Tracking assets with technology like QR code solves several issues that arise from manual asset management. Siloed working, lengthy audit trails, and potential data breaches are all risk factors. But tagging technology helps to reduce this risk.
QR codes, in particular, are one of the best ways to track assets in the field. They give staff a quick, convenient, and affordable way to monitor assets and inventory. All it takes is a mobile phone camera with very little set-up to accurately track assets.
The Basics of QR Code Asset Tracking
An engineer at Japanese automotive firm Denso invented QR codes in the mid-1990s. He was looking for a more efficient way to provide multi-layered information. As opposed to scanning multiple barcodes, he created QR codes to speed up scanning times.
QR is short for ‘Quick Response’. This means QR Codes offer a fast scan capability that is quicker and more reliable than other types of codes. They are also two-dimensional, which enables them to hold a lot more information than a typical barcode.
There are similarities to the standard barcodes seen in retail or supermarket stores. But a QR code is different because it’s 2D. Enabling it to hold more data.
Also referred to as a ‘matrix code’, QR codes have fast processing speeds. Along with their ability to trigger various types of activities. Such as URL’s, passwords, and photos. Over 11 million US households used them in 2020. Their popularity is down to the convenience they offer through the use of mobile phone devices.
Advantages of Using QR Codes
The use of QR codes for tracking assets provides businesses with many advantages, especially when compared to other solutions such as barcodes and RFID. The benefits of QR code asset tracking include:
- Storing up to 2500 numerical characters of data
- Using smartphones to obtain data
- Being easy to read by a scanner even when damaged
- Requiring minimal staff training
- Being used for a variety of data storage scenarios
How to Track Assets with QR Code
Because they’re customisable, QR codes can make asset management processes more streamlined. This, in turn, reduces costs and keeps productivity high.
Asset tracking becomes easier with QR codes. By customising your set of codes, each one can store huge amounts of digital information. This includes things such as a known location, date of manufacture, and asset identification number.
QR codes, in essence, identify assets and make it easy for asset managers to track them. They also make quick work of restocking spare parts. Plus, they can help to simplify inventory management.
The versatility of QR codes means they can be utilised for a number of different tasks such as instructional guides, magazine advertising, and nutritional information on food packaging. But, more importantly, they’re an essential asset tagging option for businesses wanting to improve their asset management.
Similar to 1D barcodes, the process of QR code asset tracking is remarkably simple and can be broken down into three stages:
- Data is stored on a unique QR code that is printed and assigned to an asset
- The code is scanned by a reader or mobile device which obtains the data
- Data is then sent to a computer in binary form which is then decoded
Benefits of Using QR Code to Track Assets
It’s estimated that the market size for tagging technology will grow to $40 billion by 2027. And this means firms can look forward to reduced costs and easier investment in tagging infrastructures. There are many benefits of using QR Codes for asset tracking, including:
Faster Identification of Assets
QR code offers faster asset tracking speeds. This will save your employee’s time. A label can be easily fixed to an asset, and its code scanned by a smartphone. So, its set-up infrastructure is minimal.
Tracking Asset History
QR codes will identify assets with a serial or model number. This data links to an asset database that will retrieve asset history fast.
Less Asset Downtime
A QR code can store huge amounts of information on an asset. This allows better tracking of the condition of an asset. Including identifying when to replace them.
Increased Asset Visibility
Since it’s easy to produce an unlimited number of QR codes, you can track more assets. This will greatly increase your asset visibility.
Low Risk of Damage
QR codes have in-built correction error processes, which means even with significant damage they’re still scannable. QR codes cluster pixels in duplicates. This makes sure they can still communicate the right information even if they’re worn down.
QR Code Compared with Other Tagging Options
QR codes aren’t the only way to track or tag assets. But most often they’re the quickest and most convenient way.
QR Code vs. Barcodes
QR codes have the edge over barcode tracking when it comes to asset management. That’s because they can store much larger quantities of data. When it comes to choosing between barcodes and QR codes, QR codes are more resilient to wear and tear. So, when codes have areas worn away or missing, there’s enough code in what’s left to make up the difference.
QR Code vs. RFID
While RFID tracking is better for scanning a larger number of items at once, they’re expensive to install. Because of the ease of producing QR code labels, QR codes are less expensive. Making them ideal for most companies. QR codes are fast, simple, and effective for every aspect of asset management. Especially with staff having convenient access to smartphone technology.