How Small Businesses Can Benefit From Using Asset Tracking Tools

Published December 2019, Updated November 2022

When it comes to growing and scaling, having a greater understanding of your assets is essential, particularly for small businesses. Asset tracking tools, in the form of both software and hardware, enable small businesses to track, maintain, and manage their most critical assets.

Having the ability to track physical assets provides small business owners with a range of cost-efficient and time-saving benefits. Such as helping to provide the right data when audits need to be performed. As well as reducing the loss of stock and equipment through theft.

In this guide:

Why Asset Tracking for Small Businesses Is Essential

It can be easy to presume that asset tracking tools are only relevant to large businesses with a huge variety of different assets. But, this isn’t necessarily true. Small businesses need an asset tracking system just as much as large companies – if not more.

Being able to track assets is essential for small businesses that have invested significant budget and resource into their assets. The likelihood is that these assets will be essential for the day-to-day running of a business. If an asset is unavailable due to loss or unplanned maintenance, then it can have a large impact on overall operations. Essentially disrupting growth and revenue.

By adding tracking tags to assets, such as RFID tags or Barcodes, businesses can track assets in real-time. This is a more efficient way to track assets as opposed to using spreadsheets and whiteboards. With 88% of spreadsheets containing at least one error.

How Does Barcode Asset Tracking Work for Small Businesses

Tracking assets allows small businesses to:

  • Have greater visibility of assets
  • Reduce costs for lost and stolen assets
  • Build an asset register
  • Provide data as and when it is needed

Small business asset tracking protocols are typically implemented in a company with the sole purpose of reducing costs by defining asset usage. This, in turn, provides data that can be used in a variety of different ways.

The fact that assets can usually be tracked using a mobile device also makes it an easy and effective option for small businesses. This is particularly true if responsibility for asset tracking is shared between staff. For example, a fleet management or logistics business relies on its vehicles to carry out contracted work. If the vehicles aren’t available, then these contracts can’t be fulfilled.

10 Benefits of Asset Tracking for Small Businesses

1. Prevent Assets From Being Lost, Stolen, or Misplaced

By constantly being aware of an asset’s whereabouts, small businesses can prevent loss or theft and quickly locate missing items. This reduces the amount of money spent on replacing lost or stolen goods.

2. Reduce Insurance Premiums

As a result of accurate live tracking and a reduction in loss and theft of assets, insurance premiums can be reduced. For instance, if you have a large number of ghost assets you’ll be paying insurance premiums on assets that don’t actually exist.

3. Track Deliveries and Routes

A key part of an asset tracking system is its ability to provide real-time location tracking. This is essential for business services such as delivery companies as it allows users to verify deliveries and drop off points on a route.

4. Improve Inventory Management

With tracking systems providing valuable data, stock and inventory management processes can become more efficient. An asset register makes it easier for you to see what inventory you have and what needs to be ordered.

5. Advance Maintenance Planning

Asset tracking systems can provide an in-depth insight into the status of an asset, allowing for small businesses to appropriately plan maintenance. Preventive maintenance helps to reduce expensive breakdown and repair costs in the future.

6. Prolong the Asset Life Cycle

Businesses can plan maintenance in a way that can help to extend the longevity of an asset to keep it productive for future use.

7. Automated Data Collection

Manual data collection can be a common practice for small businesses. But, with an asset tracking solution automatically collecting data, you can reduce the need for manual checks and allow teams to focus on other areas of an operation.

8. Improve Auditing

A digitised tracking solution could mean no more manual stock-taking or labour-intensive checks. This helps to reduce the likeliness of errors and costly mistakes.

Typical Challenges of Small Business Asset Tracking

Without the use of an asset tracking system or asset tagging tools, a business’s operations can suffer. In 2017, over half of the 1100 small businesses that took part in a survey admitted they did not track their assets. Meaning they were more susceptible to risks than the 16% of small businesses who were using Asset Tracking Software.

There are multiple challenges that small business owners face when neglecting asset management protocols. These include:

Theft of Assets

When it comes to replacing assets, it can be a cost that most small businesses want to avoid. Although replacing ageing assets can be beneficial in the long term, replacing assets that have been lost or stolen can be damaging to revenue. In 2017 alone, theft of assets in the construction sector surpassed £70 million.

Lack of Real-Time Data

Without a system collecting real-time data and building an accurate asset register, businesses can feel left behind when it comes to real-time data. Users are unable to know where assets are located, which can delay jobs. They also have to manually investigate an asset’s availability and who is using it.

Risk of Data Errors

Manual asset management methods can result in multiple errors that are mostly related to human error. This mainly affects inventory management and stock counts. Wrong data input can have a negative impact when it comes to performing audits.

Wasting Employee Time

Typical asset tracking systems provide cloud-based capabilities that allow users to use mobile devices to instantly see where assets are located. Without this, employees are often left to track down equipment themselves without knowledge of who last used it and where it was last placed. This results in a lot of time wasted searching for stock or equipment.

Best Asset Tagging Technology for Small Businesses

The key difference between large organisations and small businesses is the amount of revenue they generate. This can directly impact the budget which is allocated to implement tools such as Asset Tracking Software. With this in mind, there are several affordable technology and solutions available to small business owners.

When it comes to choosing the right asset tracking hardware, there are three key areas that small businesses should be aware of. These are cost, frequency range, and durability.

 Asset Tag Cost Range Durability
 Barcode From 5p a label Within the line of sight Easily damaged
 QR Code Can be printed on-site Within the line of sight Can be scanned even when damaged
 RFID Tags Chips inside RFID tags can be pricey Up to 15 metres Long-lasting and designed for adverse environments
 GPS Tracker From £25 each Always connected Strong structure
 NFC Tags From 30p for stickers Within the line of sight Tough foil design

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