Barcoding & Managing Assets | Mr Scanman | The Barcode Experts
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Home Page > Articles > Barcoding & Managing Assets


Managing Business Assets

The management of assets within any organisation is a daunting task.  Annual stock takes are usually performed manually with staff recording, checking and verifying your assets with varying degrees of accuracy.  Lost assets and discrepancies within the asset register can consume countless hours of back tracking and locating the missing items. The goal is to be able to locate all items on the asset register and assign them to the appropriate cost centres.  Barcoding can be a huge aid in reducing this burden and increasing the accuracy of the count.

Asset Labels

The first challenge in managing assets is to apply barcode label to all assets. The primary question is what type of label is required and this will depend on the type of use and where the asset is located.  For example the label material suited to an Operating theatre where harsh cleansers are in constant use will be different to a label for out doors equipment which is different again from a label suitable for identifying office assets:

1. Pre-printed labels If the number of assets is fairly static or if there is a high risk of the label being damaged or removed (eg public schools, industrial applications) then pre-printed labels should be considered.  Many organisations purchase metal labels with an etched barcode that is riveted to the asset or uses a very aggressive glue to deter removal.

2. Label printer – If the number of assets is increasing and the environment is not demanding then a label printer is probably the most cost effective option.  Many organisations print their own paper or polypropylene labels depending as assets are purchased by the organisation.

Barcode Solutions

The primary solution utilised is a batch style portable barcode scanner. It is a device that has a small screen, keypad and inbuilt barcode scanner. As assets are scanned, information (such as quantity & location) is stored within the scanner. Once the stock take is completed in a specific location, the scanner is returned to its primary location. 

The portable scanner is placed into a cradle and the information is uploaded into asset management software or a Microsoft Excel, Access spreadsheet. In many cases the portable scanner is shipped to a site, the stock take is performed and the scanner shipped back to the head office to be uploaded. Note that the portable scanner chosen should be shock resistant

PDA Solutions

Many organisations are turning to PDAs as data collection devices for their asset management requirements. PDAs are computers in their own right and can contain programs that can compliment PC or Unix based Asset Management systems. They can be very cost effective since a wide variety of different software applications can be run on the PDA thus providing a multi-functional capability.

Many PDAs have wireless capabilities with some units supporting both Bluetooth and the WiFi 802.11 wireless LAN standard.  Either using wireless technology or the humble cradle, your asset data  and can be uploaded to your company network or computers for reporting or integration into enterprise systems.

Summary

The questions you should ask yourself are as follows:

  1. What type of labels do you require, how they will be produced and what information do want on the label (eg ID, description of asset)?

  2. What type of information do you wish to collect about your assets (eg. quantity, location, cost centre, depreciated value)?

  3. What software will you choose to manage the asset management information an asset management software package or an Excel spreadsheet?

Managing assets via barcoding is a solution that has a quick payback. Consider the amount of money expended in employee time to reconcile the asset management process.

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