There are many ways that an organisation can identify an asset in order to manage, track and locate it. Manual approaches are common: relying on a serial number and lists. This is time-intensive for the user as they have to type the serial number in whenever a transaction happens. It is also subject to human error.
As an alternative, there are Barcodes and RFID: two asset tracking methods which are often compared to one another. However, in reality they both have their own strengths and weaknesses and each is best for certain applications or environments.
- Barcodes are cheap. Scanners only cost £20-£30 and the codes themselves cost nothing to produce.
- Easy to produce – to keep costs down you can even print them yourself on stickers.
- Familiarity – people are used to seeing and dealing with barcodes on a day-to-day basis
- Barcode stickers are easily damaged, especially if they are exposed to the elements or damage from scrapes and scuffs, such as in a warehouse environment
- Barcodes can easily become detached from the asset and so can’t be scanned – this leads to huge time penalties as firstly you have to identify the asset by some other method, and secondly you have to go to the expense of putting a new barcode onto the asset and re-registering or updating that asset in your system
- Easy to remove or swap – either accidentally or maliciously
- Easy to replicate – a barcode number is not unique and can be copied
- Asset tracking is obvious as barcodes cannot be hidden within assets
- RFID tags are very resilient and will take impacts without failing
- If applied correctly, RFID transponders are difficult or even impossible to remove
- If the correct RFID technology is chosen it is impossible to copy or duplicate a transponder
- If you choose a reputable RFID supplier (such as Trovan) they will guarantee the RFID transponder for the life of the asset, giving peace of mind and protecting your investment
- RFID tags can be applied covertly
- RFID transponders are more expensive per item (although when compared to the regular replacement of barcodes throughout the life of an asset, this is actually not the case!)
- Scanning hardware for RFID is generally more expensive
That being said, both RFID and Barcodes have their place: but if the asset is in any industrial setting; if your asset has a long life span; or is it of higher value then RFID is always the best choice
On the other hand, If you are tracking paperwork, or assets that have a short shelf life then barcodes are the obvious answer.
Tracking IT Resources with RFID
When your business deal in high value assets, you cannot afford to lose track of them. You may deal with solar panels, commercial gas canisters or high-value machinery. Whatever the asset, you need to be able to find, account for and service your asses with the minimum of delay. Digitalquill’s Asset Management System is designed for businesses like these.
Our RFID asset management system is currently being used by some major companies to track I.T. Resources. The transponders can be hidden inside the equipment, and tracking the assets is simple. Handheld RFID scanners at each point of the IT Support and IT equipment repair service quickly scan the item and record its current location, status and a time and date stamp.
Asset Tracking Software
Digitalquill’s Asset Management System lets you easily keeps track of all your business assets: you can instantly find out where they all are; where they have been; and keep a fully tracked history of their movements – all at the click of a button.
We use cutting edge RFID technology, and the system is not industry specific. It can be used to track everything from gas canisters to solar panels. The Asset Management System links with our other software including our Proof of Delivery system. With one RFID transponder you can cover everything from picking and packing to delivery tracking.