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January 14, 2020 11:01 AM

Asset Tags for Optimal Asset Management

Offices and businesses of all kinds acquire equipment, tools, and other items that are deemed “assets.” And it is imperative that all assets are managed properly. That means owners need to know where the asset is located, when it was last serviced or used, and much more. One simple method for tackling any sort of asset management is through the use of asset tags.

The formal definition of an asset tag makes its function easy to understand. The University of Iowa explains asset tags in this way: “An asset tag is a silver metallic tag (or yellow vinyl replacement label) that is permanently affixed to equipment that serves to identify it for tracking, inventory, and accountability purposes…The corresponding serial and model numbers, if present, are also part of the asset record. A bar code on the tag can be electronically scanned when doing a physical inventory.”

After all, lots of companies will need to circulate tools and other items across departments and even physical locations, and it is not about inventory in the classic sense (i.e. items sold) but about decreasing the risks for loss, misplacement, and theft that makes asset tags so important. Asset tags can be scanned and provide basic details, but can also be part of systems that allow for more dynamic information to be secured.

The Benefits of Well-Designed Asset Tags

It is not necessary to pose the question: Why use asset tags? We already learned they can be a simple and reliable way to eliminate the risks associated with loss and theft. However, there are further benefits gained by those who opt to employ a good system incorporating the use of asset tags, and they include:

  • Easier and more streamlined asset maintenance – The asset tags will have the ability to contain that dynamic data already mentioned. This means custom fields can be associated with scans and that can provide details about repairs, upkeep and full maintenance records of individual assets.
  • Time-savings – Scanning is always faster than key entry and eliminates risks of erred data entry.
  • Easier cross-sharing of assets – Requesting assets, collecting them, returning them, and reporting on them across departments is easier than ever with asset tags.
  • Easier regulatory compliance – Is a certain asset up to date with maintenance, inspections, specific upgrades, and more? With asset tags and custom fields or appropriate software, it is a matter of a single scan or report to determine if an asset is in compliance.
  • Ability to determine depreciation through utilization data – How much and how often was an asset used? How does this affect its depreciation? With asset tags, those answers are easier and faster to determine than ever before.
  • And more – Analytical insight, meeting audit requirements, and savings on resources as well as time can also be part of the benefits of using asset tags.

If you are looking for the “long story short” view of the benefits of asset tags, just think of it as the optimal way to create actionable information or data and then enable your firm to operate in a far nimbler manner. With modern software and systems, you might even retain all of this data to the cloud, dispersing and sharing it with multiple parties.

Devising an Asset Tag Strategy

So, should you use asset tags widely and slap them on everything? No, as that is not the most strategic approach to asset management. It is important to note that the most commonly tagged items are computers and peripherals, office equipment, appliances, machines, tools, equipment, vehicles, and some types of furniture. There are a few questions that you must first ask and answer to determine the ideal asset tag strategy. They are:

  • Which of the company’s assets are used most often?
  • Which have the highest risk of being stolen, misplaced, or somehow lost?
  • Are there any assets that move between locations, departments, or divisions?

You can pose those questions in any order, and it is the items that appear in the answers to two or more that must be integrated into the asset tags strategy. Once identified, you can narrow it down farther and separate assets into categories such as “costly capital investments” or “contains confidential information,” and so on. Doing so is going to ensure that you can protect and track any asset to the fullest degree and enjoy the benefits of using asset tags in the first place.

Answering the questions enables you to define the class or category for the asset, and this makes it easier to create appropriate identification numbers. Information is crucial to the system, and so you’ll want to do a full asset inventory BEFORE beginning the creation of your strategy. You will need to make tags that are scanner and human eye friendly, and you will need to create descriptions that contain full details of all assets.

This would include manufacturers, models, serial numbers, and more. Then you must define what goes on any of the tags. You may find it possible to put unique identifiers, such as prefixes for the department to which that asset belongs or serial numbers and geolocation data. You may put company name and contact information on asset tags, but if the item may be potentially harmful if used against the company, a vendor or manufacturer name and serial number is a better option.

Lastly, the asset tagging strategy needs to include the type of asset tags to be used such as vinyl, metalized polyester, subsurface polyester, surface print aluminum, subsurface print aluminum or a variety of types. Will they be for indoor or outdoor use? Do they need to resist abrasion or high temperatures? Do they have to have room for text and other information?

There is a lot to know about the use of an asset tag strategy, but the good news is that you can create an entirely customized solution to your needs. Get in touch with EXPRESS today and enjoy identification and asset tags made simple and to your specific design needs.