Asset tracking is an important aspect for any business or organization irrespective of their scale (large or small).
Any organization would own some of the assets to run their business, they can either be machines, equipment or even a computer system.
Asset for your business will be defined as any valuable item or thing you own, and they are of great value to you.
You need to track these assets for their whereabouts, location, assignee, and their working condition.
For asset tracking, assets should be tagged with durable unique ID tags.
What information is needed for Asset Tracking?
Generally, all the physical and fixed items like computers, furniture, equipment, etc. are counted as assets which are in need to be tracked down.
Some of the more examples of assets to be tracked are land, buildings, machinery, plant, tools, equipment, vehicles, gold, silver or any other form of tangible economic resource.
The new asset when added to the asset tracking system, some information is added simultaneously into the system, by which the asset will be tracked.
The information needed for asset tracking is:
- Description of Asset
- Manufacturer of Asset
- Model Number
- Serial Number
- Cost of Purchase
- Working Condition
- Allotted Department
- Location of Allotted Department
- Allotted Person
It is very important to have and consider all the information so that they can be compared at the end of the financial year.
What are the different Asset Tracking Techniques?
There are many asset tracking techniques available nowadays so, you also have a variety to select from the range whichever suits best for your business.
This variety of asset tracking techniques does not always mean that it is easy to choose the right one. You will have to look for the technique which will fulfill your needs of working criteria and also fits in your budget.
There are major asset tracking techniques that are popular, easily available and most trusted by the people of the industry.
1. Barcode Asset Tracking
Barcode represents data in the visual format i.e., machine-readable information of the item on which it is attached. A barcode represent data by varying in widths and spacing of parallel lines.
The barcode is referred to as a linear or 1-dimensional code, that can be scanned by barcode readers.
The barcode tags contain vital information like customer or item identification, pricing, tracking information and more. This information is only readable by the barcode reader machines.
2. QR Code Asset Tracking
QR code is a type of barcode only, it also represents data in a visual format of machine-readable information about the item on which it is attached.
QR code (Quick Response code) is the trademark for a type of matrix or 2D barcode. 2D barcodes can also be read using application software on mobile devices, such as smartphones with their in-built cameras.
The QR code uses four standardized encoding modes that are numeric, alphanumeric, binary and kanji and store data efficiently.
3. RFID Asset Tracking
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a technology that enables the digital data encoded in RFID tags (smart labels) to be captured and read through radio waves.
The RFID readers can accurately scan the asset if it is kilometers away. This technology makes it easier for a person to get dozens of scans in just a few seconds.
The RFID tag can also store maintenance activities related to information and sensor data that can be read and written by a field technician.
4. NFC Asset Tracking
NFC (Near Field Communication), is a subset of RFID.
It is an extension of high frequency (HF) RFID, which is characterized by simple tags that work in very short range (typically half an inch).
The technology used for working of NFC is electromagnetic induction (to transmit information).
NFC tag is attached to each asset, the information is managed, and the data is read by NFC phone.
Through NFC, it is possible to track which asset has been tagged, who is reading the tag, its geolocation with its actual trace time.
5. BLE Beacons Asset Tracking
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) exchange a small amount of data at a regular interval of time. BLE is not very old, it recently started in 2011.
Through, BLE beacons (or tags) and its receivers (or smartphones) you can track and monitor your assets outdoor as well as indoor.
BLE also preserves energy and is able to run for a long time.
6. GPS Asset Tracking
GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite-based radio navigation system.
The GPS does not require any individual user to transfer data, it operates independently of any telephonic or internet reception.
It helps you in monitoring the exact location of your asset, it is mostly used in vehicles.
7. IoT Asset Tracking
According to Wikipedia, IoT (Internet of Things) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
How to choose the useful Asset Tracking Technique for your Business?
In simple words, asset tracking means to track the information of assets which includes due dates, collaboration documents, usage information, which employee it is assigned to, for how long it is being used, etc.
But for some people, asset tracking means to track the asset with its real-time location and for some asset tracking is to track their asset’s usage.
What I want to say is everyone has its own definition for asset tracking, they describe it within the parameters of their need and requirement.
There are no criteria to choose the correct asset tracking technique, just your need, and requirement. Whatever asset tracking technique fulfills your list of requirements that will be your right nor suitable asset tracking technique.
Here are the benefits of all the Asset Tracking Techniques, whichever suits your business best implement that.
1. Using Barcode
- Accurate & Improved Inventory Management
- Fast and Efficient Operations
- Speed up the supply chain
- Increased Accountability
- More Data Storage
- Accurate Asset location
- Manpower Reduction
- A simplified version of record-keeping
- No time investment in employee training
2. Using QR Code
- Scanning possible by Smartphone
- Versatile – encode almost all types of data e.g. numeric, alphabets, special & binary
- Extremely Fast Scanning
- Good Fault Tolerance; if a part of the code is damaged, information can still be decoded from the code
- Stores large amount of Information
- Used for anything and everything
- Potential to generate revenue
- Store up to more than 100 times data as of other barcodes
- Can scan it from any direction and at any angle up to 360°
- Easier to read and decode
- Less risk of interference in the background
3. Using RFID
- Read Multiple Tags at a Time
- Tags can be integrated with sensors and GPS technology
- Improved Asset Security through real-time Alerts and Alarms
- Time spend over Inventory Information can be Reduced
- Important Service Information can be stored on the assets itself
- RFID automatically collects data reducing human effort and error
- Does not need line to line to read data information
- RFID can read data from long distance
- Password is encrypted & data is secured So, it provides great Security
- RFID tags are reusable because they are covered with plastic
4. Using NFC
- NFC Tags can be Scanned with Smartphones
- Capable of two-way communication
- Communication is of low proximity, few centimeters
- Scan of one NFC tag at a time
- Provides Compliance and Policy
- Better user Experience
- Great Security
- Less Costly
- Low Range of Scanning
5. Using BLE beacons
- Easy to Implement
- Zero Cost of Wiring & Installation
- Scan through Smartphones
- Quickly Read Assets
- No Individual Scanning of Assets Required
- Real-time Tracking
- Tracking of both Users and Assets without additional hardware
- Minimal Battery Drain
6. Using GPS
- Route Optimization
- Reduced Response Time for Customer Service
- Reduced Fuel Costs
- Improved Vehicle Safety
- Reduce Losses due to Theft
- Easy to Use
- Highly Secure
- Compatible with Mobile Phones
7. Using IoT
- Locate and Track Technology
- Low Power Consumption
- Eliminate Delays
- Reduce Costs and Improved ROI
- Improve Customer Experience
- Real-time Tracking
- Two-way Communication
Also Read: What is the Difference between EAM and CMMS?
As mentioned above, there are many asset tracking techniques and each of them has its own methodology of working and benefits. Each of them has different benefits for a different work environment.
You can select the right asset tracking technique according to the working environment of your organization.
These asset tracking techniques help your business rise and grow by proving you with the right data and information on your valuable assets.