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- Riley Draper
Businesses, especially those that are just starting, sometimes only focus on procuring as many assets as they can. More often than not, these businesses pay little to no mind to the most important aspect of managing these assets, which is asset control or tracking.
Asset control is a great way to ensure you are always on top of any information about your assets. Are you considering adopting an asset control strategy in your business? Here is all you need to know about this key business operation.
What Is Asset Control?
As businesses worldwide evolved and adopted newer technology processes in their operations, so did their need for more effective business solutions to improve their operations. Although the business world has recently enjoyed a growing surge in modern technological solutions, one aspect particularly enjoyed attention is business asset control, also known as asset tracking.
The growing popularity of asset control solutions is no surprise, as the global asset tracking market size reached $16.9 billion in 2021. In its simplest form, asset control or asset tracking is the process by which businesses or organizations keep track of their assets.
Asset tracking offers companies real-time and accurate data on the assets they own, even sometimes offering as much information as how the asset is used. To truly appreciate the benefits of asset control, it is important first to understand what a company’s asset is and what it includes.
Business asset refers to items of value owned by a company. They are those assets available to solve debts or meet other commitments within the company. In business, the two major types of assets are tangible and intangible assets. Intangible assets are valuable assets that cannot be seen or touched.
Tangible assets, on the other hand, are those physical assets that cannot only be seen or touched but also bought and sold. Although intangible business assets are valuable, they cannot be valued or carry a price tag. As a result, only tangible business assets can be controlled or tracked.
Tangible business assets have physical substance and include inventory, rolling stock, equipment, machinery, and furniture. These assets are usually split into two categories, which are inventory and assets. While assets and inventory matter in business, asset control usually focuses on assets.
Asset Control vs. Inventory Tracking
In business, inventory is sometimes confused with assets. This is unsurprising, especially because inventory can usually be sold to generate revenue for the business. Although this might classify inventory as an asset, this is not always the case, as inventory not sold in 12 months becomes a liability.
The major difference between assets and inventory is that inventories offer a more temporary value than assets. While assets offer businesses a value that helps the organization continue managing inventory, inventories offer the business a more ephemeral financial solution when sold.
Regardless, both assets and inventory are tracked in a business. Like asset tracking, inventory tracking is an inventory management process a business uses to monitor the inventory in its possession continuously. However, inventory tracking and asset tracking involve two different processes.
How Does Asset Control Work?
Asset control or tracking usually involves tracking fixed or non-current assets such as real estate and equipment. It is usually done with the ultimate goal of protecting assets while saving time and money.
Years ago, the ideal way a business would have managed or tracked its assets was by recording information about these assets on paper or in asset management software such as spreadsheets. While this was an effective way to account for all the changes on those assets within a business lifecycle, it did not provide the in-depth insight that modern asset control methods offer businesses.
Now, asset control has evolved over the years from the old-fashioned spreadsheet systems companies usually use to track assets remotely. Asset control no longer means a process where employees fill important company asset information in spreadsheet files.
Today, asset tracking involves a streamlined, automated, and usually cloud-based asset management system that does not require hours of manual work. This upgrade of record-keeping in asset management processes has severely reduced the loss, mismanagement, and continuous repair of assets in an organization.
But how exactly does asset control work?
Businesses use asset management solutions as an easy and efficient way to track essential information about all their fixed assets, regardless of their locations. With asset tracking software solutions, companies have easily accessible real-time information about the status of assets, including their real-time location, ownership, and up-to-date maintenance schedules or records.
Essentially, with asset control, businesses can keep track of the following:
- Where an asset is
- How that asset is at a particular period
- How much that asset is worth at the time.
Asset tracking is usually executed by equipping the necessary assets with asset tracking systems such as a GPs tracking system or other options like a barcode scanner and a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag.
Benefits of Asset Control
Assets add value to an organization and play significant roles in keeping the business in operation. As such, it is essential to protect these assets to ensure maximal asset utility and efficiency of business operations.
Keeping accurate records of assets within the organization offers lots of benefits. Some of these include:
1. Improves Accuracy
Asset control ensures that a business knows what assets it has and where these assets are at all times. Assets are vital to the growth of a company, and accurately keeping track of these assets ensures a business knows where it stands at any given point in time.
