7 Tips For Deploying a Barcode Asset Tracking System

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There's no question that barcodes have revolutionized the ability for businesses to track their valuable returnable assets.

Where in the past, expensive items such as roll-off containers, beer kegs, gas cylinders, tools and delivery containers had to be tracked manually or with spreadsheets, the inexpensive availability of barcodes has made it easy to automate this task.

Nowadays, there are many types of barcode asset tracking software systems, like one from TrackAbout, allow you to affix a barcode to any item, scan it with a smartphone or handheld rugged device and instantly enter it into a robust database that seamlessly integrates with many popular business systems. But as with any new technology, it can be a challenge for a business to deploy and incorporate asset tracking systems into their existing workflows and internal processes.

Let's take a look at 7 key tips for deploying a barcode asset tracking system into your operations. When you're deploying your own system, follow these best practices to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Define Your Goals For Asset Tracking System

Before you deploy your asset tracking system, it's vital that you first set out the scope of what you want it to accomplish. Because these systems are so powerful and versatile, you'll want to clearly define early on what exactly you're going to use it for.

For example, asset tracking systems offer a series of modules to tailor the system to your requirements. Setting your goals in advance can ensure you purchase only what you need.

After you've settled on your goals, establish a set of milestones to chart your implementation process. This will help you maintain focus and keep the project on track so that it can be operational within the expected timeframe.

Define Your Processes For Managing Assets

Asset tracking isn't a completely automated process. It requires human interaction, and it's important to set out how these physical processes will be handled.

Some of the physical processes for managing assets that need to be defined:

* Affixing and managing barcodes
* Scanning barcodes
* Asset preparation (inspection, cleaning, re-labeling, etc)
* Determining movement logistics
* Setting up maintenance schedules.

By clearly defining these physical processes in advance you'll be able to seamlessly integrate them into your workflows.

Define Requirements For Collecting, Reporting Information

As we mentioned earlier, asset tracking systems offer the user a great deal of flexibility on what they're able to report.

Do you need simple chain of custody information? Or do you need to be able to, say, monitor gas levels in cylinders? Or know what the maintenance status of an asset is? At which point in the custody chain will your assets be scanned? How often? By whom?

All of these questions and considerations need to be mapped out in advance for your asset tracking system to be effective. Understanding these needs in advance will help you customize the asset tracking solution to your needs.

Acquire Buy-In From The Personnel/Teams

It's human nature to resist change. When your teams have been used to tracking and managing assets a certain way, imposing a new system on them can result in pushback if it's not done carefully - even when it's clearly advantageous.

Get buy-in from your personnel by explaining the reasoning for putting the new system in place. Demonstrate its features, and show them how it will ultimately make their lives easier.

Once you've received their support, you can ensure your adoption rate is high and you maximize your ROI.

Identify an Admin For Your Asset Tracking System

By having one "go-to" person who is responsible for administering your asset tracking system, you'll be able to centralize management of the process.

This is advantageous for a number of reasons:

* This individual can be made aware of problems, troubleshoot them and ultimately resolve the issues
* Providing product support
* Helping with training
* Developing standard operating procedures for future training
* They can step in and operate the system in the event of staff departures

Ultimately, with one person overseeing the asset tracking operations, you'll have better oversight and more effective management of the process.

Allow Your Admin to Dedicate Time to Administering the Tracking System

To maximize the success of your asset tracking program, it's vital that your system admin is given enough time to dedicate to the process. This way, any and all issues can be addressed properly, the system gets a chance to run smoothly, and all stakeholders can receive the support they need.

Conduct User Acceptance Testing

Finally, making sure that everyone has a firm understanding of the tracking process before going live will prevent problems down the road and ultimately lead to a smoother deployment.

The time to discover gaps in your process flow knowledge is preferably before it's put into practice; it will give you time to provide additional training without putting your assets at risk unnecessarily.

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