significant manpower and time.

Replace Error-Prone Spreadsheets

A common practice for start-ups and SMBs is to track their physical assets in spreadsheets. This is a handy way to store at the early stages of a business; they’re free and require minimal training. But spreadsheets don’t scale well when a business grows. Spreadsheets are prone to errors, tough to share with employees, and lack features.

Typical Features of an Asset Tracking System

Mobile Access

When opting for a cloud-based system instead of an on-premise solution, one main benefit is being able to access asset data on mobile devices. All employees, whether in the workplace or out in the field, can access real-time data through the use of a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, and an internet connection.

Asset Tagging

The asset management marketplace is packed full of systems that offer various forms of asset tagging tools. Whether that be RFID, Bluetooth, NFC, or Barcode. This allows businesses to opt for a tagging technology that is right for their operations. For instance, a delivery and logistics organization may choose to opt for a GPS and RFID asset tagging system. Whereas a retailer will prioritise a QR and Barcode solution.

RTLS Tracking

Particularly useful for large movable assets such as fleets, the use of GPS trackers allows managers to receive real-time location updates through an RTLS. These trackers are physically attached to a device and emit signals to asset tracking systems. As well as handheld devices and smartphones. RTLS tracking can benefit a number of industries including postal and courier services, allowing owners to track their drivers and delivery routes.

Automated Inventory Management

By using asset tagging tools and asset registers, businesses can set custom triggers. This can be in the form of notifications and alerts that are sent to a team member’s mobile device. The most productive use of this is for stock control and inventory management. Asset management systems can be set up to alert inventory managers when stock is running low. As well as providing instant access to historical order information and supplier details when it comes time to replenish stock.

The Importance of Asset Tagging

Asset tagging forms the basis of an asset tracking system’s capabilities. It is the process of attaching identification tags and labels to equipment and infrastructure, which initiates the process of being able to track both fixed and current assets throughout the workplace.

By using unique serial numbers and codes, asset tags are used to identify and track equipment throughout buildings, supply chains, and sites. Asset tags are available in a variety of different forms, allowing for greater usability across industries.

For instance, barcode labels will be more useful to retailers than GPS trackers, whereas RFID tags would be better used in the logistics operations of warehouses than QR codes.

Whether a business chooses to deploy GPS trackers, RFID tags, or QR codes to track their assets, each asset tagging option has the same benefits:

  • To simplify the tracking of high-value assets
  • Replace the need for manual data entry
  • Speed-up the collecting of real-time data
  • Build a real-time location system
  • Track the usable life of assets
  • Reduce the costs associated with the loss and theft of assets

Types of Asset Tagging Options for Fixed and Current Assets

When assigning a unique identification to an asset, businesses need to ensure that they’ve chosen the right asset tags to match their requirements. For instance, they need to consider if the asset tag should be durable, temperature-controlled, or is being used for security purposes. Types of asset tags include:

Barcodes

Barcodes are an affordable and easy-to-use asset tagging solution for businesses with a large number of physcial assets. Particularly useful for inventory tracking, the black and white parallel lines of a barcode are readable by both scanners and mobile devices.

Barcodes can be affixed to all types of assets, from equipment and tools to infrastructure and spare parts. Being a simple scan-and-read system, they don’t require any training among staff and are a low-cost expense. Making the use of barcodes a popular choice for small businesses wanting to enhance their hardware asset management and equipment tracking processes.

RFID Tags

RFID tags are designed with a chip that is ‘woken up’ by the radio signal of an RFID reader. A tracker is able to read the data stored on an RFID tag, via an antenna, and transmit it to an asset register. Thus completing the process of RFID asset management.

It’s also worth noting that there are different types of RFID tags, two main ones being passive and active. As well as various frequency types depending on how the tags will be used; low, high, and ultra-high.

RFID asset tags have larger storage capacities when compared to other asset tagging solution such as barcodes. As well as offering a greater read range, as opposed to a barcode or QR code that would need to be in the line of sight. Although RFID tags are a more pricey investment than barcodes, they do provide businesses with various benefits. Such as tracking assets in real-time with greater accuracy and having the ability to collect data from more than one tag at once.

QR Codes

Similar to barcodes, QR codes are printable labels that can store a large amount of asset data. Using QR codes to track assets in the workplace can be inexpensive, particularly as most data on a QR code can be updated and collected via a mobile device. This makes the process of QR code asset management relatively easy-to-use while streamlining tracking processes.

NFC Tags

NFC (Near field communication) is a technology that has most recently been adopted globally by the smartphone market, mainly for the use of payments. But, it’s this worldwide recognition that has made NFC asset tracking tools so efficient. By being accessible on modern mobile devices, there is no need for specific readers or scanners and it doesn’t require training.

Like RFID tags and QR codes, NFC tags enable employees to register data in real-time and streamline the access of information from their asset management systems. Although these asset tags can be expensive, they do provide better capabilities for use outside and in adverse weather conditions.

GPS Trackers

GPS trackers can be found in a variety of popular modern-day tools such as smartphones and satellite navigation systems. They work by communicating with satellites that orbit the earth to triangulate an exact position.