By knowing what assets it possesses, a business eliminates the need for guesses when putting together its operational strategy.
Asset control using asset tracking software gives a company insight into its assets. With the ability to receive in-depth asset performance, asset downtime, and associated asset maintenance cost and obtain necessary asset-based information, businesses can make data-driven company decisions on their assets.
This enables businesses to run their operations more efficiently and be more productive.
3. Reduce Asset Loss
While conducting daily operations, assets usually move from one hand to another. In many cases, due to mishandling and misinformation, these assets can sometimes get lost or stolen. Without a proper asset-tracking solution, it will be almost impossible to recover these assets.
With asset control or tracking, companies can keep an eye on their assets at all times. By taking a quick look at the information logs, companies can trace an asset’s location quickly and without any problem.
4. Reduces Depreciation
Asset control reduces asset depreciation and increases longevity. It does this by reducing the cumbersome and time-consuming asset maintenance management tracking to a more simplified process that is not only easy to keep track of but also saves time and money.
This way, businesses can quickly identify assets that need repairs or maintenance services, thereby eliminating asset downtime and improving asset management.
Types of Asset Control
There are numerous methods a company might adopt to control or track its assets. However, these methods vary in the depth of information they offer, their efficiency, and their accuracy. When choosing an asset management process for your business’s asset management strategy, it is essential first to understand the various asset tracking methods available.
This will ensure that you choose a method that serves your business’s purpose.
Some of the most popular asset-tracking methods include:
1. Barcode Asset Tracking
In business, barcodes serve several salient purposes. This is why the Global Barcode Scanner Market was valued at USD 7.55 Billion in 2021 and is forecasted to grow to USD 11.85 Billion by 2028. Barcodes, as many people know them, are only ever on the pack of items being bought at a grocery store.
However, barcodes are not only a means of detecting product information but also act as a revolutionary asset-tracking solution in the business world. The barcode or QR code of tracking assets is perhaps the most popular asset tracking method today.
This is unsurprising as it is the first technological method (other than the manual spreadsheet package method) to be used as a reliable asset tracking solution. Barcode asset tracking uses barcode labels to determine information about business assets.
In this asset management process, barcode labels are attached to physical assets, scanned using scanning software, and integrated with an asset tracing software that automatically records information to streamline the records process. Thanks to its execution ease, barcode tracking is an easy and cost-effective asset-tracking solution for small and medium-sized businesses today.
There are different types of barcode labels ranging from 1D barcodes to 2D and Quick Response (QR) codes. Each barcode type varies with capabilities, having strengths and weaknesses that will impact the quality of work in barcode asset tracking processes.
Of all three barcode types, QR codes are mostly used in asset tracking, thanks to their cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency in identifying assets. Although barcodes are great for asset tracking, it is essential to remember they are not entirely risk-free.
Because barcodes are mostly labels, they can be prone to error due to how they are signed on the asset or damages to the label.
2. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Asset Tracking
RFID is a new tracking solution that helps to increase supply chain visibility and efficient asset management. It does this using real-time data logs about tracked or controlled assets. RFIDs are easily described as a technology that uses electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in radio waves to identify a tagged object.
Although RFID comes in different types, the basic RFID setup usually consists of an antenna, a transceiver, and a transponder that interacts with each other to translate waves into useful data. Although RFID is only now becoming a mainstream asset tracking solution that many business sectors embrace, this technology is a fairly old concept that has been developed over the years.
RFIDs were patented about 80 years ago and have since served several use cases in different business sectors, including agriculture (to track livestock), shipping, and even retail sales. RFIDs can be considered a faster version of barcode technology. They work by loading an RFID tag with data, affixing the tag to an asset, and using an RFID reader to scan the asset when necessary.
The RFID reader captures the pulsating radio waves from the tag and reads the data that the RFID tag stores. This data is then collected as information in any integrated asset tracking software. RFIDs as asset management solutions are a great way to minimize human error that comes with asset management, keep adequate track of valuable business assets, protect assets, and reduce asset damage due to loss, theft, or depreciation.
