Schools are one of the most difficult scenarios to manage in terms of asset tracking and management. Schools have always been targets of asset theft and misplacement which has resulted in huge losses.
In a survey conducted in 2013 at the Shelby County School in Tennessee revealed that about $48 million worth of assets was reported missing. There were more than 54,000 assets such as computers, training cars, tools and other equipment. The problem was detected after a recent merger of two schools. Another audit conducted in 2010 revealed that a school in Los Angeles had more than $10 million worth of textbook assets missing. More than $500,000 worth of the missing books were found in a local warehouse.
Implementing barcode based asset tracking
The main problem in schools is the dynamic and chaotic environment presented by children. The activities of children cannot always be regulated – and such a large number of them poses challenges in the ways asset tracking can be implemented.
Barcodes are one of the most cost-effective and durable forms of asset tracking solutions that are just perfect for disruptive environments like schools. Barcodes are easy to use stickers that can be attached to any surface. It can be used for books and library resources, stationeries, tables, chairs and desks, laboratory equipment and sports assets. This diversity of application makes barcodes perfect for schools.
Smartphones today can be equipped with powerful scanning capabilities which make expensive scanners obsolete. School supervisors only need to scan the corresponding barcode and get all the details on their smartphone.
Advantages of using Barcodes in Schools
Some of the key advantages of using barcodes in schools are mentioned below.
- Customizable tags- The information stored by the barcodes can be easily updated according to the conditions of the schools. For example, if there is a collapse for a merger of institutions then the designated ownership and location of various assets might have to be changed. By directly making the update in the central database all the barcodes that have been used can be recalibrated.
- GPS tracking features- While barcodes themselves possess no GPS capabilities, the smartphones or scanners used to read them can be equipped with such features. Since the physical location of the scanner and the barcode coincide, upon the scanning the code, the smartphone can send its GPS location to the database indicating the position of the asset.
- High-durability- Barcode stickers are extremely hardy and can endure a wide range of harsh conditions. The stickers are resistant to water, dirt and weather conditions. They are also not easily removable and are hence relatively tamper-proof.
- Cost-effective- Barcodes do not need any special manufacturing procedures and can be easily printed on a mass scale. Thanks to the development of modern software platforms, we no longer need scanning tools and separate systems for storing information. All of this results in tremendous cost saving and further saves capital by maintaining the assets and locating them in times of misplacement or theft.