Asset Tagging: Is It Right for My Organization?

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What is asset tagging?

Asset tagging, also called asset tracking, “refers to tracking the method of physical assets, either by scanning barcode labels attached to the assets or by using tags using GPS or RFID, which broadcast their location” (Wikipedia).

Who uses asset tagging?

Just about anyone who has an asset to track­—regardless of the size of his or her organization—can benefit from asset tagging.

A wide variety of industries use asset tagging. Just a few of them include:

  • Schools—from elementaries to universities—track equipment and supplies like computers and projectors.
  • Manufacturers track tools and parts.
  • Governments—from the federal to the local level—track everything from office equipment to road signs.
  • Medical offices—from doctor’s offices to operating rooms—track everything from wheelchairs to intravenous pumps.
  • Wineries track barrels.

What problems does asset tagging solve?

These are some of the challenges you may be facing that asset tagging can help you overcome:

  • “We don’t have a process for tracking assets.”
  • “We need a better way to manage our inventory.”
  • “We need a sound system of compliance controls.”
  • “We’re worried about fraud and theft.”
  • “We’re not proactive about preventive maintenance.”

What asset tagging solutions are available?

There are four different kinds of asset tags.

  1. Human readable – Human readable asset tags are just that—tags with words or numbers that are readable by people rather than scanners.
  2. Text – In addition to a number and a barcode, a text asset tag might have a custom header, custom text, and additional text.
  3. Barcode – Barcode is a technology that uses a small image of lines—or bars—and spaces to identify an object.
  4. RFID – Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that uses a radio wave to identify an object.

What qualities should I look for in an asset tag?

The asset tag you choose should be able to handle the environment that it will be exposed too.  Depending on the asset tagging application a tag may need to be resistant to chemicals, abrasion, solvents, UV rays, or high temperatures. You don’t want your asset tags to wear or fall off—rendering the barcode unreadable or missing.

Other factors to consider include your industry, the material the tag is made from, and your application.

Where do I start?

The best place to start is to ask a tag expert. Share the problem you’re trying to solve, and he or she will use their experience and knowledge to:

  1. Tell you whether or not you’re a good candidate for asset tagging.
  2. Point you toward the best asset tagging solution.

Tag, you’re it.

Missing assets costs you time, money, and—sometimes—even your sanity. If you find it happens far too often in your organization, asset tagging may be the right solution for you.

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