Asset Tracking: What You Need to Protect Your Business Right Now

By Avery

What is Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking (sometimes referred to as barcode asset tracking) is the system of digitally following valuable and vital items belonging to your company. Asset tracking tags with barcodes and unique identification numbers are attached to tools, equipment and machinery, which links them to a centralized record on a computer system.

Using asset tracking tags with barcodes is more efficient and more accurate than manually entering numbers in a database, whether it’s digital or paper. Any time an item is moved, broken, changes hands or is otherwise affected, the asset tag is scanned to instantly record this information with less chance for human error.

Conversely, scanning any given item allows you to instantly view the current status and history of said item. A good asset tracking and management system saves time and money by helping workers audit, track, repair and protect assets more efficiently.

Top 4 Business Asset Tracking Benefits

The main benefit of using an asset tracking system is being able to quickly and easily locate and/or access information about the items your company relies on to get the job done. This breaks down into four specific ways asset tracking helps your business operate more smoothly.

1. Audit Complete Item List with Asset Tracking Tags

Optimizing your asset inventory records is one of the main benefits of using barcode tracking tags. Inventory asset tracking allows you to quickly take stock of relevant items so you can analyze needs, create reports and allocate resources more efficiently.

2. Track Asset Movement within Your Company

Perhaps the most obvious reason companies choose to implement asset tracking systems is to simply keep track of items that frequently change hands between departments and/or locations. Barcode asset tracking tags save time and money by eliminated time lost searching for items.

3. Repair Items More Efficiently

Alternatively, how asset tracking systems are used to help keep vital items in good repair is a benefit that may not immediately come to mind. Being able to record and access information for items in one centralized location allows workers to identify broken and/or malfunctioning items more quickly, which supports more efficient Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) activities.

4. Protect Valuable Items from Theft and Loss

One of the most important functions of asset tracking tags is to reduce costs incurred from missing and stolen items. It’s much easier to prevent theft or items simply being lost when you know the location of (and person responsible for) valuable items at all times.

Asset Tracking System: What Should be Tagged & Tracked?

When most people hear the phrase “asset tracking,” it’s likely IT asset tracking systems are the standard that comes to mind (for keeping track of computers and other expensive electronic devices). When deciding what assets you should tag and track, your IT department is a great place to start.

However, equipment and tool asset tracking practices are just as valuable and necessary to protect your business from lost time, money and resources. In fact, in construction, asset tracking can be pivotal to ensuring your workers always have the right tool for the right job.

Tagging equipment, machinery and tools with barcode asset tags allows you to quickly and efficiently record the items located at each job site and which are available for use. Workers don’t need to waste valuable time looking for missing items onsite or get to a job site only to learn a critical tool is unavailable.

The bottom line: not only does asset tracking protect your business from lost time, money and resources, but it also increases efficiency and productivity. To help determine which assets you should be labeling and tracking, ask yourself the three simple questions below.

1. Which items have a greater risk of theft or misplacement?

Workplace theft costs U.S. employers $50 billion annually, and small to midsize businesses are more often affected, representing 68 percent of cases in 2016 as reported by CNBC online. Asset tracking should be implemented on equipment and tools most likely to be stolen or misplaced.

Valuable items at risk for theft vary between industries, however, some vulnerable items are common sense such as computer equipment and electronic devices. In construction, industrial and agricultural industries, heavy equipment is particularly susceptible to theft, accounting for up to $400 million in annual losses from material costs alone. This excludes additional indirect losses from business interruption.

Tamper-evident asset tracking tags cannot be fully removed or transferred to other items. This discourages theft in two ways. Firstly, it prevents the tag being transferred to less expensive items before they’re returned to the company. Secondly, asset tags that have been tampered with are easier to identify as stolen, making them much more difficult to re-sell.

2. Which items are used the most?

Expensive, yet high-demand items may require sharing between several teams or individuals. Competing for equipment can be frustrating for workers and employers alike, leading to decreased productivity and low morale.

Asset tracking tags make it easier to create and implement efficient equipment checkout procedures and a cooperative schedule for shared use. Additionally, tracking these types of assets makes it easier to present reports supporting requests for acquiring additional equipment.

3. Which items are likely to move between departments/locations?

Asset tracking tags should be used on any item that moves between locations, either within company premises or without, to avoid the risk of being lost in transit or misplaced. Coordinating and referencing items across one or more separate physical locations is much simpler when transit, delivery and location information can be easily accessed in a centralized database.

Learn more about what asset management can do for your business and get a handy infographic to help you keep these details fresh!