Tracking assets is an essential part of any business.
From SMBs to government agencies, asset tracking technology gives organizations cost-effective and intuitive systems to monitor various asset types across all business areas.
These asset tracking technologies deliver reliable solutions for inventory management and equipment maintenance and even counter challenges to recordkeeping. A well-suited asset tracking system helps businesses manage assets while increasing productivity, reducing maintenance costs, and ensuring overall regulatory compliance.
But how does an organization pick the right type of asset management system?
Let’s explore some key considerations businesses need to make before deciding which asset tracking technology works best for their organization.
How to Choose the Right Asset Tracking Technology for Your Business
Asset tracking systems allow businesses to track assets using both software and hardware technologies to capture important information, including:
- Location of asset
- Usage information
- Asset name and type
- Maintenance information
But, with so many asset tracking technologies available to businesses today, it can be a challenge to find the right solution for your organization.
Here are four tips to help your team source the right asset tracking solution.
1. Determine Your Business Requirements
Understanding your business needs is essential to finding the right solution for your organization. The following key points will help you make an informed decision that aligns precisely with your overall business goals.
Types of assets that need tracking - Every business needs to identify the range of assets that need tracking. Consider asset characteristics like size, value, and portability.
Asset volume and capacity - How many assets need tracking, and how complex are they? High-volume or complex asset inventories may require specific solutions.
Industry requirements - What industry-specific regulatory requirements must you consider? Will you require special tools for asset tracking?
2. Consider Scalability and Compatibility
How will the asset tracking solution merge with your existing systems? To understand this, you must first take total stock of your current IT infrastructure. From software to hardware, you want to ensure the asset tracking solution can integrate seamlessly with your existing systems. Businesses should also consider growth and future upgrades.
Here are a few tips to help you access scalability:
- Look for systems that can adapt to your shifting business needs.
- Consider projected growth, possible future expansions, or asset pool changes.
- Explore solutions that provide consistent updates and enhancements to meet evolving industry standards and trends in technology.
3. Understand Accuracy and Reliability
Data accuracy and consistency are critical components of a quality asset management solution. Businesses should examine how an asset tracking system manages data and provides reliable, accurate, and consistent information. This will ensure an organization can access the right information when needed.
Ask these questions for a more comprehensive understanding:
- What is the asset management system's error rate?
- Does the solution have robust data redundancy features?
- What about backup capabilities?
4. Review Cost and Return on Investment (ROI)
Adding an asset management system to your organization is a critical business decision. As such, emphasizing costs and ROI is essential. First, businesses should analyze the total cost of ownership (TCO).
A TCO analysis will take into consideration two main factors:
- Upfront costs (hardware, software, installation)
- Ongoing costs (maintenance, support, consumables like RFID tags or barcodes)
Additionally, your team should calculate the average cost savings of solution implementation. When a solution reduces asset losses and optimizes asset utilization, it can reduce storage costs and minimize downtime for your team. A comprehensive financial analysis can help ensure that your chosen asset tracking technology is a valuable addition to your organization's operations.
Comparing Popular Asset Tracking Solutions: Barcode and RFID
To help you make an informed decision, you must first understand the popular types of asset tracking solutions on the market today. Barcode and RFID are two commonly used industry options—each with advantages and disadvantages. The right system will match your specific business needs and efficiently address common asset tracking challenges.
Let’s take a closer look at barcode and RFID asset tracking solutions.
Barcodes are cost-effective, reliable, and can scale efficiently. This decades-old technology is one of the most widely used asset management systems and has a reputation as a universally recognized and trusted technology.
Barcodes leverage parallel lines or a matrix of dots to represent data. This could be anything from product information to other asset identifiers. Barcode scanners utilize laser or other imaging technology to translate the encoded data. Organizations can then store this information in digital systems.
Barcode-based solutions have limited data storage capacity and require line-of-sight scanning, which can add time to operations. This type of asset tracking system is suitable for many different applications:
- Tracking assets for IT departments
- Identifying documents or packages
- Inventory management for retail, e-commerce, or general warehousing
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is another popular method for asset management. These systems use radio frequency signals to transmit data between tags and readers.
RFID tags store data and easily attach to all asset types. RFID readers send out signals that can activate and communicate with the corresponding tags when within range. The tags themselves are either passive or active. The difference is in how they use power.
Passive tags use the power from the reader, while active tags power themselves. Using passive tags has a few advantages, including cost-effectiveness and longevity. Conversely, active tags require a power source, which can be more expensive but offer an extended usability range.
RFID allows for fast and accurate scanning of assets without line-of-sight requirements. These systems also allow for greater data storage and read/write capabilities relative to barcode technology. RFID systems tend to be less cost-effective compared to barcode asset tracking, and they can interfere with existing radio frequency systems.
While many industries use RFID technology, here are a few common applications:
- Supply-chain management systems and logistics
- Manufacturing monitoring
- Healthcare tracking systems
Ready to Choose an Asset Tracking Solution?
The right asset tracking solution can significantly impact your business's efficiency, cost savings, and overall performance. With several different asset tracking technologies available, organizations should carefully consider specific needs like scalability, integrations with other systems, and reliability when choosing a solution.
Ultimately, a well-suited asset tracking system will empower your business to optimize asset management, drive data-driven decision-making and enhance customer satisfaction for long-term success. Get in touch to learn more about how your company can scale with reliable RFID or barcode asset tracking solutions.