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Running a Barcode Asset Program

Barcode Asset Tracking Quick Links:  
  Track My Assets
  Why Use An Asset Tracking System?
  How Do I Get Started With Asset Tracking?

Running a Barcode Asset Program

If you have preloaded location data - If you had location data on your Asset Master List, your system is now set up. All you have to do is log assets to locations or individuals when they're taken from your storeroom(s). You have to institute work practices to make sure that nothing is ever added or moved within the asset tracking system without logging the transaction in the system first.

Many companies already have, or set up a "choke-point" that the assets must pass through before they get checked in or out. This is the logical place to locate the desktop PC with attached barcode scanner to log those transactions. This would also be the place where new assets are entered into the system. A barcode will be generated and attached, and the asset will be stocked somewhere on shelving in the storage area.Scan Asset Inventory Barcode on Rack

If you have no location data - If you have no location data from your asset Master List, you'll have to do an initial asset inventory. This is where a portable barcode scanner is invaluable. You enter the location, and scan the assets in that location, adding description data to each. Then you bring back the scanner and download it to the PC, uploading the data into the asset tracking software. As you go through the process, you can run reports about assets that are in the asset tracking system, but that you haven't "found" locations for yet. Hopefully, as you progress, you gather enough data that this list will be very small. You can then put out an APB on those assets, before you drop (scrap) them from the system. The logical place to start this inventory is in the store room (s) for the assets. That way, you can log all the transactions of equipment going out from and going in to the storeroom.

Discipline with Barcode Asset InventoryBe disciplined in your approach - Once you "go live" with your asset tracking system, make sure you're disciplined in your approach in how you run it. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Log all transactions - If you allow assets to be moved and checked in and out without logging them in the asset tracking system, you'll invalidate the data in the database. Reports won't be accurate. This part is the most important part of running an asset tracking system.
  • Make sure all equipment, locations and employees have a readable barcode - This part is obvious. If you can't read the barcodes, you can't leverage the speed and accuracy of data entry. