One of the most challenging aspects of running a large business is the efficient tracking of assets and the real-time reporting of their location. Without a reliable automated asset management system in place, an organization is in danger of experiencing asset loss, not to mention increased labor and expenditure.
Asset management involves the detailed keeping of information in a central system that enables tracking. Thanks to technology advancements, asset tracking systems have greatly evolved, from the simple listing of items by hand and transferring to a computer database, to an automated practice of using barcodes and now RFID tags provide real-time tracking without user assistance.
How RFID Works
RFID or radio frequency identification is a general term for technology that uses radio waves to identify people or objects. Information about the person or object being identified is stored on a RFID tag (also called RFID transponder). This tag contains a microchip with an antenna that transmits the information to a RFID reader (also called RFID interrogator) through electromagnetic waves. After obtaining the information, the RFID reader converts the waves from the tag into digital information that can be read and translated by computers into information readable by humans.
Benefits of Using RFID for Asset Management
RFID is being used to track a vast array of products and equipment. As evidenced by RFID being used to track railroad cars and beer kegs, good system design and engineering are proving that even difficult environments such as metal and liquids are being deployed and the technology is getting better every day. The advantages to using RFID for asset tracking and management are:
- Reliable tracking. Data entry becomes easier, more efficient, and less prone to errors.
- Time saver. RFID technology allows for multiple assets to be scanned at one time; no need for scanning items individually, which can increase labor costs. RFID tags also allow for a faster reading rate; on the average, 40 tags can be read at the same time.
- Less manual work. Unlike barcodes, RFID tags do not have to be in the line of sight to be read. RFID readers can receive and transmit radio frequencies for up to 300ft. The staff does not need to physically locate the tag in order to scan it.
- Less cost for more. RFID tags have now become affordable, costing a little more than barcode labels. RFID tags also have the capability to carry larger amounts of data than barcodes. Information such as sipping history, product maintenance schedules, and expiration dates.