An overview of asset tracking and equipment management.
Routine tracking of equipment is important for maintaining process efficiency and preserving resources. Companies spend a lot of capital in acquiring equipment and assets and as such must maintain them accordingly. Knowing the current status of the asset and who is using it can have multiple benefits. Firstly, it makes maintenance and repair easy by giving a live update of status. Secondly, we can easily locate the asset in case of transfer of ownership or scrapping. Also, company assets can be misused by employees such as data theft, misusing company networks and access among others. Continuous tracking and monitoring of assets can alert the company executives of such misuse. Asset tracking directly affects the bottom line of any company by making them optimize their asset use.
Use of modern technology in asset tracking.
Before the age of software as a service and advanced tracking features, asset tracking was a labor intensive and difficult. However, thanks to modern technologies like barcode scanning, QR codes, GPS tracking, RFID tags and automated database asset and equipment tracking has become a streamlined process.
The industry has adopted certain common practices like using unique ID numbers and barcodes for each and every part and asset, maintaining database of asset ownership and routine monitoring of all software assets. By using GPS location companies can have live tracking of equipment's position during use and transport. Barcodes and QR codes and make asset check-in/check-out a simple task. RFID tags can be used to automate the process of equipment detection. Instead of investing in in-house asset tracking teams and systems, it is more cost-effective and efficient to employ professional asset tracking services. Mentioned below are comparisons between three leading asset and equipment tracking companies.
Toolhound’s Asset tracking features.
Toolhound specializes in making sure that you always have the right equipment at the right location when needed. Suitable for both large and small companies, Toolhound offers a wide range of asset tracking and inventory management services increasing productivity and staff accountability. Toolhound combines the use of a maintained database along with simple scanning and detection technologies like RFID and barcode to provide efficient asset tracking. Some of the main features of Toolhound include its user-friendliness, mobility, scalability, use of real-time data and cutting crib expenses. Toolhound’s RFID tracking features have been used by a variety of heavy industries such as oil and gas, construction, mining and chemical industries among others. Its various products and services are listed below-
- Tool identification- Toolhound uses RFID tags and barcodes to provide efficient tool identification and tracking features. By leveraging on real-time data collection and tool management, Toolhound ensures high-quality service. By using the tags provided by them, you can customize and use multiple tool categories and identifiers. RFID tags provide seamless detection and data collection. They may seem like a more expensive option but can reduce time and effort in tool tracking. Also, RFID tags do not require clear visibility or line of sight. They can perform even under obstructions. They are also more rugged and last longer than barcodes making them suitable for construction and heavy-duty equipment.
- Barcode scanners and mobile computers- Toolhound provides robust and portable handheld computers that come equipped with barcode and RFID scanners. This allows warehouse and inventory supervisors to perform seamless asset detection, identification and tracking. All transaction details and product IDs can be entered through the handheld computer. All the information is transported to the secure Toolhound servers either via PC connections or wireless LANs. One of the biggest disadvantages of using barcodes is the fact that they don't last long. Also, it is easy for them to be rendered useless due to deposit and dirt that can cover the code. Toolhound provides multi-layered polypropylene barcodes that are long-lasting and resistant to dirt and deposit. For extreme conditions they also provide anodized aluminum labels that can survive most conditions. Both their label and barcode options are completely customizable.
- Software platform and multiple location support- By using their handheld computers and live data collection systems using RFID and barcodes, Toolhound systems can collect live data from multiple jobsites simultaneously and store them in their secure servers. They also provide a software platform accessible via a web-server that can view the status and details of various tools.
Live equipment tracking with GoCodes.
GoCodes is comprehensive asset tracking and equipment management software that uses technologies like cloud database, smartphone support and QR codes. It operates on a cloud database and is completely free for Apple and Android users. There is no need extra infrastructure during implementation of GoCodes solutions as they operate on any system, tab or smartphone. They also provide GPS capabilities to provide real time tracking along with smartphone enabled scanner. Using GoCodes will rid you of tedious spreadsheets and lists and will provide all the information in easy to use dashboards. Some of their special features are listed below.
- Patented QR based locating technology- QR codes have the ability to contain a lot of information and instructions. QR codes can be coded to transmit specific instructions to smartphones. QR codes inherently do not have any Geolocation features. However, they can be coded to send the location of the scanning device which is present in the vicinity of the sticker. The QR stickers provided by GoCodes can be used on any asset or equipment which needs to be tracked. The QR codes once scanned will report the recorded location of the asset.
- No need of expensive equipment- The software features and tracking capabilities of GoCodes do not require the use of expensive barcode and QR code scanners. They have the capability to turn smartphones into powerful scanners. This way companies can save costs and optimize their asset tracking processes. The GoCodes software is also simple to use and easy to install. There are no new systems required and the platform works on multiple devices like laptops, smartphones and tabs.
- A 30-day free trial- GoCodes is one of the few companies that offers a free trial service. This makes it easy for startups and businesses who are new to the field of asset tracking to adopt the best practices and align themselves. The trial period is also useful for customizing the asset tracking solutions offered and conduct a dry run to ensure maximum results.
Asset tracking at Toolhawk.
Toolhawk is your multipurpose barcode based tool tracking system. They are primarily into diversifying and customizing the use of barcodes. Barcodes are probably the cheapest and easiest method of tool identification and tracking. All they require is a sticker and scanning equipment. These days smartphones can be equipped with powerful barcode scanning features eliminating the need for costly scanners. Created by General Data, Toolhawk is an easy to use and affordable tool tracking solution. Some of their salient features are mentioned below.
- Set up maintenance categories- Toolhawk gives the ability to customize and add maintenance categories according to the needs of the company. Each barcode can represent a maintenance category such as routine maintenance, corrective maintenance, overhaul, upgrade, etc. Such coded barcodes can then be stuck on appropriate tools and equipment. All one needs to do is scan the code and all the status update regarding the tool will be available on the go.
- Quick tool counting solutions- Using portable terminals and dashboards, Toolhawk provides a quick and efficient tool count service that gives an account of all the items in the inventory. This results in cost-saving in terms of resources, time and manpower.
- Affordable barcode scanners and portable devices- Toolhawk provides affordable barcode scanners and portable devices for efficient tool management and tracking. Using their devices, you can get live update on tools and equipment and automatically be notified when something needs repair or replacement.
Making a choice between the three.
The market today is replete with numerous professional asset tracking services. Before employing any such tools there should be a proper analysis of the unique needs and core goals of the company. The asset tracking tool that is chosen should be customized according to the company’s need. It is not wise to employ a generic over-arching solution.
In this context, after identifying the nature of the industry and its specific needs one can make a choice between Toolhawk, GoCodes and Toolhound. If the industry is into heavy duty products requiring a lot of tools like mining, chemical industry, oil or natural gas then Toolhound should be the ideal choice. They have had a good reputation in the heavy duty industry and their exhaustive and scalable tool tracking features are very cost effective. However, if the company is a startup or is looking for smart but affordable tracking solutions, then GoCodes is the way to go.
With their 30 day, free trial and no equipment requirement makes it an ideal choice for the newcomers. Their QR based Geolocation feature is especially useful in tracking equipment and assets on transit. Toolhawk on the other hand is suitable for those looking for a simple and easy-to-use barcode based solutions. Barcodes are not always feasible in industries with extreme conditions but are cheap and effective for most other companies. They probably the easiest to use and therefore provide the maximum value for money. Toolhawk has a wide range of customizable barcode solutions and scanners.