Asset tracking… We’ve all seen it before. Think of the big brown truck that delivers packages across the world or the airlines that transport our baggage; these items can all be tracked using a simple barcode that is scanned at each destination informing us where they started from and where they end up. But what happens when your assets are lost along the way? Or after they arrive, they are moved to another location? What happens when you think your employees are using the company vehicle for personal business? How will you know? As a business owner or manager, you need to know the answers to these questions.
Physical asset tracking is taking on a new meaning with the integration of GPS (Global Positioning System) using barcodes and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. Not only can you track your assets from destination to destination, you can now track where they are at any given time, in real time, within five seconds. This may not seem like a critical technological matter when first thinking about it, but if you think again, you may realize the value of a GPS asset tracker and how it can help reduce theft and prevent loss, among other crucial concerns.
Consider these few scenarios:
- You’re a sales manager for a construction company and you had material delivered to a site for a discount because of the quantity of the sale. How do you know if that material is all being used for the job quoted or if it is being transported to other job sites?
- You work for a moving company and all the items packed and shipped were not delivered. Is this a case of lost items or employee theft?
- You’re an independent business owner and you’re assets are stolen or missing (i.e. employee laptops). How do you prove what happened to these items and how do you find them?
- You’re employees travel using handheld devices and company cars. Are they where they are supposed to be at any given time?
Using graphical mapping, the principle behind any GPS asset tracker is fairly simple. It is a solution that tracks the things that get lost along the way and occasionally disappear after they arrive, taking away from the conventional approach of spreadsheets, pen and paper, or even customized computer programs that make it almost impossible to track, locate and manage your assets. Furthermore, these outdated methods can be altered, lost or destroyed.
Implementing a GPS asset tracker can be relatively inexpensive, although, depending on the size of your business, the initial set up may take some time. Whether you choose a barcode tracking system or an RFID tracking system, the process typically consists of a few basic steps.
- Identify your assets with either barcodes or RFID tags.
- Download information into your computer or handheld device.
- Transfer real time data anytime or any place using a number of different devices, including smartphones (anywhere with an Internet or WiFi connection).
The bottom line is: Barcodes and RFID tags integrated with GPS technology can become a long term solution not only to loss prevention but also to organization, customer communication, employee accountability and unwarranted expenses for replacements. Once employed, GPS asset trackers can save you time and money and create a more efficient environment for both your employees and your customers, along with an overall sense of security that your assets are protected.