In asset-intensive businesses, particularly those that rely heavily on their assets to generate revenue, tracking physical items and equipment through the use of an asset tagging process is essential. By utilizing cloud-based software and tracking technology, such as RFID and Barcodes, a range of industries from healthcare to retail can benefit from tagging their mission-critical assets.
What Is Asset Tagging?
Asset tagging is the process of affixing tags or labels to assets to identify each one individually and track data from real-time location to maintenance history. These tags can be assigned to both fixed and moveable assets that are spread across multiple sites and warehouses. Enabling businesses to achieve a holistic view of all their owned assets.
Asset tagging opens up a wide range of data tracking possibilities for businesses, particularly when used alongside a computerized system such as Asset Tracking Software. With an estimated global market share of $36.3 billion by 2025, businesses are beginning to understand how essential and beneficial asset tracking can be to their operations.
By attaching tags and labels to assets, businesses can gather a wide range of data and record it in a digitized asset register. Asset data can include:
- Real-time location
- Purchase history
- Maintenance schedules
- Depreciation value
The Importance and Benefits of Tagging Assets
Tracking assets with the use of digitized tools have long been an essential process for asset-intensive businesses. But the ability to track assets is only possible when first beginning the asset tagging process.
A key part of asset tagging is ensuring the right tags are chosen to collect data regarding a business’s physical assets. Keeping in mind that each tag is different and can collect different types of data. Tagging mission-critical assets ensure important factors such as:
- Theft prevention
- Inventory control
- Real-time tracking
No matter the type or size of a business, the ability to tag assets and continually track them is important. Not only is asset tagging a gateway to identifying the number of assets a business has, but it also allows businesses to benefit in several other ways.
Save Time and Resources Locating Equipment
In a working environment that is packed full of moveable assets and spread across multiple sites, manually searching for a specific asset can be a time-consuming process. But, by utilizing asset tagging, each asset that has been affixed with a tag can be identified and found almost instantly.
The ability to quickly locate equipment is possible only when using tagging technology that incorporates real-time capabilities, which can be found in tools such as RFID tags and GPS trackers.
An industry that relies heavily on time management is healthcare. Delays can mean the difference between life and death, enabling staff to quickly track medical assets that can greatly reduce the time taken to find the right equipment. Without an automated tracking process, nurses waste 6000 hours on average each month tracking down medical equipment.
Reduce Costs Associated With Loss and Theft
A key advantage for tagging assets with trackable tags and labels is to ensure their whereabouts at all times. By having this information readily available in an asset register, businesses can eliminate the risk of losing assets that are critical for generating revenue. Whether that be spare parts, tools, or stock.
With a digital eye cast upon the location of a business’s assets, the asset tagging process can help reduce the costs associated with replacing lost or stolen equipment. For instance, job site theft costs construction companies $1billion each year due to the lack of asset visibility.
A Step-By-Step Guide of the Asset Tagging Process
The asset tagging process can be broken down into four simple steps:
- Assigning a unique identification number
- Choosing a suitable tag or label
- Creating an asset profile
- Affixing an asset tag
Assigning a Unique Identification Number
Once the type and category of an asset have been highlighted at purchase, it’s time to start assigning a unique identification (ID) number. Each ID number is different and will set all assets apart from one another in a bid to be instantly recognisable in an asset tracking system. A unique ID number will help managers and departments with processes such as reordering, maintenance, and accounting.
Choosing a Suitable Tag or Label
When it comes to tagging assets, there are several options to choose from. But it’s important to realise that each asset tag has different characteristics. This means a tag that may be suitable for one asset may not be suitable for another. Businesses should consider whether to prioritize tags based on factors such as their durability in environmental conditions and their security capabilities. Asset tag choices include:
Creating an Asset Profile
When assigning tags, the correct data that matches the intended asset needs to be included. By doing so, businesses can essentially create a detailed profile for each item that can be accessed through an asset tagging system. Asset data includes:
- Serial numbers
- Manufacturer details
- Date of purchase
- Typical usable life
Affixing an Asset Tag
Once valuable equipment has been identified and a unique profile has been created, businesses can then begin the process of tagging their assets. This involves affixing tags by pressure-sensitive adhesive methods or by mechanical attachments.
What Are the Different Types of Asset Tags and Labels?
When it comes to implementing an asset tagging system, there are a variety of tags and labels to choose from. Each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
RFID (radio-frequency identification) has been used as a form of tracking since the Second World War. It was later installed in 2004 by retailer Walmart as a way of tracking consumer assets, sparking a mass adoption of RFID tagging technology.
Available in different forms that offer varying frequencies, durable RFID tags are a popular choice when it comes to tagging assets. An RFID tag’s long-range and accurate data-reading capabilities have enabled many industries to capitalize on asset tracking solutions. In the retail industry, RFID technology enabled clothes retailer River Island to increase stock accuracy from 70% to 98%. Canus, a skincare production company, also utilizes RFID tags and sensors to monitor the condition of their products when in transit.
Barcode and QR Code Labels
Barcode labels have been associated with asset tagging ever since the very first consumer barcode was scanned in 1974. Due to their cheap costs and availability, the use of barcode and QR code labels for asset tracking solutions are extremely popular in businesses that store hundreds or thousands of assets in warehouses and stock rooms.
Made up of varying bars and spaces that represent unique numbers and letters, barcodes can be read by simply scanning them with a compatible reader; whether a handheld scanner or smartphone.
GPS (global positioning system) tracking works by communicating with satellites to triangulate an exact position. They provide accurate real-time location data and are ideal for tracking large moveable assets such as equipment and vehicles. Although GPS systems are expensive and not ideal for indoor tracking, they are an effective tracking solution for various operations. Including fleet management, logistics, and transportation organisations.