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From small businesses to enterprise organizations, barcode-based asset tracking systems are transforming operations and enabling companies to share a single, unified source of truth that delivers connected, real-time visibility into some of the most important data just about every company needs to know: assets and inventory.
Put simply, barcode asset tracking relies on a system of specialized barcode labels, scanning devices, and software to organize and automate the tracking of data related to inventory, IT assets, physical assets and equipment, scheduled maintenance, and other operations-critical information.
Asset tracking systems are used across wide-ranging industries that include manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and logistics, travel, warehousing and distribution, retail, and more. Yet, no matter the industry or specific data collected and delivered, all these systems share the same three basic building blocks:
Barcode and/or RAIN RFID labels and/or tags →
Barcode scanning devices and related technologies, including IoT sensors →
Asset tracking software →
Many systems build on these basic blocks to increase automation, reduce labor, and even further improve data accuracy. Sometimes that means incorporating data capture solutions like fixed industrial scanning or RAIN RFID (radio frequency identification) and IoT (internet of things) connected sensors at critical points where eliminating line-of-sight scanning can improve speed and efficiency. Other cases can call for network optimizations or other problem-solving to speed up data handling or eliminate wifi dead zones.
It takes the right technology partner to help identify data capture opportunities in your processes and match your operational needs with the best combination of technologies and solutions. But an individual, cost-effective data capture system for warehouse, manufacturing, healthcare, or any other environment can be as complex or as simple as the job demands.
How do you know whether you’re making the most of data capture opportunities in your processes?
Tracking and managing inventory and assets is critical to operational excellence. A barcode system delivers a return on investment in every area where asset management matters, by improving:
Just compare the difference in time required to scan a barcode versus hand-jotting notes and entering data into multiple spreadsheets for a given asset and you’ll quickly understand the efficiency a barcode system delivers. Eliminating the menial, manual tasks enables teams to focus on what they do best: solving challenges, thinking critically, and delivering value to your enterprise team. And automating data visualizations saves time and labor while delivering on-demand information to your internal customers.
Not only is data handling easier, but barcode scanning significantly reduces opportunity for human error. And because stakeholders simply log into the system to see real-time information on a user-friendly dashboard, there aren’t multiple versions of similar spreadsheets floating around on desktops and servers.
Barcode asset tracking helps establish one single source of enterprise truth—for real-time visibility, connected data, and better decision-making.
Visibility and transparency
You decide what’s most important in an asset’s life cycle—age, condition, usage, maintenance schedules, contracts, lifecycle ROI, etc.—and those are the critical details your stakeholders can see on demand. And you can eliminate data gatekeeping without putting data accuracy at risk by implementing user-based access and edit permissions.
At enterprise scale, achieving operational excellence demands more than just data collection; it requires in-depth, accurate, connected, real-time data visibility. Barcode and RAIN RFID-enabled asset tracking solutions can help you achieve that goal.
Whether you’re starting a business from the ground up or your company is a well-established enterprise, if you’re not tracking assets, you’re accepting unnecessary risks. Tracking company assets enables you to discover and monitor:
When was the last time an employee asked if you’d seen their clipboard?
How much time do you waste poring over spreadsheets and analyzing budget data?
How long does it take to find answers to questions about key assets?
How much time is spent training new employees on asset tracking and management processes involving paper or spreadsheets?
How often do you discover errors while analyzing key data?
Begin with Barcode Labels & Tags
Whether you’re implementing a barcoding system for warehouse environments, retail distribution centers, IT asset management, manufacturing equipment, healthcare, or another application, barcode tags and labels are a fundamental building block of virtually every asset tracking system.
Each unique item is labeled with a barcode assigned to the individual asset, following industry standards and best practices. Depending on the use and application, the barcode printed on the label may be created solely for internal use (such as a SKU, or stock keeping unit) or for global use (such as a UPC, or universal product code, following GS1’s Global Trade Item Number standard). Barcoding is proud to be a GS1 Silver Partner!
Standard UPCs enable businesses to sell goods globally, ensuring interoperability with other businesses that use the same standards, so they’re typically applied to products entering the global supply chain.
Internally, your barcode system creates a logical organizational structure for equipment, tools, devices, and other assets. If you’re implementing a barcode system in a warehouse, all assets and inventory items require barcode label solutions. Depending on the industry and work environment, it can be a challenge to choose the right type of barcode, label materials, sizes, placements, and printing technologies.
You may even have unidentified opportunities for automation using RAIN RFID tags or labels and IoT-connected sensors. It takes a deeply informed, holistic approach to identify these areas and implement data capture systems and solutions that capitalize on the strengths of each technology to deliver optimal ROI as a system.
You’ll get the right guidance from experts who work hard to understand your processes and people before jumping into recommending labels, scanners, or software solutions.
Barcode Scanning Technology & Hardware Considerations
Barcode scanner types and hardware configurations come in virtually countless combinations. If you’re just getting started, the choices can be overwhelming, ranging from the tiniest wearable barcode scanners to fixed industrial scanners that work in line with your manufacturing, packaging, and handling processes.
It can be a tall order to choose barcode labels, scanners, and printers that are compatible with one another, with your inventory/asset management solution, and with your processes and employees’ needs…but the efficiency, accuracy, and visibility you gain can be transformational to your business.
RAIN RFID: Enhancing Data Capture & Automation Capabilities
Since the 1970s, the barcode has transformed industries like retail, warehousing and distribution, manufacturing, logistics, travel, and healthcare. And as revolutionary as those black and white bars were back then, they were just the start of data capture technology advancements making industry more accurate, visible, and connected than ever before.
RAIN RFID (radio frequency identification) has also become an indispensable component of data capture systems, purpose-built to help solve specialized needs that often arise in work environments.
Situations that may call for integrating RAIN RFID and IoT-connected sensors into a data capture system often include:
Too many businesses spend too much time and money tracking equipment and assets, IT hardware and devices, maintenance and service contracts, and consumables inventory using piecemeal jumbles of software applications, spreadsheets, checklists, clipboards, even email trains (yes, really). But here’s what businesses really need to understand:
The future of enterprise applications is mobility.
Organizations that can consolidate data collection, analytics, access, and reporting into a single enterprise implementation plan—like Barcoding’s IntelliTrack inventory and asset management solution—can get there faster and easier.
When your mobile security solution is also your enterprise fleet management solution, your users get mobile app convenience, your stakeholders get instant access to analytics, and you get one solution, one service provider, and one single enterprise source of truth.
That super-streamlined user experience is only possible with excellence in asset management.
Discover the Difference a Trusted Partner Can Make
Maybe you’re brand-new to barcode services, software, or systems and you want the peace of mind that a device rental can bring. Maybe it’s simply time for a device refresh, and your team would benefit from expert guidance and mobile device deployment support. Whether you’re implementing a new-to-you technology or you’re newly in need of managed mobility services as your business grows, the right partner is the one that puts the focus on you.Look for a team of experts who’ll spend the upfront time listening and learning about your business, your people, and your processes. One that emphasizes IT operations best practices and maintains a network of partnerships with multiple OEMs and service providers to ensure the best match between your needs and your solutions.