Businesses acquire tools and equipment to augment their income. Tracking these assets must be at the top every of business’s agenda. Earlier organizations used manual asset tracking methods for inventory management; however, with time, organizations have realized that manual asset tracking is a waste of time and efforts and are taking steps towards digitizing the entire process. Today, most businesses use bar codes or QR codes or an asset tracking software to track asset movement.
In this article...
Bar codes: An introduction
Bar codes include a combination of white and black bars that store information. These bars represent different characters. Bar code scanners read the pattern of text and convert it into a language that your computer connected to the system can understand. There are two types of bar codes: 1D bar codes and 2D bar codes. 2D bar codes can accommodate much more info as compared to the 1D ones. While info in a 1D bar code is organized horizontally, data in a 2D bar code is organized vertically and horizontally.
Equipment tracking with bar codes
First and foremost, you need to get a scanner. If you are already using a field service management software, you can skip this step. If you don’t have too many assets to manage, you can use FSM mobile apps (that can scan bar codes) or tablets. Businesses that already own a field service management software but anyway want to invest in scanners should make sure that the bar code includes integration features.
Before putting bar codes on your equipment, you need to print out labels that include equipment info. To get the bar code version of a particular number, all you need to do is type the item number on your bar code printing software.
After you have printed the labels, put them at places where you store your equipment.
Getting your scanner ready
If you are using a traditional scanner with a simple laser, you will have to run it across the bar code. Once the scanner reads the info, it relays the data to the system. Many advanced models can read QR codes as well. If you are using a scanner that can read QR codes, consider downloading an app that generates regular updates; however, in most cases, these apps cannot be integrated with field service software.
For field jobs, prefer using cordless handheld scanners, as carrying scanners with cords can cause major convenience issues. If your budget allows you to do so, invest in durable scanners with rugged exteriors. You can also opt for scanners that work from a distance.
Making everything fall in place
When deciding the way you want your team to use bar codes, consider a number of factors such as the way your inventory is stored, your workflow, and the software you’re using. You can either choose to scan everything on a single go or follow a ‘scan as you go’ model. While the ‘scan as you go’ model helps ensure that everything is scanned, it is more likely to disrupt the workflow. Scanning at the end, on the other hand, increases your chances of missing items.
To determine which system works best for you, try both the methods for a specific duration. After the trial period, take feedback from your team regarding the preferable method.
QR codes: An introduction
QR codes are an extension of bar codes. They were originally created for the automotive industry. Also known as matrix codes, QR codes are two-dimensional. QR codes store info both horizontally and vertically. The unique design element helps them store more info than 1D bar codes. QR codes can store up to 1,520 alphanumeric or 2,509 numeric characters. QR codes can store email addresses, website URLs, product details, and plain text.
Equipment tracking with QR codes
How QR codes work
Once you have decided what to encode, visit a QR code generation website. Next, fill the required fields to get your unique code. You don’t need a scanner to scan QR codes. A smartphone with a high-resolution camera specially designed to scan QR Codes will get the job done.
For smartphones that don’t have the required functionality, you can download the QR code store from an online app store. Once the camera scans the black square and dots in the QR code, the smartphone converts the data into a language that the user can understand.
Asset tracking software: An introduction
Asset tag software solutions combine desktop, mobile devices, bar code labels, and scanners to streamline the organization’s asset management tracking system. Asset tracking software includes a number of features that help organizations track an asset through different stages of its life cycle, right from procurement to disposal. In addition to helping with fixed asset management, asset tagging software can generate actionable data to streamline the procurement and vendor management process.
Web based asset tracking software are equipped with a few intuitive features and allow users to take equipment pics and load GPS locations. These software generate notifications at regular intervals. Asset tag software are known for their superior reporting capabilities.
Equipment tracking with asset tag software
Before starting to use an asset tracking software, look at the equipment you have. While many assets that you own may have serial numbers and other unique identifiers, they may not have scannable bar codes. If this is the case, you must print bar code labels or buy them.
Once you have printed bar code labels and put them on your equipment, you will be able to view important info such as where a particular asset is located and who the custodian of the asset is on your system. If the asset has been checked out, you will be able to view info related to the return date.
You can also use your asset tag software to ascertain the value of assets throughout the different stages of their life cycle. A small business asset management software allows you to view info related to maintenance and purchases and create reminders regarding important dates. These functionalities give you a clear picture of the total amount that has been spent on the equipment, helping you choose between the two options to continue using the asset or retire it. These intuitive features of asset tag software help reduce cost and keep a tab on wastage.