These battery-powered trackers can be attached to assets to build an effective real-time location system (RTLS) and are ideal for businesses that have a lot of high value moving assets. Such as tracking equipment across construction sites and identifying a vehicle fleet.

Who Uses Asset Tracking Software?

Hospitals and Healthcare

The medical equipment found in healthcare and hospital facilities has significant value, which is one of the reasons why implementing an asset management system in healthcare is vital. The range of assets in a medical setting is vast and includes critical machinery, medication, medical waste, computers, PPE, and patient documents. Not only does Asset Tracking Software reduce unnecessary spending on inventory and replacing lost equipment, but it also helps to reduce patient wait-time and improve the efficiency of operations.

Schools and Educational Facilities

Limited budgets and spending can restrict schools in their acquisition of assets, making cost management vital in the education sector. But, with an effective system to manage assets, schools are able to save money by increasing the accountability of their assets and reducing the amount of lost or stolen equipment. Including computers, textbooks, furniture, and office supplies.

IT Departments

The main issues facing IT businesses are ensuring compliance and maintaining essential IT assets. As well as the unplanned costs of replacing them. By implementing an asset tracking system, IT asset managers are able to achieve greater lifecycle management. This allows them to know when to replace outdated computer hardware and when to purchase updated equipment.

Retailers

Whether a brick and mortar store or an e-commerce site, it’s important for retailers to gain better visibility of assets. By using the right asset tracking tools for retail operations, retailers can not only see the benefits of cost-saving but also become more customer-focused and enhance their overall customer experience.

What Are The Top 10 Best Asset Tracking Software Products?

Assetcloud by Waspbarcode

Assetcloud by Waspbarcode

Waspbarcode provides a suite of products to support a variety of uses such as warehouse management, stock room management, equipment and tool tracking, and manufacturing process management.

These systems have been successfully implemented within a wide range of industries including Construction, Emergency Services, Manufacturing, Retail, and Healthcare.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Organisations requiring a simple Asset & Equipment Tracking System.

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

Cloud based and Web-based

PRICING

From £795

Assettrac solution

Assettrac

Assettrac's system is designed to solve the challenges of tracking fixed assets and revenue-generating assets. It has been successfully implemented in a wide variety of industries including Education, Healthcare, Logistics, and Retail.

The Assettrac system includes RFID, QR Codes, and Barcode technology. The scanning technology is independent of the scanner and third-party scanners can be used, too.

Assettrac has completed projects with Air Liquide, Ofcom, BMW, Southwark Borough Council, and Amnesty International. As well as over 1,000 other organisations worldwide.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Organisations requiring a fully integrated, highly configurable asset management system, supporting complex workflows for fixed as well as revenue-generating assets.

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

On-Premise and Cloud-based

PRICING

From £1,900

CoreRFID

CoreRFID

CoreRFID provides advanced RFID-based asset tracking software with applications in industries such as Manufacturing, Heavy Lifting, and Logistics.

CoreRFID also supplies a wide variety of RFID tags and RFID scanning hardware to meet an increasingly large range of tracking and tracing requirements.

It works with both small and large companies alike and is pleased to include Ocado, BAE Systems, Vaillant, London Underground, Costain, and Ainscough Crane Hire among its customers.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Organisations wishing to track high value, high volume, and safety critical assets with complex workflows.

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

Cloud-based and Web-based

PRICING

From £10,000

Real Asset Management Series 5000

Real Asset Management Series 5000

Real Asset Management (RAM) was founded in 1981 and has grown to become a leading supplier of asset and maintenance management software to both the public and private sectors.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Organisations wanting to use an asset tracking system to track 1000+ assets

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

On-premise and Web Based

PRICING

Bespoke Pricing

fmis asset tracking software

FMIS Asset Tracking System

Financial and Management Information Systems - or FMIS - was founded in 1986, and specialises in finance-aware enterprise asset management systems for use with any size of organization, in any industry. Their unique, all-in-one approach allows users to build a system from a set of highly flexible modules providing tracking, financial, and ERP system integration, as well as a host of other features such as stock and inventory control, equipment maintenance, and lease accounting.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Medium and Large enterprises requiring a fully integrated asset management system with accounting capabilities

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

On-Premise and Cloud-based

PRICING

From £3,000

EZ Office Inventory

EZ Office Inventory

EZOffice Inventory is a simple to use, web-based asset tracking system. Starting at $35 per month, it suits businesses who are looking to move away from spreadsheets or paper-based methods. The product supports RFID, QR Code, and Barcode. EZOffice Inventory has a mobile app for iOS and Android users. With a team of 21 people, EZOffice Inventory offers comprehensive support to use their asset tracking software system.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Organisations wanting to track 250+ Assets

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

Web-based and Cloud-based

PRICING

From $35 per month

Hilti ON!Track

Hilti ON!Track

Hilti’s Asset Tracking Software is made by construction workers for construction workers. Hilti has leveraged its construction expertise of over 75 years to build its asset management software. The system is designed to solve asset visibility and tracking issues for the construction teams. Hilti’s support to get your software up and running as well as use it is one of its core differentiators. Hilti offers onsite consultation to help you choose the right tracking tags for your use. The tags and the software, both are built to perform in dusty and muddy construction conditions.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Construction Sites with 10+ Workers

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

Web-based and Cloud-based

PRICING

Bespoke Pricing

Itemit

Itemit

Itemit has been designed and built for busy business owners who want a simple solution to their tracking needs. Whether it's a home business, a company with an office, or an organisation with multiple sites; Itemit's asset tracking system aims to help customers get organised.

With capabilities such as historical logging and offline access, Itemit’s asset management tool is appealing to companies with field employees. Other features that deem this system as a high-quality tracking solution include location and mapping, QR and RFID asset tags, instant reports, and assisting to produce maintenance schedules. Businesses can even set reminders and notifications for expired licenses and overdue insurance payments.

This tool can also be useful in a variety of industries, with its ease-of-use capabilities available across both personal and business applications. Current industries using this system include construction, food and beverage, facilities, and charities.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Small and medium businesses with simple requirements

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

Web-based and Cloud-based

PRICING

From £9.99

Hardcat Asset Tracking System

Hardcat Asset Tracking System

Hardcat offers an easy-to-install and scalable system that makes the process of tracking assets more accessible and convenient through a cloud-based setup. Other deployment options also include web and mobile, offering applications for iOS, Android, and Windows.

Their asset tracking software also utilises the use of hardware tracking equipment, such as barcode and RFID, to better manage assets.

Hardcat’s experience in asset control has proved crucial in the implementation of its asset management system for over 2000 organisations. Featuring in industries such as law enforcement, education, healthcare and hospitality.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Companies looking for a flexible and cloud-based asset management system to track assets, tools, equipment, property, and evidence

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

Web-based and On-premise

PRICING

From £3,000

Assetspire asset tracking software

Assetspire

Assetspire was launched in 2008 with an aim to provide accurate and scalable asset tracking software to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Based in Norwich, UK, the team has experience working across a variety of industries including Gaming, Professional Services, Government, and Financial Services. Working with small and large businesses alike, Assetspire boasts Santander, Betfair, Capita, and Bank of England among the users of its asset tracking system.

MOST SUITABLE FOR

Small and medium businesses with simple requirements

DEPLOYMENT OPTIONS

Cloud-based

PRICING

From £25 per month

Knowledge Guides for Asset Tracking Software and System Users

What Is RFID Asset Tracking & How Does It Work?
30th Nov 2020

Learn everything about using & deploying Radio-frequency identification (RFID) asset tracking; the 'go-to' tech for asset-heavy businesses.

Why Cloud Based Asset Tracking Is Preferred By 90% of Users
19th Feb 2020

It’s true that 90% of Comparesoft users prefer a cloud-based solution for managing physical assets such as desktops, Macs, iPhones, and tablets. But, why? And what does a cloud-based asset tracking system offer in comparison to other setups?

How to Utilise Google Maps for Asset Tracking in Business
12th Jan 2020

A key part of asset management software is being able to track assets in real-time, and there’s not many better platforms than Google Maps to help achieve this. In fact, it utilises GPS to provide real-time information for 99% of the world.

How GPS Fleet Tracking Can Improve Fleet Management
11th Nov 2019

As with any organisation managing a vehicle fleet, you’ll want to collect data about every vehicle and driver including real-time location. Discover why a GPS asset tracking system is the preferred technology to track fleet assets and the many advantages it provides to all types of businesses.

What Is Barcode Asset Tracking, and Is It a Cost-Effective Tagging Solution?
26th Feb 2021

There aren’t many technologies available that are as accurate, error-free, quick, and cheap as Barcodes. Learn about printing unique codes, using barcode scanners, and even downloading iPhone scanning applications that work with asset management software.

How Bluetooth Asset Tracking Can Enhance Tracking in the Workplace
10th Dec 2019

Along with Barcode, RFID, GPS, and WI-FI, a Bluetooth tracking system aims to enhance your asset management processes. From inventory and staff tracking to providing real-time location data, learn all the capabilities of Bluetooth and how it operates in the workplace.

The Benefits of Tracking Aviation Assets Within Airports
21st Jan 2020

An airport is one of the busiest workplaces in the world, with thousands of assets and visitors. In fact, London Heathrow welcomed 88.1 million people in 2018 alone. Find out just how important it is for these huge organisations to deploy an asset management system and track their aviation inventory while also keeping on top of maintenance schedules.

RFID in Retail: Why It’s Good for Retailers and How to Use It
25th Feb 2020

Noticeable as a tag on a pair of jeans or when an alarm system is activated, RFID is ever-present in retail stores. From River Island’s 28% increase in stock accuracy to a 5.5% increase in sales for Marks and Spencer, discover how powerful using RFID in retail organisations can be.

What is Asset Tracking, and How Does It Work?
2nd Nov 2018

What is Asset Tracking Software? When should you deploy an effective tracking system? And which tracking technology matches your requirements? Understand the basics and learn how Barcodes, RFID, GPS, and Bluetooth are used in different industries to track various business assets.

Achieving Greater Stock Control & Customer Service With Retail Asset Tracking
25th Feb 2020

Discover how the implementation of an effective asset tracking system can help achieve greater customer service satisfaction levels within the busy retail industry.

The Benefits of Asset Tracking Tools for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities
10th Jul 2020

From tracking hospital equipment to dental chairs, learn how asset management systems are utilised in the healthcare sector to help reduce patient wait-times. As well as minimise excessive spending on replacing lost or stolen medical equipment.

Why IoT Is Essential to Your Asset Tracking Processes
16th Sep 2020

With over 10 billion devices worldwide connected to the internet, the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in businesses is rising - including the use of tracking devices and cloud-based software in the workplace.

Faq’s

Frequently Asked Questions

Q A

What Is the Best Asset Tracking Software?

Finding the best asset tracking software for your business depends entirely on how you want to track your assets throughout the workplace. The term ‘best asset tracking software’ is subjective, as what may be the best tracking tool for one company may not necessarily be the best solution for you.

There are a variety of different asset tracking systems available that provide a range of features and benefits. To determine which is right for you, you should consider:

  • The type of business assets you want to track

  • How many assets you want to track

  • What type of asset tracking technology you need (GPS, RFID, Barcode, Bluetooth, NFC)

  • What asset data you want to collect to build an accurate asset register

  • The industry you’re operating in

  • The type of software you require (Cloud-based, On-premise, Mobile, etc.)

  • If you need additional tracking hardware (Barcode scanners, etc.)

Q A

Why Do Businesses Use Asset Tracking Software to Track Assets?

Whether you’re a small business with a handful of physical assets or a much larger organisation with thousands of assets spread across multiple locations, the ability to track assets can be crucial for business operations.

Among other benefits, an asset tracking system allows you to create a comprehensive directory. This directory can include any data you wish to input about your assets, including current working conditions and real-time locations.

As well as having all data in one accessible directory, there are many other advantages to implementing an asset tracking system. Including lower admin costs, improved efficiency and accuracy, improved customer service, and better cost savings by reducing the rate of lost or stolen assets.

For a business that relies heavily on its assets, such as a coffee shop needing its coffee machines to operate at peak asset performance, asset tracking is essential. And there are many different ways a company can track its assets.

These include GPS tracking, Barcode labels, RFID hardware, Bluetooth receivers and WIFI. But, depending on how a business operates, some tracking solutions will be more beneficial than others.

For example, a van hire company would have more joy using a real-time GPS location tracking system, as opposed to using barcode labels to track its fleet vehicles. Whereas the use of printed barcodes and a handheld tracking device can be more beneficial for a business wanting to track its stock inventory.

Q A

What Is a Barcode Asset Tracking System?

Barcodes can be found in many places, like retail industries, and are known for being able to store reference points to specific data via Morse code-style thin and thick bars.

When scanned, light reflects back off a barcode and into a light-detecting component that reads its binary digits. These digits are then forwarded to a computer, which detects the sequence and displays the code's stored data.

In terms of using barcodes to track assets, the process works by entering an asset’s data into a system. The system then generates a unique and printable barcode for that asset. So, when the barcode is scanned, the system will show a read-out of that asset’s data. This data can be current location, purchase date, and even maintenance schedules.

Barcode asset tracking can be effective for two reasons. Firstly, you can edit data without having to generate another barcode. Secondly, it can be a very cost-efficient way to track assets as opposed to RFID and Bluetooth. Especially with the use of durable and weather-proof barcode labels that can increase longevity.

As well as cost-efficiency, there are many other benefits of barcode asset tracking. Including the ability to instantly obtain asset data and simplify recorded-keeping.

But, somewhat seen as a major advantage of tracking assets with barcodes, is the reduction in data errors through manual input. Not only can errors produce false data, but they can prove costly to a business in the long term. The typical error rate for manual data entry is 1 per 300 characters. Whereas, the error rate of a barcode scanner can be as accurate as 1 error in 36 trillion characters.

Q A

What Is an RFID Asset Tracking System?

The first use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) can be traced back to the second world war when radar was used to identify plans from a distance. Nowadays, RFID can be found in a marathon runner’s vest, a parking lot access fob, and a pet’s collar. And, most efficiently, it is also used in industries to track valuable assets and inventory.

RFID is a non-contact wireless technology that utilises radiofrequency waves to transfer data. This means RFID asset tags can be read from a distance without the tag being in view. Depending on the type of tag, this distance can be anything from a few centimetres to 1500 feet.

In terms of using RFID to track business assets, this range of distance is key. A system that uses Active RFID tags is able to identify and locate asset within seconds. Whereas other tracking systems, like barcodes, require each asset to be physically scanned.

Like barcodes, RFID asset tracking tags have a pre-generated code that references a unique asset. And, once identified by the receiver, the data from this asset is then accessible to read and update. Data can include location, condition, maintenance reports, purchase information and more.

There are three types of RFID tags; Active, Passive and Semi-passive. Active tags are battery-powered asset tags that send a continuous signal for a receiver to capture. Passive tags have no battery and only respond to a receiver once a signal has been sent out. And Semi-passive tags are a hybrid of the two; battery-powered and no continuous signal.

Although an RFID asset tracking system can be more expensive, it can also be more beneficial. For instance, Active RFID tags are tough, durable and weather-proof. This means they won’t need replacing as often as a paper barcode. This also makes them ideal for being used in different temperatures and for tracking larger assets such as vehicles and shipping containers.

As well as durable tags and accessing data over a distance, RFID asset tracking has many benefits. Including read and write capabilities and the ability to edit data of a pre-generated tag. You can also set up alerts with some RFID tags, which can alert you in real-time as an item moves location without authorisation.

Q A

How to Create an Asset Register With Asset Tracking Software

An asset register is a detailed database of data that helps businesses to easily log, track, access, and update asset information. Particularly useful for businesses with a large number of assets, an asset register exists in digital form. Giving employees access to an asset’s location, date of purchase, procurement costs, maintenance history, and last known users.

Creating an asset register is key to improving the visibility of a business’s entire asset repository. An asset register’s main objective is to ensure data accuracy and to provide real-time information. This helps businesses to:

  • Keep assets compliant

  • Monitor depreciation value of assets

  • Schedule and plan for maintenance

  • Reduce costs associated with loss and theft of assets

The most time-efficient and accurate process of creating an asset register is with an asset tracking system. By utilizing asset tagging technology, each asset can be assigned a unique identification number or code. This allows staff to access accurate asset data in an instant by using readers to scan inventory, equipment, and infrastructure. It also means that changes to asset data can be logged and updated through a dedicated asset register software in a time-efficient manner.

The process of creating an asset register with Asset Tracking Software can be broken down into just 4 steps:

  1. Record all fixed assets into an Asset Tracking Software tool

  2. Attach relevant data associated with assets

  3. Tag assets with chosen asset tagging technology

  4. Monitor and track assets in real-time

Q A

Can Tagging Assets Improve Inventory Management?

Although a business’s stock may be limited to just a few hundred assets, preserving and utilising each one is essential to generating revenue. This is why good inventory management is critical for all companies, whether large or small.

With an effective asset tracking system in place, businesses can benefit reap the many benefits of inventory management. Including:

  • Reducing the time it takes to look for assets with real-time tracking

  • Reducing the cost of replacing lost, stolen, or misplaced inventory

  • Preventing spare part shortages

  • Accessing inventory data on mobile devices

  • Tracking stock as it moves between warehouses and stores

  • Accessing stock from point-of-sale (POS) tools

Implementing an asset tracking tool to improve inventory management is important for all types of businesses that rely on their assets. But, choosing the right tracking solution depends on the size of a company and the resources available.

For instance, a large organisation needing to monitor hundreds-of-thousands of expensive assets may choose to opt for a top-of-the-line RFID asset tagging solution. Enabling them to track and monitor multiple assets at once. Whereas a small business may be better implementing a less-expensive barcode label system. As well as choosing a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product with a low-cost monthly subscription payment model.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Asset Tracking Solution

As well as costs, there are other factors for business owners to consider when choosing an asset tracking system. Such as:

  • Ease-of-use for all employees

  • Minimal system training requirements

  • In-expensive tracking hardware and asset tags

  • Access on multiple mobile devices

Once convinced that an asset tracking system is the best way for a business to improve its inventory management, they’ll then have to decide on the right asset tagging technology. Each form of tracking device has advantages and disadvantages depending on the business size. Different forms of asset tracking technology include:

  • Barcodes

  • QR codes

  • RFID

  • GPS

  • Bluetooth LE

  • NFC

Q A

What Is a GPS Asset Tracking System?

Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is a popular tool that can be found in many common devices such as smartphones and satellite navigation systems.

In essence, GPS works by communicating with satellites that orbit the earth to triangulate an exact position. And, in terms of tracking physical assets, it can be an extremely efficient tool. Especially for companies who rely heavily on this technology, such as postal delivery services and fleet management organisations.

One main benefactor of using GPS technology to track assets is the ability to receive real-time location updates. This can usually be achieved with the use of a small tracking device. These devices are physically attached to an asset, usually a large piece of equipment, and emit a signal to a receiver - either a designated handheld device, smartphone or computer.

For example, a company that rents out cars may attach a tracking device to one of its vehicles before handing it over to a customer. This way, in case this car is lost or stolen, the company will have an exact live location of where the car is.

GPS asset tracking systems are usually adopted by organisations that have moving valuable assets, such as airports or local councils. Whereas other businesses, such as a clothes retail store or IT centre, would opt for alternative tracking options to manage its assets - like Barcode and RFID tracking.

Q A

What Is a Bluetooth Asset Tracking System?

Bluetooth is a relatively simple way for devices to link together over a short distance. Today, this technology can be found in a range of common devices such as wireless headphones and computer peripherals; mouses, keyboards and printers.

Installed inside a Bluetooth receiver and transmitter, are radio antennas. These antennas simultaneously send and receive signals between one another. This allows the two devices to talk to each other.

However, a receiver will only find the signal of a transmitter if it is within range. And, depending on the device, ranges can vary between an average of 30 ft to 1000 ft. The latter being capable with Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy(LE).

This short distance means, in terms of tracking, Bluetooth lacks the range of technologies such as GPS. But, because of the shorter transmission signal, Bluetooth devices require only a small amount of power to operate. This, in turn, allows their batteries to last much longer.

The improvements in Bluetooth LE technology have been a key instigator for why so many businesses are using Bluetooth to track assets. With devices being able to survive long periods with relatively small batteries, they can operate for upwards of a year without the need for replacement. And, unlike GPS trackers, Bluetooth trackers can be a relatively cheap investment.

By strategically positioning receivers around the workplace, businesses are able to track all discoverable Bluetooth devices. These devices are then attached to assets, with their tracking data logged. For using Bluetooth in larger workspaces, more receivers may be required to work together and create a larger field of range.

When interacting with devices, receivers can record and send data back to a single device. This can be either a computer, smartphone or tracking device. The data may include real-time location, location history, and the identification of employees who have used the asset.

Here’s a handy infographic to show how exactly Bluetooth asset tracking works.

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Can Assets Be Tracked With a Mobile Device?

The capabilities of a modern smartphone can seem endless. Features include high-level security identification, huge banks of memory, and faster graphic-processors than a Microsoft Xbox 360 games console. In fact, the smartphone in your pocket most likely has more computing power than Nasa’s Orion spaceship that launched in 2014.

With all of this power, it comes at no surprise that businesses incorporate smartphones into their operations. As of 2014, 60% of employees use mobile devices for work-related activity.

In terms of using a mobile device to track assets, this can be achieved in a few ways.

With built-in radio antennas, one possible tracking solution is Bluetooth. As seen in features like Apple’s “AirDrop”, mobile devices can generate a two-way connection between it and another device through Bluetooth. This means, for example, a phone can be configured to act as a receiver and track the signal of a transmitter.

Another example is GPS. With a GPS-enabled tracker, employees can locate trackers in real-time. This can be beneficial for managing a fleet of vehicles or for tracking a postal delivery. Mobile devices themselves can also be tracked via an already-implanted GPS chip.

Smartphones are also capable of using their cameras to scan codes. This makes them an extremely useful tool when using Barcodes. By scanning a code, employees can read and update the data that is associated with that unique code.

The benefits are vast for tracking assets with a smartphone. Including the ability to quickly build an accurate asset register. And, helping to reduce data errors with less need for manual input. But one main advantage is the ease of accessing data for employees in the field. By having instant access to a company's asset register, field employees can read and update data anywhere at any time.

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Every Asset Tracking Software Looks the Same - What Is the Best Way to Compare Them?

It may come to a point when, after days or weeks of research, all asset management systems options look the same. But, with our software comparison tool, we can provide you with a list of software solutions that best match your requirements - within minutes.

Our aim is to make the process of finding the best asset tracking software for your business as easy and as simple as possible. And this can be done by using our questionnaire.

By answering a few questions, we can gauge exactly what you need. This short questionnaire asks what assets you need to track, what operations you want to track, how many assets need to be tracked and what industry your business is in.

We then provide a list of the UK’s best software vendors and systems that match your questions and meet your tracking requirements.

As well as this, you are then able to shortlist your favoured choices and compare features, reviews and prices of each one.

To ensure that the products we recommend feature the best quality standards, we ask every software vendor to demo their product to us. This allows you to see all of the strengths and differentiators of each product. We also rank and recommend each product based on verifiable data and feedback from past customers who have used the product.

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Can Asset Tracking Software Help Eliminate Ghost Assets?

Ghost Assets are assets listed on a company’s register that can not be physically accounted for. Although this could be for a number of reasons, inevitably the asset is either missing or unusable. And, if the system has not been updated to show this, a Ghost Asset is created.

Although it seems unfeasible for a missing asset to appear on a register, Ghost Assets can form from a number of errors. Including unrecorded trade-ins, mismanaged disposals, and inventory re-arrangement. On average, in 2012, 65% of fixed asset data was incomplete, inaccurate, or missing.

As well as adding to an in-accurate register, Ghost Assets also prove harmful to costs and productivity. This includes paying unnecessary tax. For example, if a company can not account for 20% of its assets then it will pay more tax than it needs to. The same theory can be applied to insurance premiums.

With this in mind, it is best to act quickly and eliminate Ghost Assets. This is done by reviewing the current list of assets and then performing a physical audit to compare the two sets of data. Once identified, the Ghost Asset’s data can be edited to match its current state. And, as a bonus, this process can be instantaneous if using a mobile or handheld device.

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What Is the Best Way to Track Physical Assets in Real-Time?

