What is asset tagging and management and how can it benefit a business?
Asset tagging is a means of tracking an organisation’s assets, whether fixed, moveable or both. It’s a key aspect of asset management, and allows for physical assets to be more easily and efficiently monitored, managed and allocated.
An important feature of asset tagging is the use of asset tags affixed to the physical assets themselves. This enable scanners or mobile apps to scan the tags and associated data to be assigned to the asset property.
What are asset tags and how do they differ?
There are various types of asset tags but they essentially do the same thing, ie. They allow you to document the location of physical objects. There are different types of asset tags but the main ones are as follows:
Barcodes – Barcodes are a decades-old, versatile and instantly recognisable form of asset tag – characteristics that have helped to popularise them across a wide range of industries.
QR codes – QR codes are familiar from the world of marketing, but have also become a popular means of immediately retrieving information
RFiD – These advanced variants of barcodes are invaluable for the tracking of large volumes of goods where item-specific details need to be identified.
Vision-tags – These are effectively ACMS’ own version of RFiD tags, integrated into a number of the software modules within the Vision system. Used in conjunction with the Vision Mobile App, they allow for the scanning, reading and editing (if permitted to do so) of the premises’ live data at any level, ie. building, floor, location or individual asset.
What assets should be tracked in your business?
In short, everything! If you want to know where it is, what state its in, value, depreciation, location, etc., you should tag your assets!!! Especially large organisations or ones set over numerous sites.
While asset tags are often applied to both fixed and moveable assets, this doesn’t necessarily mean your business should be looking to tag every asset it owns or manages.
Nonetheless, asset tagging is well-suited to high-value assets, such as moveable assets and assets that require routine maintenance, repairs or replacement parts, such as fire safety equipment, machinery and lighting. These categories could encompass the likes of IT hardware, audio-visual equipment, furnishings and capital equipment.
What are the benefits of asset tagging in a business?
Increased productivity and saved time
Taking greater control over your company’s inventory – as an asset tagging solution allows you to do – enables you to bring greater simplicity and efficiency to your day-to-day operations. The time-consuming manual verification of assets is replaced with the quick scanning of tagged items.
All the while, fewer delays and obstacles are presented to the task of locating devices, equipment and similar assets, and resources can be more efficiently allocated to ensure the timely completion of projects.
It helps to monitor physical assets
Asset tagging can be invaluable for giving your company a much-improved overview of its entire physical asset portfolio.
All too many small-to-medium-sized enterprises fail to keep track of their physical assets, which can be in danger of being missed as they move throughout an organisation or even between departments. As a result, such assets may be unnecessarily duplicated within the company.
Asset tracking, then, can greatly help companies to gain a more accurate view of their current physical asset portfolio and future needs, which allows for improved management of resources.
It avoids unnecessary maintenance costs
Included among your company’s physical assets is likely to be equipment that must be maintained on an ongoing or periodic basis. Unfortunately, all too many businesses in this position rely on manual documentation for keeping on top of maintenance schedules, which often results in delays to scheduled maintenance.
Invest in an asset tracking platform, and you can arrange to receive alerts to help ensure maintenance is always performed on time and never overlooked.
Asset audits and compliance
All manner of regulatory requirements exist today in relation to a business’s physical assets, encompassing the likes of equipment testing, maintenance and calibration.
Data with regard to these aspects of a company’s physical assets often needs to be captured and reported to demonstrate compliance. Asset tracking software can greatly help to streamline this process, meaning that detailed reports could be produced within mere minutes, rather than the days or even weeks that might be necessary if the company depended on gathering such data manually.
Having an asset register is a very good way to provide depreciation values as you approach your year-end accounting period.
3 steps to creating an efficient asset tagging system
1. Determine the assets that you will be tagging
What types and how many assets do you intend to track? Consider your organisation’s management of both fixed and moveable assets. While the former are assets that are installed to remain in one location for the entirety of their lifespan, moveable assets are items – such as furniture, laptop computers and vehicles – that do not form part of a building or company’s fixed infrastructure.
2. Consider the information you will need to collect
While the central principle of an assets register is the recording, tracking and tracing of multiple assets in a single place, this still leaves a lot of scope for what exact information you collate.
The data that you gather about your assets is likely to encompass a list of the assets themselves, as well as their location on your premises, their status and condition, and whether any annual or regular checks or maintenance are required for them.
Information may also be collated in relation to expiry dates, when the asset may need to be re-inspected or replaced, and any relevant documentation, certificates, user and ‘how to’ guides.
3. Choose a method for recording the assets
There can be an understandable inclination for many small-to-medium-sized enterprises to first use a simple spreadsheet for the recording of their assets. Indeed, this may make a certain amount of sense when the assets are restricted to a single building, office or floor.
However, depending on a spreadsheet program like Excel for asset tracking can be rife with risks and difficulties. There is, first of all, the inherent unreliability of manual data entry, with the scope it brings for human error. Your organisation may also easily end up with conflicting copies of the document, especially if a cloud-based platform such as Google Drive or a central server is not used to ensure everyone always has access to the most up-to-date version of the asset register.
There is also the consideration about what could happen during a changeover in personnel as this can result in loss of responsibility and ownership for the asset management documentation.
This raises the question of whether, particularly for more complex premises such as retail stores, university campuses or any other situation in which multiple sites are involved, an alternative dedicated software solution may be preferable for the recording, tracking and tracing of assets.
How can Vision help?
Vision from ACMS UK represents truly comprehensive, cloud-based risk and compliance management software, including an Asset Management Module that provides a single online location for tracking, tagging, monitoring, viewing and editing of your organisation’s assets. You can also store any documentation, schedules, certificates, drawings, photographs, guides even video footage against any individual asset. You can also dictate the asset itself, from building level to floor, location to individual equipment, machinery or even personnel.
If Vision seems like the solution that may be best matched to your own organisation’s requirements, please do not hesitate to call ACMS UK on +44(0) 115 922 0600 for an in-depth conversation and to book a demo of this renowned solution for asset tagging and management.