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What It Means to Track

Part II - Track

Part Two – Track.

No matter how important, expensive or large an item is, it’s human nature to misplace things. Because of this, asset tracking plays a crucial part in a business’ operations. When it’s done well, it saves your company money on purchasing replacements, reduces downtime, and equips you with the insight you need to manage said assets.

Tracking is a broad concept. If you’re reading this series sequentially, you may have already identified what you need to track by reading our chapter on identifying. This step is critical in the tracking process.

As Gary Randall, our says, “Identifying your assets only works well if you also track it.” Otherwise, “it would be a fool’s errand” to go through the effort of labeling every item if there are no plans to track and manage them.

Let’s get into what it means to track your items.

Why Asset Tracking is Essential to your Operations

Preventing Misplaced Assets

A misplaced asset creates a chain of events that ultimately takes a toll on your productivity and profitability, varying by asset. If a forklift is missing, you have to stop operations and search for it. If smaller, less expensive tools go missing, you might just purchase replacements to keep work flowing. Still, those small purchases here and there add up.

Barcoding and RFID enable you to quickly locate assets that have gone missing. It saves time. In fact, some companies report up to an 80% reduction in missing tool-related work delays [1].

Enterprise Asset Tracking Gif

A glimpse into our enterprise asset tracking software’s map view.

Adhering to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

If you are a publicly traded company, another reason to track your assets is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, created and signed into law in 2002. This law, sometimes referred to as the SOX Act, orders publicly traded U.S. companies to provide an accurate assessment of how much their company is worth, including their assets.

Two senators introduced the act in the wake of several large corporations purposefully overvaluing their assets. This massive market manipulation led to investors losing a combined trillions of dollars. The act states that either the CEO or CFO of a company is personally liable for an inaccurate balance sheet.

Real-Life Asset Tracking Applications

Tracking your Tools and Equipment with RTLS

When we talk about losing equipment or tools, we’re not just talking about hammers and drill guns. Large items go missing much more often than you’d think! And sometimes, your jobsite isn’t confined to a building, or even a complex. It may cover considerable ground. How do you track assets when it feels like an impossibly large task?

Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) is one solution to turn to. Leveraging active RFID, RTLS captures information on each tagged asset’s location, status and use. Plus, you’ll know who last used the item. Technology like this empowers you to locate your items’ exact location in minutes – not hours – and to better put those assets to use.

All RFID systems require three major components: tags, readers, and software. For this application, you will need to tag your assets with active RFID technology. The tags communicate information in small packets to readers in time-intervals, allowing for a continuous stream of data for you to review.

This data provides companies with the ways and means to make better decisions regarding their assets – and better manage them. We’ll cover that step in our next chapter: manage.

People Tracking

Employees are the heart of our companies. We owe it to them to keep them safe. In the event of a jobsite emergency, RFID helps you locate them through RFID-enabled ID cards to ensure they got to safety and provide an immediate response if they still need help. The most common application involves passive RFID.

The same tracking method applies to attendee tracking at large events as well using RFID-embedded credentials. This style of tracking combines the best of both worlds: You have an easy, seamless way of keeping people safe, and they have a great card to keep to remember the event. AB&R has assisted large events companies on this front with RFID-embedded cards using a printer that we configured ourselves.

Most passive RFID tags are small and light enough to embed into your employees’ or attendees’ badges. As they move freely through your site, RFID readers fixed at entrances and exits will pick up their location and account for their whereabouts.

Tracking software enables you to view where they’ve been and where they are currently on your job site. As soon as your workers or guests are off-site and out of the RFID readers’ range, they are no longer tracked. This makes RFID a great tool for protecting people while they’re onsite, and onsite only.

If an emergency were to occur, this technology could report who was present at the time and whether they got out safely. That level of visibility allows you to focus your full attention on who is still onsite that needs your help. On the flip side, it also provides immense relief when you see that each employee is accounted for. You can’t put a price on that peace-of-mind.

Continue the Series

You just read part two of our miniseries! To continue reading, or return to a previous chapter, click on the articles below.

Part III - Manage

PART THREE – MANAGE

Series Introduction

SERIES INTRODUCTION

Part I - Identify

PART ONE – IDENTIFY

Next Steps

AB&R has helped thousands of companies track their critical assets over the past 40+ years, from barcode to RFID systems. We want to help you, too! Contact us for a consultation.

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SOURCES

[1] https://s26142.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Zebra-MotionWorks-Case-Study.pdf

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