The ultimate purpose of tracking assets is to know an asset’s exact location and to understand how each one is being utilised. By using a Real-Time Location System (RTLS), businesses can improve their overall asset management. As well as calculating a more accurate return on investment (ROI) for each asset.

Mostly associated with location tracking, an RTLS provides much more key data regarding physical assets. It lets you know when an asset was last used, and how frequent, and how long it was active during a working day. Effectively letting you build a complete asset lifecycle of each asset from acquisition to disposal.

An RTLS is embedded into a device that emits a signal. This signal, along with all the data attached to it, is then received by a reader. By implementing this type of system, businesses are then able to track all assets operating in the workplace. As well as stationary assets, like inventory, to locate them throughout the day.

Modern RTLS solutions can be found in wireless technologies such as RFID and Bluetooth, in the form of asset tags. They are also used in GPS trackers, which can be handy for a business managing its own vehicle fleet.

As a result, you’ll be able to manage assets with greater accuracy. Other benefits of implementing an RTLS include a reduction in lost and stolen assets. As well as being able to produce a more time-effective maintenance and repair schedule.

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What Are the Advantages of Using Software to Track Business Assets Instead of Spreadsheets?

Although cheap and easy-to-use, spreadsheets can prove costly to business operations. This is shown by the regularity of input errors and data duplications. As reported in 2015, human error was one factor in costing UK businesses an estimated £98.6 billion a year.

Spreadsheets, mostly associated with small businesses, are commonly used to manage inventory and track stock. In fact, these operations are so common that specific templates can be found online and downloaded within minutes. But, albeit a step-up from pen and paper, spreadsheets can actually do more harm than good to business operations.

As a company grows, so does the number of its assets. This requires large amounts of data to be manually imported into spreadsheets. But, with this data input, comes inevitable errors. And, even worse, these errors can be undetectable in such a large quantity of data. Eventually filling the spreadsheet with false information and rendering it useless.

Other disadvantages of using spreadsheets to track assets include the lack of usability and accessibility. A spreadsheet will give no indication that more than one user is editing data at the same time. There is also no audit trail, making it difficult to keep accurate counts of inventory.

However, there is a spreadsheet alternative that offers much more reliability; Asset Tracking Software. With a software solution, the quality and accuracy of asset data is significantly increased. This is made possible with features such as cloud and mobile access for multiple users, customised audit reports, and real-time management.

With access to real-time data, businesses are able to track and manage assets much more effectively. For example, by using GPS and RFID tags, managers can be alerted to the change of an asset's location. This information is then automatically updating in the system's centralised database. Unlike a spreadsheet, which would need to be updated manually resulting in the likelihood of an error.

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What Is the Difference Between Cloud-based and On-premise Asset Tracking Systems?

There are two types of asset management systems most commonly used in business; on-premise and cloud-based. The former hosts all asset data on local servers. Whereas a cloud-based platform stores data on a provider’s servers and is accessed via the web. The need for fast data solutions has led to an increase in demand for cloud-based software. So much so that, as of 2014, 82% of providers built their applications specifically for cloud delivery.

On-premise systems are solely operated at the site of a business and installed only on their computers. This allows for greater control and security, having data stored in-house and on their own servers. However, this privilege can be expensive. An on-premise solution requires a large area of land, an on-site IT maintenance team, and server hardware. All of which can result in huge upfront costs.

A cloud-based asset tracking solution, on the other hand, requires no investment in servers or operating systems. This means it has very minimal start-up costs and is usually acquired on a subscription-based model. Being accessible via the web, cloud systems can also be implemented and deployed instantly. All that is usually required is an internet connection. This also means operations are not restricted to the workplace, as data can be accessed from anywhere.

With greater accessibility, cloud platforms can be efficiently utilised by field workers. Employees can access and update data from any location with a laptop, tablet or smartphone. This makes it particularly helpful for updating maintenance requirements, for example, on a construction site. Unlike an on-premise system that would require employees to use the software on installed locations only.

As well as wider accessibility, cloud platform vendors also provide an active support line for assistance. So, with this in mind, it’s no wonder 90% of Comparesoft customers prefer a cloud-based solution.

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What Industries Benefit the Most From Implementing an Asset Tracking System?

The use of Asset Tracking Software can benefit many businesses and industries that rely heavily on the upkeep of their assets. That includes schools, manufacturers, IT centres, healthcare facilities and brick and mortar retail shops.

Although mainly used to compile a complete asset library, the various features offered by an asset management system opens the door to a vast array of users. Such features include:

  • Real-time tracking

  • Calculated ROI for each asset

  • Scheduled maintenance programs

  • Forecasting and reporting

  • Mobile accessibility

But, not all industries will benefit from the same features. For example, a manufacturing organisation will prioritise the need to schedule preventive maintenance programs over the need to access data via a mobile device. Whereas a retail company will rely on mobile access to enhance their point-of-sale (POS) strategy.

Other industries that can benefit include:

Schools and Educational Facilities

Primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities all consist of thousands of assets. From expensive IT assets like computers to small assets such as library books. But, having to work within a limited budget means the replacement of lost or stolen assets can be costly. Which is where an asset tracking system can offer a solution.

