What is asset tracking?
Answered July 28 2019
Asset tracking is the means by which businesses keep tabs on their critical equipment as well as their inventory. This may include labeling technology and hardware using asset tags or barcodes. These tools work together to monitor equipment, their software, and pertinent company-specific processes.
The two main use cases for asset tracking are critical equipment and materials inventory. Critical assets must be tracked in order to know first and foremost where they are located. Then, the asset tracking system associates the equipment with technicians that have or are working it. The technicians and administrators can monitor what kind of preventive maintenance or repairs the equipment may need. Similarly, inventory must be tracked from the moment it arrives at a facility so items can be found and used in particular products or processes. Asset tracking applies to inventory throughout its life within a warehouse or on a production floor. Tracking ends when the inventory is either consumed or turned into a finished product.
Several components are necessary to establish an effective asset tracking system. Here is a primer to get you started:
- Labeling technology. Businesses must have a way to identify assets and share work order information in a computerized system for it to be useful. Common systems for labeling are manual numbering or naming, a barcoding system, or an advanced RFID tagging system. Prices for labeling technology are dropping and increasing in capabilities, making it a smart investment for most companies.
- Computerized system. A centralized computerized system - such as a CMMS - collects, stores, and organizes high-quality data. This grants transparency to everyone from the maintenance technician to the director, allowing better and smarter decisions to be made on a day-to-day basis.
- Mobile tools. According to Supply Chain Management Review, the final frontier for asset tracking is in the far-flung remote areas. More powerful technology that can send signals farther as well as mobile devices will help improve asset tracking for equipment located off-site.
The benefits of quality asset tracking are numerous. Companies can expect to increase efficiency, cut costs, improve maintenance, and reduce resources. Businesses may be able to reduce duplicate purchases due to lost items, grow and scale more easily, and establish more efficient processes to meet regulatory requirements.