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What is Asset Tracking? How It Works & Why You Need It

Asset tags. QR Codes. GPS Tracking. What do these tools have to do with your tools? A whole lot, actually, if you leverage them properly. These methods of electronic asset tracking are like the superhero versions of old-school inventory systems – more accurate, efficient, and reliable. Read on for a quick breakdown of what asset tracking is, how it works, and why you need a system to track your company’s tools. 

What is Asset Tracking?

Think of all your company’s physical assets. That’s everything the company owns: laptops, cell phones, radios, handheld tools, large tools, trailers – the list goes on. And on. With an easy to use system in place like ShareMyToolbox, keeping track of every asset and who is in possession can be an easy task. If done correctly, asset tracking can save you money and improve efficiency.

Whether you have one field team or twenty, keeping track of your tools should be a priority. Asset tracking keeps tabs on all of your physical assets – from handheld tools to large tools to vehicles – and ensures you know the location of each company asset at all times. An asset tracking system takes inventory to the next level by keeping you up to date on the who, what, and where of your assets – WHO has WHAT piece of equipment WHERE.

How Does Asset Tracking Technology Work?

So how does it work? First, secure a tracker or label to each asset or tool. Labels can be barcodes/QR codes, RFID tags, or other types of asset tags. Labels are easily secured using a permanent adhesive or small rivets to a location that is simple to find but not likely to wear easily. (We’ll go into more detail on tracker technology options below.)

Now with their own digital identities, each tool is indexed and cataloged in the asset tracking system. Depending on the type of asset tracking solution you choose, employees can check out a tool and update its location by simply scanning the attached barcode label. The tracker allows you to monitor the tool’s location via the asset tracking software. 

Besides location and possession, asset tracking software can also track individual tool information. Asset management software records:

  • Purchase date
  • SKU/Item number
  • Warranty information
  • Tool specifications
  • Care instructions
  • Service notes

Looking for the large air compressor or the small trailer? Wondering when the large trailer had new tires? Instead of making numerous phone calls or sending several emails, you can simply open an app. Asset tracking takes the guesswork out of locating, maintaining, and assigning tools.

Asset Tracking Technology Options

There are many types of asset tracking solutions available. Capabilities like range and data updates vary based on the technology associated with the system. 

Scannable Labels: Barcodes, Asset Tags, QR codes

  • The most common, reliable, and cost effective system
  • Only needs an attached barcode label and a barcode scanner or scanner app
  • Can build a catalog of tools and equipment
  • Easily assign, loan, borrow, and return tools to different field teams
  • Real time updates across multiple devices (laptop, cell phone, iPad, etc.)
  • Allows tool assignment changes in bulk or individually
  • Can log of chain of responsibility for visible tool accountability

Location Based Services: RFID, BLE, NFC, & GPS

  • High range of cost for system/GPS tracking software
  • Requires beacons attached to each tool
  • Varying range of access to location data (some less than 20 meters)
  • Dependent on clear & stable radio frequency, Wi-Fi, or satellite
  • Signals may be blocked by metal or concrete in the room (cabinets, walls, etc.)
  • Reliability compromised by battery life and strength/consistency of signal
  • Inconsistent location broadcasting / real time tracking failure

Benefits of an Asset Tracking System

Though small in size, your tools hold high value. And keeping track of those tools saves you money. Do you know exactly where each of your company’s tools is right now? With a tracking system in place, you’d know where every asset is and with whom. Here’s a look at exactly how this type of solution impacts your bottom line.

Simplified Inventory & Improved Efficiency

  • Keep a verified count of tools
  • Instant access to tool locations
  • Increased independence of field teams (grab & go)

Easy to Locate & Transfer

  • Identify which employee or job site is assigned specific tools
  • Easily change job site or employee tool assignment
  • Up to date location information for all tools

Maintenance Schedule Adherence

  • Keep a record of problems & attempted solutions
  • Access up to date purchase information
  • Maintain warranty information
  • Stay on top of routine maintenance
  • Extend tool lifespan

Improved Security

  • Prevent loss
  • Deter theft
  • Increase accountability among staff

Mobile Asset Tracking For Your Tools

When your inventory includes a lot of small tools, mobile-first small tool tracking solutions make sense. Having a tracking system in place for your tools cuts down problems and costs. Our asset tags and mobile tracking make location and other tool-specific information easily accessible via cell phone, IPad, or other device – from the office or out in the field. Protect your profits and productivity with the ShareMyToolbox asset tracking system. 

Ready to get started? Learn more about ShareMyToolbox, and start your free trial today.