Benefits and Technologies of Asset Tracking Software
The pace and complexity of technology is advancing at an ever increasing rate and with this challenge comes opportunity. One such opportunity is gaining additional insight to your corporations’ assets. Not only knowing what and where they are located but more vital information such as current condition, hours of service, upcoming maintenance, mean time between failure, and so on. Armed with this information, you get improved visibility into your operation, a reduction in unexpected costs, improvements in resource allocation and a reduction in capital expenditures. There are many asset tracking software technologies that can be leveraged to gather this information but leading companies combine many of them into an integrated system to achieve the highest results. Let’s take a look at some of these asset tracking software technologies.
The barcode has been around for more than 30 years and is being used in most industries to provide an electronic method for the capture of part and or serial numbers. However, this technology can be used in much broader ways as well—for example placing a barcode at the entrance to a building, room or cabinet enables you to quickly and accurately identify the location of all the assets in a particular location. 2D barcodes can also be used to quickly identify the subassemblies in an asset or the grouping of multiple items belonging to a single asset.
RFID tags have come into vogue more recently and while they are still looking for mass market appeal, they provide a unique method of asset identification. Unlike barcodes, where the user must have visibility of and easy access to the barcode (often less than 12 inches), RFID tags can be read from much longer distances and do not have to be visible to the operator. These assets can pass through a “portal” and be read without any human contact. This capability has proven to be very effective in reducing labor costs while improving data input in many applications that transport high value assets or reusable assets such as beer kegs and warehouse totes or pallets.
Beacons and Sensors
Beacons and sensors not only provide generic information on an asset but they are also capable of providing data such as temperature, location, hours of service and much more. These devices are being used in many new and existing applications such as tracking food temperature throughout the supply chain, and providing real-time location information on cargo.
The previous technologies are primary used to provide information to some type of computing source. Because many assets are mobile in nature, mobile computers are the natural computing source to use with these technologies. Using asset tracking software on mobile computers allows you to not only collect, store and compute this information, but also communicate with other systems and provide workers with real time information that can be used to improve decision making throughout the supply chain or work process.
There are many types of wireless networks that can be utilized to access your asset tracking software where it is needed most. Common networks include Bluetooth, WiFi and cellular.
For many companies, assets and labor are the two most costly categories on their balance sheet. Being able to maximize these resources is one key element to staying competitive and the asset tracking software technologies we discussed above are ideally suited to achieving this goal. However, in order to get the best out of your assets you need to understand not only the business requirements but also the capabilities and limitations of the technology and apply them in an integrated method that achieves the best outcome.