01 Nov Technology Buying Guide: Asset Tracking Software
Asset Tracking Software
Asset tracking is a budding industry, blooming with the development of more efficient technologies. The software used for asset tracking includes but is not limited to labels, barcodes, RFID tags, readers, and the entire infrastructure needed for a complex RFID system. Defined as “tracking the movement of physical assets”, asset tracking plays a major role in reaching a company’s full potential of productivity.
Integration (Big Data)
Asset tracking software allows for companies to take in massive amounts of data that can be analyzed to find trends. Analysts take data from multiple sources and match it to the user by identifying these trends. Big companies are making use of this powerful tool for customer profiling, efficiency enhancement, and cost effectiveness. Target utilized the power of big data to send coupons for baby goods to an underage, pregnant customer, who based on her purchase history, would fit into the market that needs baby items. Target’s use of data to analyze customers and send them items that meet their needs is a seamless marketing technique, usually. Sadly, Target didn’t know that this customer had kept it a secret from her father that she was pregnant.
This situation certainly poses some negatives to the integration of Big Data, but it shows that Target and any other major company can use the big data they compile with a frightening level of skill, giving them a picture of consumer trends and how to meet their needs best. Big data is all about analyzing huge amounts of information to find trends and make predictions. There have been bounds in big data recently among Google, whose Spanner database keeps massive amounts of data in sync, operating from multiple databases across the world. In essence, it’s like working on a shared Google Doc simultaneously with a friend, but on a massive global scale.
Steps to take before purchasing an asset management system
The power of asset tracking software is clear, but sometimes it can be hard to determine what kind of system is right for a company. The solution will change based on the problem, but luckily, AB&R offers a wide variety of solutions that can fix any problem within the company.
Determining the best type of asset management system for a company can require a lot of thought, planning, and analysis. Factors that affect the most reasonable system include the number of total assets to be tracked, the value of the assets, the number of people conducting surveys (i.e. scanning barcodes) on assets, the number of locations of assets, and the timeframe in which asset management must be done.
When purchasing an asset tracking software, the IT Asset Manager of a company must be present to decide on which package is most beneficial. A CFO or a COO will have to sign off on the purchase, but ultimately, the expertise of those who work in asset management will be relied upon for making this decision.
In order to determine what a company’s needs are, AB&R must perform analysis of the company and choose the right asset management system. Some situations require custom RFID systems, and others need a mere barcode set up. Off the shelf systems, such as Assetworx, however, are successful and applicable 95% of the time.
Assetworx is a single-user asset tracking software that is sold to one computer at a time. Any modifications made to an RFID system will cause cost variance, and the number of Assetworx programs purchased also dictates the cost. Once the company has an understanding of the available softwares and has been analyzed for their needs, it’s time to make a decision.
RFID Tags vs. Asset Barcode Labels: Making the Decision
Most asset management systems can be separated into three distinct categories:
The most rudimentary system of asset management is with paper and pencil, and next on the scale is barcodes. Barcode systems are good for companies with less valuable assets. Compared to an RFID tag, a barcode is just another way to put data into a system. Barcodes work well if you have time to scan every asset, but it can be inefficient. For an entry level company, however, they are the most likely asset management solution available. The typical features of a barcode system mirror those of an RFID system, except instead of collecting data automatically, they must be scanned. Barcodes are utilized more for location, whereas RFID can compile data for analysis. Though lowest on the scale of efficiency for asset management solutions (besides pencil and paper, of course) the barcode system is the easiest and cheapest to set up, requiring little training and a simple implementation process.
This system would be a barcode and RFID hybrid. For a great deal of companies, this would be sensible: cheaper barcodes can be placed on less valuable assets that do not require RFID tracking, and the more valuable assets can be placed with RFID tags. Though RFID is a great investment in efficiency and manageability of the company, the costs go up significantly with its addition, because not only are the tags more expensive, but it needs an infrastructure of readers to be able to utilize the tags. The timeframe to implement this system widens with the addition of RFID, requiring the addition of tags onto all assets, an infrastructure of readers, and more training.
This system allows for the highest possible efficiency of a business. High level companies should strongly consider this type of system as a groundbreaking means of improving business practices. It offers asset tracking in real time across the board, with huge quantities of data brought in for analysis, and thus, improvement. This will entail the longest timeframe for implementation, because it requires software training, tag placement, and a complex reader infrastructure.
The choice of what asset tracking software is right for your company is one of many implications. But no matter what system is chosen, with the careful planning and expertise of AB&R, it will make any company faster, smarter, and more prepared for the future.