The Role of Asset Tags in Asset Management
Asset tags are the secret weapon that savvy organizations use to simplify asset management and boost efficiency. These unique identifiers address one of the most persistent challenges in the industry: maintaining accurate control and visibility over your inventory, regardless of the sector you operate in.
Equipment asset tags can keep your assets organized no matter whether you're in charge of assets in a government agency, construction site, or even an educational institution.
You might be wondering what makes asset tags better than the alternatives. Well, the benefits of asset tags are nothing short of game-changing.
You'll enjoy increased accountability, reduced losses and theft, improved maintenance scheduling, and enhanced financial reporting.
And who wouldn't want that?
In this article, we'll cover everything you should know, including the types of assets that require tagging, common mistakes to avoid, and tips for selecting the best tags for your needs.
What are asset tags?
Imagine having a clear and efficient way to track your company's valuable assets. Asset tags make that a reality.
They’re becoming increasingly popular worldwide, and had a collective market value of US $1,765.6 million in 2022. In fact, North America alone is expected to hold 23% of the worldwide market share until 2032.
These little helpers are durable, printed labels made from materials like vinyl or polyester that you attach to your assets. Each tag features a barcode, equipment ID number, and your company's name and logo, making it easy to identify and manage your resources.
When you pair asset tags with management software and barcode scanners, you're empowering yourself to effectively gather, organize, and maintain vital information about your assets.
Consequently, you'll find it easier to oversee acquisition, usage, maintenance, and disposal, ultimately enhancing your organization's asset management system.
Asset tags definition
When it comes to managing your organization's physical property, asset tags are your go-to solution. These identification tags play a crucial role in keeping track of your assets, which can be divided into two primary categories:
- Fixed assets – Think of the infrastructure around you: road signs, bridges, tunnels, water and sewer systems, dams, lighting systems, land, buildings, and even the equipment and machinery attached to buildings. These are all considered fixed assets.
- Movable assets — These assets aren't attached to a building and can be easily moved. Examples include furniture, computers, printers, and other equipment often used in your business.
Understanding the types of assets you have is the first step in effectively utilizing asset tags for a streamlined asset management system.
What are the different kinds of asset tags?
With a wide array of asset tags available, you'll find the perfect fit for your unique needs. Let's explore some popular types:
- Industry-specific asset tags — Examples include warehouse barcode labels, UID labels for the defense industry, or utility asset tags like meter tags and pole tags.
- Two-part asset labels — These tags streamline record-keeping and reordering.
- Metal asset tags — Choose aluminum asset tags or barcode labels for extra durability in indoor and outdoor applications.
- Tamper-evident asset tags — Enhance security with tags that deter theft or unauthorized transfer.
- Specialized asset tags — Find tags tailored for specific applications, like traffic sign asset tags, work-in-process barcode labels, LDAR tags, steam trap tags, or warehouse rack labels.
- Foil asset tags — Opt for these security-focused, durable tags that maintain readability throughout their lifespan.
With so many options, you can create a tailored asset management solution that caters to your organization's unique requirements.
What are the benefits of asset tags?
Asset tags, particularly those with barcodes, streamline your asset management process, offering a host of benefits:
- Simplified asset tracking — Easily pull up an asset's information and maintenance history by scanning its barcode.
- Comprehensive maintenance tracking — Monitor and log maintenance events and downtime efficiently.
- Cost tracking — Keep a close eye on the costs associated with your assets.
- Reduced costs — Minimize the expenses related to asset loss or theft.
Asset tags make it a breeze to manage misplaced, loaned, or transferred assets. Plus, you can quickly log changes and locate items, saving valuable time and reducing costs in the process.
The US government uses asset tags
The US government and military stand as prime examples of real-world organizations utilizing asset tags for effective management of their physical inventory. By employing asset tags, they can efficiently monitor and track a vast array of fixed and movable assets, such as office equipment, outdoor street signs, and even Humvees.
These tags ensure compliance with regulations, streamline inventory controls, increase accountability and accuracy, and reduce audit time.
Companies like RedBeam provide user-friendly platforms for asset tracking, consolidating critical data across multiple locations. This helps government agencies maintain adequate inventory controls as required by Section 524 of Title 40 of the United States Code, ensuring continuous property monitoring and management.
How do asset tags aid asset management?
Asset tags play a crucial role in managing assets effectively, ensuring their efficient utilization and availability when needed — regardless of industry.
As part of a well-rounded asset management strategy, asset tags contribute to an organization's success in the following ways:
Identification and tracking of assets
Asset tags are designed to provide unique identifiers for all assets within an organization. This makes it easier to manage and track them, regardless of their type or location. With asset tags in place, organizations can maintain a more organized and systematic approach to their asset management.
Record-keeping of essential information
Asset tags enable organizations to maintain detailed records of each asset's critical information, such as location, condition, and maintenance history. By having this information readily available, organizations can make informed decisions about asset allocation, maintenance, and replacement.
Automation of asset tracking
Asset tags streamline and automate asset tracking, significantly reducing the time and effort required to manage assets manually. With an automated asset tracking system in place, organizations can focus their resources on more critical tasks and initiatives, thereby increasing overall productivity and efficiency.
Real-time information for better decision-making
Asset tags provide real-time information about the location and condition of assets, allowing organizations to make better decisions about when to repair or replace assets.
Timely and accurate data on asset performance helps organizations minimize downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and ensure that their assets are always in optimal condition.
Effective asset management is critical to the success of any organization. By leveraging asset tags, organizations can ensure that their assets are used efficiently and that they are available when needed.
Preventing asset loss or theft
Asset tags can deter theft and unauthorized transfers by making assets easily identifiable. In the event of asset loss or theft, asset tags can help organizations quickly locate and recover the missing items.
Improving maintenance scheduling
With detailed information about each asset's maintenance history, organizations can proactively schedule maintenance, reducing the risk of asset failure or malfunction. Properly maintained assets last longer and perform better, minimizing the costs associated with asset replacement.
Enhancing asset life cycle management
Asset tags enable organizations to manage assets throughout their entire life cycle, from acquisition to disposal. With a clear understanding of each asset's life cycle, organizations can optimize asset utilization and plan for future asset requirements.
Facilitating audits and regulatory compliance
Asset tags simplify the audit process by providing quick access to critical asset data. This makes it easier for organizations to demonstrate regulatory compliance and maintain accurate records of their assets.
What assets need tags?
Understanding which assets need tags in your business is crucial for effective asset management.
It's important to remember that not every asset requires a tag. Generally, assets should be tagged and tracked if they are critical to your business operations, present a significant liability risk if they fail, or represent a considerable cost if they are damaged, lost, stolen, or misused.
Let's explore the various assets that may need tags in your organization.
Computers and peripherals: Laptops, desktops, monitors, external hard drives, and other devices fall into this category. By tagging and tracking these items, you can gain insight into the bigger picture of asset utilization, enabling you to make informed purchasing decisions based on actual usage patterns.
Office equipment: Capital items like phones, printers, TVs, and conference equipment should be tagged to facilitate expense tracking for accounting and tax purposes. This ensures that your business is accurately reporting its capital expenditures and depreciations.
Appliances: Appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, water heaters, dishwashers, and air conditioners are commonly tagged assets. These larger appliances can be quite expensive and require specific maintenance. Tracking them helps account for costs, depreciation, and ensures that necessary maintenance is performed on time.
Machines, equipment, and tools: Assets like turbines, transformers, hydraulic power units (HPUs), medical devices, power tools, jacks, and more are essential for your day-to-day operations. Tagging these assets, regardless of size, helps you keep track of their usage, maintenance, and location.
Furniture: Depending on your business needs, tagging furniture such as bookshelves, chairs, cabinets, and tables can be beneficial. As your company grows, hires new workers, rearranges the office, or transfers items between buildings, tracking these items can improve overall efficiency.
Vehicles: Many businesses maintain vehicles for various purposes, such as when employees visit from other offices or as part of a bigger fleet of vans, trucks, and mobile cranes. Tagging and tracking these assets is crucial for ensuring proper maintenance and availability when needed.
