The pace of business is such that the process of establishing and maintaining accurate asset inventory documentation often gets pushed aside. In the past, it was easy enough to log new purchases as they were received and note each item’s intended destination. Maintaining accurate location and usage data needed to be done but it often went undone. Too often, this resulted in the businesses purchasing additional, unneeded assets because they were unaware that they already owned some or that not all of those items were in use. Countless businesses have lost laptop computers and other small, portable items simply because they didn’t track them properly. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology combined with asset inventory management software
easily corrects those situations.
Manual asset tracking is time consuming, labor intensive, easy to defer and therefore highly inefficient. RFID technology alleviates the inefficiency of manual asset inventory tracking, allowing the organization to gain greater internal efficiency in other areas. RFID technology and web-based asset inventory management software allow the organization to save as much as 20 percent of its asset-acquisition budget. When existing assets can be found and placed back into service and pilferage can be reduced, there is no need to purchase unnecessary duplicate items.
Active vs. Passive RFID Tracking
RFID asset tracking requires much less time and direct human attention than manual systems, yet produces accurate and efficient results. It also allows location updating that is very nearly automatic. Asset inventory management software can accommodate either passive or active RFID systems. A passive RFID tag is one that does not have a power supply. The location of the item to which it is attached updates when the item passes by a stationary reader or when an employee approaches the item with a handheld reader.
An active RFID tag is one that has a small battery power supply, allowing the tag to reveal the item’s location in real time. A server or desk is unlikely to be moved and simply disappear from asset inventory. Active RFID tracking is invaluable in environments where equipment moves on a continuing basis. Examples include hospitals where equipment moves from patient room to patient room, and educational or training facilities that need to rotate equipment among several classrooms. In every business, laptop computers, projectors and other portable – and expensive – electronic devices are likely candidates for receiving active RFID tags that report their locations on a continual basis.
Return on Investment
The ROI of avoiding unnecessary purchases is clear. Manual tracking requires no dedicated software, but it does require significant labor input. On the other hand, web-based inventory tracking requires significantly less direct labor input and the system is scalable to grow along with the individual business. Whether the business chooses active RFID tracking, passive RFID tracking or a combination of the two, it can be certain that its net cost will be less than manual tracking efforts, in addition to being far more efficient. Avoiding a single unnecessary purchase can pay for all required RFID tags, any portable readers included in the system and the asset inventory software that organizes the information.