What is Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking is the process of monitoring and recording physical assets using barcodes or GPS and RFID tags. By capturing vital information about the company’s resources and properties, you’ll be able to identify the status of the company’s assets and their locations at all times.

Companies carry out asset tracking activities to protect their valuable assets and reduce unnecessary costs of replacement and maintenance. These are different from inventory management activities that focus on managing products and spare parts.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about asset tracking systems and the best tools you can use to manage your company’s tools and equipment.

Breaking Down Asset Tracking

Asset tracking is an important aspect of today’s modern management as the company’s managers and personnel are able to identify the location and usage of the company’s most valuable resources. If you don’t know what you own or lease, your assets might be subject to theft or damage. You also need to keep track of assets to make sure that your tools are working correctly and your equipment is running the way it should. 

Modern asset tracking involves using a centralized system or business solution that offers accurate data about the company’s assets’ location, ownership, and maintenance history, where they can be accessed through a single platform. Having easy access to this information in real-time will help you assess the value of the company’s assets and any costs associated with operating, maintaining, or replacing them. 

What Assets Should You Track?

Current and fixed assets can both be tracked, depending on their tangibility. Asset tracking software problems will help you realize how different items are utilized in the company and whether they’re being used in the most optimum way. Here are a few assets that can be tracked using an asset tracking software:

  • HVAC equipment
  • Machinery
  • Vehicles
  • Traffic Message Board Signs
  • Trailers
  • ATVs
  • UTVs
  • Golf Carts

Tracking these items will guarantee that the company’s resources are well-allocated. 

Asset Tracking - Skid Steer

How do You Track a Company's Assets?

Companies can track their properties and resources manually or automatically. The company’s size, the overall cost allocated for asset tracking, and the nature of operations will help you determine the most efficient method. 

Small businesses usually track objects manually. This can involve counting fixed assets and recording information about the status of various items.  

Manual asset tracking involves using a pen and paper to record information about the items your company owns. Although this solution might seem more affordable, it involves several risks because there’s room for human error and confusion. Moreover, manual asset tracking doesn’t offer room for expansion or growth. 

Asset tracking software systems offer automated solutions that you can tailor and customize based on your business needs. Automated asset tracking systems represent an excellent investment as they provide room for growth and expansion. 

These software programs also allow for real-time updates and connect effortlessly to your company’s accounting and inventory systems. They minimize errors and help you identify potential problems before they arise. For example, an automated system can warn you before maintenance is due to guarantee that your equipment is working the way it should. 

How do You Keep Track of Tools and Equipment?

There are several ways that can help you track tools and equipment. Each method has its pros and cons.

Barcodes

Although the barcode itself is old technology, it’s one of the most popular methods used in tracking different types of assets. 

Barcodes are affordable and can be used in bulk to manage multiple tools and inventory items. They work best for low-cost yet essential tools that you need to track for everyday business operations. 

They’re relatively easy to use and allow you to track a large number of assets over a short period. There’s also no room for error because the barcode will be unique to a specific item. 

Hand-held scanners are cheap and easy to use. They’re durable enough to be used for years and can be employed safely around flammable liquids. You can also use a mobile phone to scan the codes. 

Barcodes need a line of sight, so unless you can actually see the barcode on the tool or the machine, you won’t be able to scan it. The scanner has to be held manually, so there’s still the cost of employees who need to track tools and equipment. Moreover, you need to make sure that you’re using high-quality barcodes to minimize errors. 

RFID

Radiofrequency chips or tags are more advanced than barcodes, as they allow for remote scanning. They’re ideal for situations where the item you’re trying to scan isn’t accessible. 

They’re more flexible and can be used with multiple asset tracking methods. Moreover, RFID tags allow you to scan more items at once, so they will accelerate the process of asset tracking. 

However, RFID tags are more expensive than barcodes, so they won’t be suitable for less valuable objects. They also work with specific devices, and there might be a chance for signal interference from other radio devices.

Active GPS Tags

These tags are attached to an asset and send signals to a removable device. They’re more expensive than other methods and are more suitable for valuable objects. Managers can keep an eye on their properties, accessing data on a mobile phone or a computer. These tags are used in potent fleet management systems

GPS tags are done using an asset tagger and allow managers to track changes in properties in real-time. Although these GPS tags cost more than other asset tracking items, they eliminate the need for manual tracking. All the data will be automatically transmitted from the asset to your device with the help of the installed tracking software. 

Using these tags, managers won’t only be able to track the existence of various items but also the change in their location or status. They can be modified to serve various purposes based on the needs of your business and industry. 

Nevertheless, the cost of active GPS tracking and its services are higher than other tracking methods. They can also be less accurate with they’re used indoors under metal roofs or under cement parking structures.

In order to provide more accurate information about the status of the asset, the date for next maintenance, and the suggested replacement date, a relevant asset tracking service should be utilized to make use of your GPS tracking. 

What is an Asset Tracking System?

This automated system tracks different types of assets in your company, linking the information to other operational systems to streamline your business operations. Barcodes or Bluetooth connectivity can be used to track the operation and usage of different properties to help monitor their status. 

An efficient asset tracking system has a high return on investment as you’ll be able to see what you own and whether you’re using it efficiently. It’s more potent than using an average spreadsheet because the information will be updated instantly to track the software and hardware components of the company.  

What are the Benefits of Asset Tracking Systems?

Asset tracking offers several benefits that can help business operations run more smoothly. 

  • It lowers administrative costs as it eliminates the need for tracking assets manually. It will also reduce the risk of human error and asset loss. 
  • Being unable to track your company’s assets means that you might be losing objects even without realizing it. Theft and damage can’t be tracked, and you won’t be able to detect the employees accountable for your losses. 
  • As employees have less to worry about, this will immediately be reflected in an increase in productivity and an improvement in your customer services. Employees will able to focus on core operations without worrying about tracking assets. 
  • Efficient asset tracking will help you plan for future growth. Asset tracking solutions identify the optimum assets utilization for efficient growth. 
  • As a manager or business owner, you’ll gain better insight into how your company is performing. It can help you identify the links between different departments and the personnel who handle your different tools and equipment. This will help you identify the weakest links and anticipate the need for assets beforehand. 
  • With an asset tracking solution, there will be no room for error because your management system eliminates human intervention. It minimizes guessing, so you can better manage your business operations, tackle problems, and come up with the most appropriate solutions. 
  • The continuous tracking of properties and resources will help you identify potential problems before they cause any issues with your business operations. You can detect if an asset needs cleaning or upgrading before it’s used in the next step. 

What Does Asset Tracking Software Do?

Unlike spreadsheets, asset tracking software programs are more efficient and less time-consuming. These are centralized digital systems that record data about different types of assets and track changes in real-time to provide the most accurate information about the company’s tools and equipment.

Barcodes and GPS tracking systems can be used to identify the location and usage of the company’s tools and machines. You can choose the most appropriate solution to manage your properties and keep track of them. Here are a few things that you can do using asset tracking software.

  • You can access the information about your company’s tools and equipment all the time. A potent tracking system will be remote asset management that you can access at all times. As a manager, you’ll be able to access all the company’s records, location of properties, serial numbers, take pictures of different tools, and check the status of machines and tools. 
  • You will have a detailed report of all leased and owned items. This will help you switch between renting and buying different tools and equipment, depending on your company’s needs. A good asset management software will also allow you to monitor and examine lease contract terms. 
  • Asset management has audit benefits as they provide tax compliance because it can identify ghost assets that are still present in the ledger but are currently unusable. As a result, you might have to pay fewer taxes because your system can prove that you actually own fewer properties. 
  • Using the information provided by your asset tracking system, you’ll be able to prepare customized reports that you can use for insurance claims, contact suppliers, schedule maintenance appointments, and plan for new purchases. 

Who Needs Asset Tracking Software?

Regardless of your company’s nature, you need to have a potent manage assets software that helps you organize and control the usage of your properties through a potent asset management system. Asset management can be done manually on a tiny scale, and even then, there will be the cost of employees, and there might be room for errors. 

An asset tracking software does all the work on your behalf and helps you access relevant information about the status of your different resources. There are multiple assets management software solutions available, and you can choose the most suitable one for your business. 

What are the 3 Types of Assets?

Every company has different types of assets that can be divided based on convertibility, physical existence, and usage.

Edit

According to this classification, items and objects are classified according to how they’re used, and they’re divided into operating and non-operating assets. 

Operating

These assets are used in the company’s daily operational activities to generate revenue, and they include:

  • Machinery
  • Tools
  • Equipment
Edit

This classification refers to the assets’ physical existence. 

Tangible

These are the assets that can be touched, seen, or felt, and they include:

  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Machinery
  • Tools
  • Office supplies
  • Cash
  • Marketable securities

Intangible

These are the assets that lack physical existence, and they include:

  • Goodwill
  • Trademarks
  • Patents
  • Brand
  • Copyrights
  • Corporate intellectual property
Edit

This refers to the assets’ ability to be converted into cash. According to this classification, assets are classified into short-term or current and long-term or fixed. 

Current

These are easily converted into cash within a year and include:

  • Cash
  • Office supplies
  • Inventory
  • Short-term deposits
  • Account receivables

Fixed

These items can’t be easily converted into cash and include:

  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Machinery
  • Equipment
  • Trademarks
  • Patents

Wrapup

Asset tracking or management is the process of identifying, tracking, and examining various assets. There are multiple asset software tracking solutions available for different business operations, and you can choose the right one for your company and industry. 

An asset tracking software does all the work on your behalf and helps you access relevant information about the status of your different resources. There are multiple assets management software solutions available, and you can choose the most suitable one for your business. 

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