Tracking Business Assets: 3 Effective Technologies To Use
Whether you’re a large or small business, the ability to track all business assets in one centralised system can be hugely beneficial.
There are a number of applications and features that make the tracking of company assets possible, but there are 3 that stand out above the rest.
These asset monitoring technologies are GPS asset tracking, Barcode asset tracking and RFID tracking.
Why Should You Track Your Business Assets?
In its simplest form, the purpose of asset tracking is to answer one question; “how many (product) do I have?”.
By implementing asset tracking, you can then begin to build and keep a real-time directory of all assets in one place. As a business, it is essential to be aware of the location and working condition of all company assets.
Before considering a tracking system, it’s important to understand what business assets you have. For example, an IT Centre would most likely have the following assets:
- IT equipment and hardware
- Mobiles and tablets
- Important documents
- Company vehicles
3 Effective Technologies for Tracking Business Assets
Now you’re aware of how beneficial asset tracking can be and what business assets you have, it’s time to analyse a tracking technology that best suits your company.
1. GPS Asset Tracking
What is GPS Tracking?
The first of our 3 chosen tracking technologies for business assets is GPS Tracking.
GPS (Global Positioning System) technology is an extremely common feature and tool in today’s world. For example, GPS can be found in our smartphones, satellite navigation systems, and in the microchips of our household pets.
GPS tracking has the ability to track anyone and anything in real time, working over a string of connected satellite system networks.
Using GPS to Track Business Assets
The advanced capabilities of today’s asset tracking software providers have taken GPS technology and implement it into the workplace to track business assets. This allows for real-time tracking, live locations and historical location data of each trackable asset.
However, GPS tracking can be more beneficial to one type of industry than to another. For example, using GPS technology to track larger business assets like vehicles and machinery would be more efficient that using GPS to track furniture in an IT Centre.
The ability to use GPS and track company assets in real-time can be achieved by either using a specified hand held GPS device or via a cloud-based app. A cloud-based app, which is offered in many top quality asset tracking systems, would allow you to see real-time locations across desktops, tablets and mobiles.
The Advantages of GPS Tracking
- GPS locators tend to be small devices that can be placed anywhere
- Devices are designed with long-lasting battery life or have hardwire capabilities
- Access to real-time tracking, live location and historical location data of assets
- Modern and easy-to-use user interface designs
- Employees can have access to all asset data on tablets and mobiles
2. Barcode Asset Tracking
What is it?
Our second chosen technology for asset monitoring is Barcode Asset Tracking.
Barcode tracking is a relatively easy and time efficient way to collect all possible data from an asset. Simply enter the asset’s information (date received, maintenance schedule, etc.) and the barcode tracking software will build a unique barcode for that asset.
Once printed and attached, you can then gather the asset’s data by scanning the barcode.
Using Barcodes to Track Business Assets
A single barcode has the ability to hold and store extensive data regarding each asset. Meaning, in one scan, you can retrieve all available information about that asset.
There are many benefits to choosing a barcoding system over other technologies, such as RFID tracking. For example, barcodes are cheaper to produce (even in large quantities) and can significantly increase the speed of asset tracking.
But, the most beneficial factor of using a barcode tracking system is the high reduction in errors. According to makebarcode.com, the typical error rate for human 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.
Advantages of Barcode Tracking
- Barcodes can store an extensive amount of data (up to 4000 characters of text)
- They can significantly reduce human data-entry errors
- Increases speed of asset knowledge as opposed to manual data collection
- Barcodes are cheap to produce, even in large quantities
- Employees can scan barcode assets on smartphones with cloud-based apps and built-in QR scanners
3. RFID Asset Tracking
What is RFID Tracking?
Our third and final technology for tracking company assets is RFID tracking. This technology may sound relatively new, but it has been in use as far back as the second World War when it was used to identify friends or foes.
An RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tracking system works by sending a radio signal out to a tag, and then reading the returned signal. Naturally, there are three types of RFID tags:
- Active RFID tags: Powered by battery and send out a continuous signal for a reader to receive.
- Passive RFID tags: Have no battery and wait for a signal from the reader to respond.
- Semi-passive RFID tags: Have a battery, but wait for a signal from the reader to respond.
Using RFID tags to Track Business Assets
A newer type of RFID tag, and a more common one used in the workplace, is Wi-Fi RFID tags. These are active tags that can regularly be called upon over a wireless network access point, and are seen as a more affordable RFID tracking solution to implement and maintain.
There can be many benefits to using an RFID system in the workplace, as opposed to a barcode tracking system. For example an RFID tag needs no line of sight for it to function, meaning it can be activated from a distance. Whereas, a barcode would need to be scanned by a reader with no obstructions between the two.
This technology can also be hugely efficient when it comes to reading the data of multiple business assets. A barcode scanner would scan one asset at a time, whereas RFID enables you to read multiple tags at once.
Advantages of RFID Tracking
- Gather asset data from an RFID tag from a distance of between 20-1500 feet (depending on tag type)
- Tags are made from durable material for long-lasting and weather-proofing
- RFID increases speed of asset monitoring by reading multiple tags at one time
- Tags can be both read only or read/write, making it possible to add or change asset data once the tag has been attached
Where do you go from here?
So, you know what types of assets make up your business and the three most effective technologies to help track these company assets.
Now the next thing to do is to search, compare and shortlist the right asset tracking software for your business needs with our free questionnaire!