If you’ve spent any time looking at asset tracking systems, you know that there are a lot of options. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t let the bells and whistles distract you! There are specific features you should be looking for. Every asset tracking system, whether barcode- or RFID-based or both, should do these nine things:
1. Print and Encode Labels
RFID tags and barcode labels are the backbone of any asset tracking system. At times, you will need to tag new items or replace lost or worn labels. Keeping track of your assets is cheaper and easier when you can create your own tags. Without integrated printing and encoding capabilities, you’ll need to buy additional third-party software.
2. Support Mobile Devices
A system that supports mobile devices offers many flexible options. Mobile readers offer a variety of possibilities. They can work with Apple or Android products and can be customized to suit the environment where they will be used. If you’ll be tracking assets outdoors, you’ll probably want a more rugged device than one you’d use indoors. Mobile readers are easy to use and can go anywhere. This makes them a top choice for physical inventories.
3. Offer Role-Based User Security
One way to keep your assets secure is to limit access to them. Role-based user security lets you restrict who has access to information, location details and, ultimately, your assets. You can set profiles by role or job title so that employees can only access the data that is relevant to their needs. You can also log historical data by receiving a date and time stamp each time someone accesses your system. Secure access will help you prevent errors, track where errors are introduced, and limit liability.
4. Have a Smart Central Database
All of the data gathered by an asset tracking system is stored in a central database. Think of this as a giant collection bin of raw data. You can access data directly from the database, but not all of the data stored here is relevant to everyone in your organization. This can make it hard to navigate. Smart asset tracking software will let you pull data from the central database into a filtered, user-friendly format each time a you generate a report.
This is the bridge between the central database and your existing accounting system. Without the import/export feature, you’d have to manually enter data from your mobile readers into your own spreadsheets! The import/export feature does that work for you. Examples of what you can do include:
- Compile Excel spreadsheets and add that data to the information compiled through your RFID system
- Add the data you collect to existing Excel spreadsheets
- Combine multiple filters to export data that is relevant to specific functions
- Build templates from your own data
6. Asset Tracking Systems and Reporting
When you generate a report, you request specific information from the central database. The reporting feature allows you to filter that data in multiple ways to find exactly what you’re looking for. You can track the location, use patterns, and condition of assets in a number of ways, such as by department, location or employee.
7. Update Asset Details
Remember the days of the GPS dashboard system? They were loaded with static street maps from a specific point in time and couldn’t recognize new roads. These systems were outdated almost as soon as they were created. Being able to update your tracking software to account for new data and changes is critical to staying on track with your assets. With this feature, you can add or change asset information. You can also integrate data from other systems, including existing barcodes.
8. Take Physical Inventories
You can update information in your asset tracking software, but just adding or editing data doesn’t mean it’s true and accurate. Taking inventory of your assets is an important part of tracking your assets. This process validates your data to be sure that things are where you expect them to be, in the condition they’re supposed to be.
9. Calculate Depreciation
The ultimate goal of asset tracking software is to make financial accounting more accurate and efficient. You definitely want to know how much your company’s assets are worth and how fast they are losing value. Asset tracking software can be set up to automatically calculate and track depreciation. This feature can save you valuable time and resources.
Knowing the basic features to look for will help you stay focused on what’s important, but don’t stop there. Look closely at the user interface and the reporting filters. Get a good feel for the software and make sure it will be easy to use. A good solutions provider should be able to guide you through this process.
Are you actively searching for an asset tracking solution, or still in the early stages of learning more about what they can offer? We can help! Contact us today.