Tracking various asset types enables your business to better assess usage, understand associated costs, plan maintenance schedules, standardize equipment, and reduce overhead and taxes.
How to successfully tag assets
Effective asset management is vital for the smooth operation of any business. Tagging your assets correctly ensures that you can keep track of them, making processes like reordering, maintenance, and accounting more efficient.
Below are four simple steps that you can follow to successfully tag your assets.
Assigning a unique identification number
The first step in the asset tagging process is to assign a unique identification (ID) number to each asset once it's been purchased and categorized. This ID number will differentiate assets from one another, making them instantly recognizable in your asset tracking system.
Unique ID numbers will streamline management and departmental processes, saving time and resources.
Choosing a suitable tag or label
There are various asset tag options available, and it's essential to select the right one for each asset. Different tags have distinct characteristics, so what works for one asset might not be suitable for another.
Consider factors like durability in various environmental conditions and security capabilities when choosing asset tags. Some popular asset tag options include:
- RFID tags
- GPS trackers
- NFC tags
- QR codes
- Creating an Asset Profile
To properly manage your assets, it's essential to include accurate data when assigning tags. This data will help you create a detailed profile for each item that can be accessed through your asset tagging system. Relevant asset data includes:
- Serial numbers
- Manufacturer details
- Date of purchase
- Typical usable life
Affixing an asset tag
After identifying valuable equipment and creating a unique profile for each item, you can start the process of tagging your assets. This involves affixing the tags to your assets using pressure-sensitive adhesive methods or mechanical attachments.
Proper attachment is crucial for ensuring that the tags remain in place, providing you with accurate, up-to-date information on each asset.
With your assets correctly tagged and tracked, you'll be better equipped to handle the many challenges that businesses face, from reordering supplies to maintaining equipment and staying on top of accounting.
Common mistakes to avoid
Asset management plays a crucial role in your business's success, as it helps maintain a clear picture of your assets throughout their lifecycle. To make your asset management program effective, it's essential to avoid these common mistakes:
- Inaccurate inventory of assets: Ensure that you have an accurate and up-to-date inventory of all assets to avoid unnecessary expenses and inefficiencies.
- Insufficient asset descriptions: Asset descriptions should include manufacturer, model, and serial number information to provide a comprehensive understanding of each asset.
- Inadequate asset tags: Your asset tags should contain information that can be manually read and used in situations where asset databases are inaccessible, ensuring continued functionality.
- Unaccounted asset movements: Track all asset movements, including acquisitions, transfers, and disposals, to maintain accurate and reliable asset data.
Remember, information is the lifeblood of any asset management system. Take a complete inventory of your assets, record all necessary asset information, create tags that can be read by both scanners and human eyes and develop strict controls for tracking assets throughout their lifecycle.
Asset tags are crucial tools for efficient asset management. These small but powerful labels come in various types, offering countless benefits to organizations in need of better control over their resources.
By now, you should understand the importance of asset tags and how they can streamline your management process.
If you're part of the government, construction, or education sector, asset tags can revolutionize how you track, maintain, and utilize your assets. To begin, identify the key resources in your organization and choose the right kind of asset tags to suit your specific needs.
Be diligent in tagging your assets and avoid common mistakes, such as improper placement or using inadequate tag materials.
Don't wait to take advantage of the numerous benefits asset tags bring to your organization. Implement asset tagging today and watch as your asset management processes become more efficient, saving you time and money while promoting accountability and resource optimization.
RedBeam is proud to partner with top-tier manufacturer partners and technology resellers in the asset tracking industry, such as Zebra Technologies.
Zebra manufactures industry-leading technologies that enables us to provide customers a complete asset tracking technology package. Their hardware is 100% compatible with the RedBeam software, backed by the Zebra warranty, and improves the speed and efficiency of asset tracking activities.
RedBeam’s deep knowledge of Zebra products allows us to make individualized hardware recommendations according to your business needs and budget.
Embrace the power of asset tags and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive world. Schedule a demonstration to discover how RedBeam, a top-performing asset management platform, can provide you with exceptional visibility into your fixed assets.