By providing technologies such as QR codes and RFID tags, school asset managers can keep track of their most valuable assets. While also being able to collect all asset data in one comprehensive system that is available to all teachers, department heads and administrators.

Other benefits of using asset management tools in schools include:

  • Operating an asset booking system with a check-in/check-out program

  • Generate asset reports from each school department

  • Use IoT devices to track assets in real-time

  • Sharing forecasts with authorities such as local districts and MATs

Brick and Mortar Shops/Retailers

Enhancing the overall customer and POS experience is vital for businesses in the retail industry. Not only can this be achievable through help desk and service desk solutions, but also with an asset tracking tool.

One main advantage of implementing retail asset tracking is to take control of your inventory. By storing inventory procurement, disposals and sales in one central system you’re able to gain insight and accuracy into your stock levels. This is achieved most effectively by using IoT devices such as RFID tags and QR/Barcode scanners.

Other advantages include:

  • Minimising stolen and lost assets in a bid to reduce shrinking

  • Accessing real-time data such as location, condition and quantity

  • Alerting managers and staff when an asset has been removed without being scanned

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An Asset Tracking Software Vendor Doesn’t Offer a Free Trial - Is That a Red Flag?

As you embark on your journey of finding the right asset tracking system for your business, there are many factors to consider while evaluating and comparing vendors and products. For example, do you require an open-source and cloud-based system? If so, then a product enabling open source programming and a vendor offering cloud-based access will be a part of your core requirements.

Another consideration, which is often overlooked, is if the vendor offers a free trial or live demonstration.

By being able to access a free trial of a vendors software, you can gauge if it is the right solution for your operations. Although you may not be able to find a link to a free trial on their website, it’s always worth emailing their support and asking for one.

There are many reasons as to why you should actively seek a free trial when searching for the right asset tracking software, such as:

  • It’s the first chance for you to interact with the product

  • You can see how easy the UI is to navigate for you and your team

  • To understand if it can be integrated with your existing programs

  • It’s a great chance to test out a common scenario to see if it reacts how you need it to

If you can’t find an option for a free trial, and the salesperson can’t provide you with one, it may not be worth taking the risk to purchase the product.

Q A

Is NFC Technology the Best Way to Track Inventory?

Like other technology used to track assets and inventory, such as Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication (NFC) transmits data wirelessly using radio waves. As a newer form of tracking tech, NFC is a subset of RFID and operates at a high-frequency range. But, unlike its technological parent, NFC works only at a very short distance and requires two devices to be within a specific range of each other - typically 4 centimetres.

The use of NFC technology can be seen in most modern-day transactions, such as transferring payments via mobiles or scanning employee badges for building access. As well as being used to track physical items, such as:

  • Commerce products

  • Containers

  • Tools

  • Equipment

  • People

  • Vehicles

  • Spare parts

In terms of using it to track current assets and inventory, NFC technology is an affordable and easy-to-use tool. Whereas other management systems can be time-consuming and complicated, the steps needed to implement NFC for tracking assets are simple:

  1. Assign an NFC tag to an asset

  2. Attach the NFC tag to the assigned asset

  3. Scan the tag with an NFC-enabled mobile

  4. Read, update, and edit the data that shows up on the mobile

The use of NFC technology can be seen in most modern-day transactions, such as transferring payments via mobiles or scanning employee badges for building access. As well as being used to track physical items, such as:

Providing You With a Fixed and Precise Location

Once you scan an NFC tag, you’ll be presented with all relevant data relating to an asset. Within that data, will be the exact location of the asset that is associated with the tag. Whereas, if you opted for GPS location tracking, some GPS trackers will struggle to pinpoint an exact location of an asset if it is located indoors or underground, which most inventory is.

No Need for Specific and Expensive Hardware

Whereas RFID tags require specific hardware to extract asset data, NFC readers are typically stored on modern-day smartphones. This greatly reduces the cost of using NFC for managing assets and inventory.

Easily Edit and Update an NFC Tag’s Data

If an asset has been discontinued or inventory has been moved, you’re easily able to update an NFC tag’s data instead of removing it or replacing it. Whereas, if you were using a barcoding tracking system, a new barcode would need to be assigned, printed out, and attached over the old barcode.

NFC Tags are Quick to Scan

NFC tags are a popular choice because of their quick transaction speeds. For instance, an NFC mobile is always ready to receive a signal and can be scanned right away. Whereas using a mobile to scan QR codes can be time-consuming, having to load an App and focus on the code.

NFC Technology is Small and Inexpensive

Averaging under £0.10 for each tag and not requiring specific hardware, NFC equipment won’t cost as much as other systems. The small structure of an NFC tag also allows it to be placed anywhere without obstruction. Whereas a QR code would need to be printed large enough to be scanned without error.

NFC Tags are Durable and Don’t Require Batteries

The data transferred between an NFC tag and a mobile device is processed via a chip, with no battery power required from the tag. This allows the tag to draw power from the NFC reader and transmit data.

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