What is Asset Tracking?
Updated: May 10, 2021
In the world of accounting—and business altogether—everything pertaining to a company reads as an asset or a liability. In general, assets are good for the company, and liabilities are concerns for the company.
An asset is anything that is owned by a company and has an economic value that can be expressed in dollars. For example, consider a DJ company called “All Assets”. Their speakers are assets as they bring a certain dollar worth to the company. Without speakers, “All Assets” would not be able to perform and consequentially generate no revenue. Likewise, if “All Assets” wanted different speakers, they could sell their speakers for money to go towards new speakers. The bottom line, this asset greatly helps the company succeed and do their service.
But what happens if these speakers are stolen? Or what if the speakers are lost? “All Assets” is very famous and performs all over the country, so the speakers can be easily lost during the continuous travel. And like we said, without the speakers, “All Assets” might as well cancel the event. To help prevent this, companies have invested in asset tracking so that DJ’s like “All Assets” can keep all their assets.
Asset Tracking Brief History
Part I- Manual Tracking through Ledgers
Before the evolution of technology, asset tracking would be executed through a person manually writing down an asset ID number into a form and manually writing its location, time, and other company specific details. So, going back to “All Assets”, his speakers would be written down on a form by an employee every time it moved—or in time intervals depending on what “All Assets” preferred.
However, this relied heavily on employee execution, and was constrained to people who have access to the form. While “All Assets” performs nationwide, he does not have employees at each touch point, so sometimes they are transported by external services, who could then lose the speakers and not have it reported. Likewise, if the item were stolen, the stolen speakers could go unreported until the next employee check, which could vary from company to company. Say “All Assets” only had employees fill out their ledger when the speakers were to be moved to their next destination. During down times, or events like COVID-19 which postponed all DJ sets for the past year, the speakers could have been stolen and unreported for months and months. Finally, employees make mistakes all the time, and having every asset tracked through hand-written logging was bound to lead to inaccuracies and lost money.
Part II- Barcode Scanners & the Implementation of Cloud-based tracking
As part of the next evolution of asset tracking, barcode scanners took a big step in diluting employee error. With the development of computers and spreadsheets, the process of asset tracking could be digitized. Now, anyone with a barcode scanner could scan the barcode on each asset and have it log the necessary information on the computer. Asset tracking overall improved a lot due to this increased accuracy. However, in the early stages of barcode readers, the technology was expensive, and required routine maintenance.
New, more recent developments have made the barcode scanning process much more optimized. This included employees being able to scan from their phone and have the information uploaded to the cloud. This minimized the hardware costs and allowed for managers and employees to track their assets from anywhere. Based on the codes scanned, “All Assets” could see their speakers arriving to the event location right from his phone in his hotel room.
The downside to this step in the asset tracking evolution included that it was still bound by personal scanning. Updates on the asset were only logged when employees or affiliated personnel touched the asset and scanned it. Assets could still be stolen and go undetected. Even though “All Assets” saw his speakers at the right venue, when showing up in the morning the speakers were gone and never to be found because it takes a person scanning the device to give the updates.
Part III- GPS Automatic Asset Tracking
The final stage of asset tracking included sticking with what worked from Part II and then solving its issues. Thanks to even more technological innovations, asset tracking has reached the stage where companies can place hardware devices on their assets and have the device automatically report the required information (time, location, landmarks, etc.). Technology like EZ Fleet Tracking’s EZ-660BAT has revolutionized the process of fleet tracking. By utilizing this device, the asset’s required information gest updated by the attached device itself in time intervals (this product reports twice a day) and gives notifications when the device moves out of its assigned location. Now, no human interaction is necessary, and continuous, 24/7 monitoring/tracking takes place. “All Assets” can see his speakers arrived with the night update, and in the morning, he wakes up with a notification on his phone that the speakers are in a new location, and he can see that location too. So, the stolen speakers can be retrieved thanks to the EZ-660BAT.
Another benefit of this progression is that the EZ-660BAT does not require power and sustains harsh weather conditions. The device is battery operated with a four-year battery life, and easy replacement. Now, the connection can never be corrupted by weather or bad service/power outages, ensuring accurate, consistent asset tracking. “All Assets” will never have to worry about his speakers again and save lots of money doing so.
Asset tracking is an essential operation for many types of businesses. From DJ’s like “All Assets” to portable storage companies like “PODS”, to even construction companies, asset tracking helps alleviate the time and stress of lost assets and save vast amounts of money doing so. Devices such as the EZ-660BAT allow for consistent, accurate asset tracking and greatly help companies keep the things that make them great.