04 Nov What It Means to Identify
Part One – Identify
Identifying lays the foundation for tracking and managing your assets and inventory. After all, you need to know what you want to track before you can even begin. That’s why it is the first word in our tagline!
It sounds simple, but identifying your assets is a bit more hands-on than simply naming and labeling every item in your possession. As Ted Morgan, our VP of strategic development, puts it, “it’s an exercise in awareness and prioritization.”
Let’s talk a bit about how to identify your items.
What is Considered an Asset?
To illustrate how an asset varies by company, Ted says a company may consider anything that costs more than $5,000 to be an asset. This list is a very high-level starting point – in no way is it exhaustive.
- Office furniture
- Company vehicles
- Computer servers
- Company-issued devices
- Forklifts and other construction equipment
Assets are more than things, or inanimate objects. People can also be considered assets, and we will talk more about people tracking and how that’s done in our tracking chapter.
Why you Need to Identify your Items
Your assets drive your business. It’s important to know what these drivers are and what they cost, whether that be to price out replacement costs or to report to your insurance. There’s also the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to consider, which we will also discuss in depth in the tracking chapter.
Identifying is the difference between saying you have $15,000 in assets, and saying you have $15,000 worth of trucks, tools, and forklifts.
Sometimes, an item you assume belongs to the company may belong to an employee. For example, let’s say your company issues laptops to its employees. What happens if your employee brings their personal devices into the office? If your assets are labeled, you could distinguish between personal and company property with a barcode scan or RFID read.
Lastly, having some sort of record tied to your assets may help with insurance claims, in the event of theft or fire. This also feeds into the tracking and managing pieces.
What you Should use to Identify your Assets
Over the years, companies have gradually shifted from pen-and-paper techniques to using barcodes to identify their assets. RFID – often with a “human readable” print on the tag – shines in this application as well. Which technology you decide to implement will depend on several factors; the most pivotal of which are typically price and budget.
An RFID system will always cost more than a barcode system of the same scope. For many, it is simply not cost effective to use RFID on assets or inventory items that cost less than $500. System prices will fluctuate with how many items you need to track and the type of RFID technology (active vs. passive, for example) you choose to use.
The identifying phase is essential to your journey toward improved efficiency and productivity. It lays the foundation to build toward tracking and managing your assets and inventory.
Other factors to note are accessibility and audit frequency. RFID readers can read tagged items that are outside of their direct line of sight. Barcode scanners require a line of sight, meaning you may have to hunt for the barcode depending on where it was placed. This doesn’t disqualify the barcode completely: RFID still has limitations, particularly in certain environments such as subzero temperatures and environments with plenty of metal.
If you are interested in learning more about either technology, you can download our barcode and RFID guides using the buttons below! In each, you’ll find more information about the components you’ll need to build a successful system, the use cases, and general component pricing.
Continue the Series
You’ve just read part of our deep dive into AB&R’s tagline, Identify. Track. Manage. Continue the series by clicking on the buttons below!
We’re here to help you start identifying your assets. Give us a call, and we’ll talk through the asset tracking system that works best for you.
WE’RE HERE FOR YOU.