3. GPS Asset Tracking
The Global Positioning System is a utility solution for positioning, navigation, and timing services. Although this means it is often found in mobile devices, cars, and GPS maps, it is also used as a control system to keep track of assets. Unlike barcodes and RFIDs, GPS-based tracking is done by communicating with satellites to disclose the accurate location of an asset.
This makes them ideal for tracking moveable assets, such as vehicles, over a long distance. GPS asset tracking gives businesses a wide vantage point asset insight, especially in fleet management, transport companies, and logistics. This asset tracking solution is usually battery-powered or wired into the moved asset.
GPS trackers come with several features that vary with the type of tracker being used. Regardless, some features many GPS trackers offer include:
- Efficient information reporting
- Real-time tracking notifications
- Asset use history
- Driving behavior alerts
- Asset theft alert
Although GPS trackers for asset control are usually more expensive and unsuitable for indoor tracking, they save cost in the long run, offer better asset security, reduces asset downtime by ensuring an asset is always productive, and provide an opportunity for better asset utilization.
4. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Asset Tracking
BLE is a wireless technology that is used for short-distance data transmission. It was created for low-power IoT devices but is now ideally used as an asset control technology. BLE asset control or tracking systems utilize beacons to track the asset location.
With a built-in battery that usually lasts years without needing to be replaced, BLE beacon tags broadcast a signal that receivers detect and use to read the location of the asset through the BLE tag. There are two major types of BLE asset tracking systems, which are active asset tracking systems and passive asset tracking systems.
Active asset tracking systems are battery-powered BLE trackers that periodically broadcast a signal for the base station in the area to receive, while passive asset tracking systems run on ambient radio waves and tags that reflect a signal for readers to decode.
Compared to other tracking systems, BLE asset tracking systems are less expensive, easy to integrate, manage, and have longer battery life.
5. Near Field Communication (NFC) Asset Tracking
Near-Field Communication is a form of RFID technology. However, unlike RFIDs, NFC offers dual-way communication by transmitting between electronic devices and NFC tags. In NFC tracking, there is no need for scanners, as all information is sent to a mobile device.
Although NFC has quickly been adapted as an asset control technology, it was not always that way. NFC technology was initially used in smartphones to secure payment transactions, exchange digital content, and connect electronic devices within a short range.
In fact, more than 20 percent of the world’s population have access to NFC, with more than two billion NFC-enabled smartphones being used today. NFC offers the advantage of functioning on a cloud-based system. More importantly, they do this without a third-party scanning system, ensuring that information is easily transferred to the cloud system, where it can be quickly accessed.
While this is great, it is essential to remember that NFC asset tracking systems cannot be used over a long distance. Because they only have a few inches of range, NFC is best used as an indoor asset tracking system for small-scale objects like equipment and furniture.
Tips To Track Your Business Asset Successfully
Some tips to help you create a successful asset control or tracking strategy that meets your business needs include:
- Determine the valuable assets you want to track and what data you need to collect while tracking them. This will prevent you from dealing with an overload of useless information that might overshadow the more important data you collect while tracking your assets.
- Always assign unique tracking numbers to prevent distortion in data and confusion in data collection.
- Remember to always track newly-acquired assets instantly.
- Install enterprise asset tracking software.
- Put critical assets first.
- Ensure necessary employees are up-to-date on asset information at all times.
Getting Ahead With Asset Control
Asset control, aka asset tracking, is a systemic approach to making the most out of a company’s valuable assets. With the ability to constantly keep track of everything that goes on with the assets within and outside the organization, companies can make the most out of their assets by maximizing the use of these assets in their business decisions.
Although asset control begins with building a good asset management plan, this plan will not be realizable without the necessary capital to kickstart it. At Coastal Kapital, we understand the need for finance and capital in realizing business goals. This is why we offer different financing options to meet your business needs.
From equipment financing to working capital, business growth funding, and line of credit, our financing solutions are tailored to be fast and easily accessible for you. Are you ready to get started on meeting your business’s financial needs? Fill out our online application form to get started now.If You Like Please Share It: