Organizations often search for tracking software but use the wrong term or interchangeably. Because Asset Tracking and Inventory Tracking have similarities between them, but they are two different approaches to asset tracking.
Both asset tracking and inventory tracking are used to determine the whereabouts of things and to conduct physical inventories.
The major difference between asset tracking and inventory tracking is over item or thing that is being tracked, the generated information and the organization/company who uses it.
What is Asset Tracking?
Assets are the valuable things or items that an organization owns. Similarly, asset tracking refers to the tracking of these unique items or assets that are of great value to an organization.
Assets are generally counted as physical or fixed assets like computers, furniture, equipment, etc.
A unique asset ID is always assigned to the asset to track it and a durable asset tag is placed over it, and this information is also added to the asset tracking system.
Whenever a new asset is added to the asset tracking system, there is some additional information you can add, like:
- 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 easy to update any information if it is already recorded in the database. Sometimes, to cross-check the information in the system, physical asset verification is also done to keep the data accurate and up to date.
Asset tracking activities are necessary as they provide a clear picture of the available resources. Moreover, it awakes the accounting department with all the necessary information on assets, so that they would not pay unnecessarily on taxes, and insurance on assets that have been lost, stolen or disposed of.
What is Inventory Tracking?
Inventories are consumable things or items that an organization owns. Similarly, inventory tracking refers to the tracking of non-unique items or inventories of value to an organization.
Inventories are generally counted as stock or consumable items like parts or supplies.
Each part or supply is assigned with a stock-keeping unit (SKU) for inventory tracking. Usually, this stock keeping unit is assigned by the manufacturer side only, they print it on the packaging directly.
Like asset tag information, these SKU is added to the inventory tracking system, so that to record transactions and item levels.
SKU's are similar to asset tags if any new inventory is to be added then, an SKU is needed to be scanned, with its location, and the quantity issued is entered into the system.
The tracking of inventory keeps received and issued transactions accurately and by hand inform you about the exact quantity of inventory and their location.
Difference Between Asset Tracking and Inventory Tracking
Whenever you search for a tracking software for your organization to streamline either asset tracking or inventory tracking processes, you will have to spend a lot of time and effort to know the software you need.
Your much time and effort will be saved if you already know what you want. For example, if you are some who is responsible for managing your organization's fixed assets then you will need asset tracking software. And if you are in charge of supplies or stockroom inventory then you will need inventory tracking software.
Some of the software vendors sell both types of software whereas some sell only one type of software or other.
If you have exact knowledge of what you want for your organization and which software covers the tracking of what items then, it will be very easy for you to select the right software.
The below table will give the exact difference between asset tracking and inventory tracking.
Asset Tracking Inventory Tracking Purpose Save Assets from theft occurrence and obsolete Save Items from expiration before their sale Items to be Tracked Computers, Furniture, Equipment, etc. Product, Parts, Supplies, etc. Visibility Visibility of Asset prevents extra taxes and insurance Item-level visibility tells exact quantity for re-order Transaction Included Add, Assign, Move & Dispose Receive, Move & Issue Inventory Type of Tags Durable Asset Tags with Unique IDs Non-durable labels with SKUs Maintenance Periodic or Continuous Maintenance on some Assets, according to the existing record. No Maintenance Responsible Authority Property or Asset Manager Warehouse Manager Return Process Normal and Expected Exception and Problem Shelf Life Long-term Short-term Another Use Asset require inspection, cleaning, or filling steps before preparation for another use Little work for per item, therefore, directly prepares for sale
Benefits of Asset Tracking and Inventory Tracking
As such, there are several advantages and benefits of tracking software but there are few benefits that are shared by both asset tracking and inventory tracking functionality based on their tracking items.
Few of the benefits of asset tracking and inventory tracking are:
Asset Tracking €“ Tags are placed on every asset owned by an organization. These tags are durable in nature and inbuilt with a unique ID (identification number). The durable tags are used seeing the long shelf life and usability of the asset for the organization.
Inventory Tracking €“ Labels are placed on every supply or product manufactured by an organization. These labels are non-durable in nature and inbuilt with the stock-keeping unit (SKU). The non-durable labels are used as the shelf life of the inventory is short and they are meant for sale purpose or if purchased then the consumption is low. Therefore, investing in costly tags is not that worthy.
2. Item Recovery and GPS Position:
Asset Tracking €“ When an organization handles hundreds or thousands of assets and any one of them gets missing then it is very uneasy and difficult to find one but through asset tags its GPS position can be tracked and it can be recovered too.
Inventory Tracking €“ When the supplies are ready and dispatched in bulk, it easy through labels on them to track their exact GPS position and know far they have reached. And track them till they are delivered to the customer.
3. Real-time Tracking:
Asset Tracking €“ Through GPS positioning and asset tags, you can know the exact and accurate data of your asset that too in real-time. This is very useful to fulfill the need for duplicity and false data if any.as it is very important to have accurate data for efficient management.
Inventory Tracking €“ Real-time tracking of inventory is very useful as it gives you accurate location and data of your inventory, and where it has reached. There will be transparent about its location and time for delivery to the customer, for instance, if the expected delivery is compromised you can inform the customer beforehand.
4. Audit and Physical Verification:
Asset Tracking €“ Audits and physical verification is performed from time to time in an organization as it is necessary to have a closer look at, your assets. These audits are important as they give you information about potential ghost licenses and assets, if any and cut short their related licenses, taxes and maintenance fees.
Inventory Tracking €“ Audits and physical verification is necessary for inventory tracking too as it gives a real and closer look towards the real quantity of the production and their related taxes.
5. Maintenance Costs:
Asset Tracking €“ It is always important to track the life cycle of the assets being used in and by the organization. It is important to receive accurate information about the assets as when they were purchased, to whom they are assigned, how often they are used, how regularly they are maintained, etc. The unproductive assets can cause you unnecessary costs for their maintenance.
Inventory Tracking €“ In the case of inventory tracking, there is no such maintenance required. Only production equipment and machines require maintenance which comes under asset tracking or their maintenance activities.
You should select wisely, the software you require according to your needs.
As some of the software vendors like Asset Infinity sell both types of software whereas some sell only one type of software or other, here also you can select according to your need.
But it is always necessary to have clarity in your mind about your requirement fields the software you want.