Working Toward a Tagging Solution

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Choosing an asset tagging solution is complex. Here are some tips for making the decision and a case study of how another company made their choice.

Asset tagging requires thought about the problems causing the need for tagging, the nature of the item to be tagged, the complexity of the tagging, and the permanence of the tag. After these considerations, the tagging task requires finding a tag solution that fits the criteria of the task and is analogous to budget.

Consumers often find the search for appropriate tags problematic. Metalcraft can help by suggesting solutions: sometimes with our mass-produced tags for the general market; sometimes with customized tags that we are in a unique position to provide.

Take, for example, the accountability problems LensRentals had as the company successfully blossomed, and the solutions it found using Metalcraft tags.

The problem: time constraints and accuracy in identifying and justifying the condition of 8,000 copies of 700 different items while dealing with distribution, returns, and face-to-face sales and service

The company: Lensrentals, the largest online rental provider for photography, videography, and lighting equipment and accessories in the United States The nature of item: sometimes small, damage vulnerable, expensive, rare

The complexity of the tagging: configuration related to item size, tactile characteristics of multiple surfaces for adhesion, individual encryption identification of disparate and identical items for inventory, individual identification for repair and damage cost reclamation

LensRentals Solution: Metalcraft 2D Asset Tags

Using alphanumeric encryption, Metalcraft designed a 2D foil dot tag and software program that enables LensRentals to scan inventory, distinguish unique items, and verify location and condition.

The tag allows a “before rental condition” to be compared to an “after rental condition.” LensRentals can identify each item when returned even though a camera or lens did not fare well under loan.

On return, an item might not match encryption details since common threats in rental use can come from summer, hot cars, swimming pools, sandy beaches and a host of other possibilities, including forest fires and floods.

But even though items may be damaged, the tags will resist excessive temperatures, UV rays, chemical erosion and abrasion because of material choices made in tag production. A preserved tag covers LensRentals rental agreement and insurance offerings.

Tag software even accounts for items sent to repair or lost. The foil 2D dot tags from Metalcraft were engineered to track small items.

Tyler Beckman, LensRentals director of strategic planning and analysis, says using these tags, which incorporate Data Matrix barcode symbology, reduce tag identification and tracking to one-tenth the space of traditional barcodes.

He also likes the photographically reproduced barcodes, which remain very readable throughout multiple rental turnovers.

Other choices, influenced and dictated by experienced tag converters, carry other benefits too, which are inherent in the Foil 2D Dot Tag. All tags are sealed in an anodic layer to protect the encryption.

Because of specialized adhesives, the tags have a high peel strength to withstand repeated renter use.

LensRentals grew; it’s inventory control system grew with it. Supported by Metalcraft tags, it has been able to give customers more choice, better products and faster service.

Keg companies, machine rental companies and more enterprises needing durable tags for returnable goods have found similar successes using Metalcraft barcode tags.

However, as businesses grow, their warehousing grows: stacks of items, shelves, rows hiding rows. Scanners reading barcodes twist up and down aisles, behind, over, under items.

Often times, RFID scanning would be an upgrade to an already established barcode inventory control systems since obscured tags can be read using RFID.

For some companies, especially those with existing electronic systems in place, a partial or complete change might be prudent. Yet many have been discouraged since a durable metal RFID tag couldn’t be made because of the incompatibility of materials.

But, no more. After years of research and development, Metalcraft, partnering with TROI, Technologies ROI, LLC, has been able to develop a metal RFID tag that fuses the strength and longevity of a metal asset tag with the technological power of RFID.

Making the Asset Tagging Solution Decision

In making the decision to use the Metalcraft Metal RFID Tag, a customer still needs to consider the same criteria that is in place for barcode tag purchase: the problem, the nature of the item to be tagged, the complexity of the tagging, and the permanence of the tag.

Additionally, the customer needs to consider scanning efficiency. RFID scans with a handheld device can gather information from blocked tags without direct line of sight, barcodes don’t allow such scans.

As said in the beginning, the last step a tag customer must consider for a tagging solution is a solution analogous to budget. Metalcraft tags are the best value with their quality and longevity. 

The Metalcraft 2D Foil Barcode Tag is the least expensive tag of the two tags discussed here, but the trade-off with the RFID Metal Tag is the time efficiency in scanning.

The personnel cost may make RFID enabled tags worth the cost, especially when conducting huge warehouse inventories.

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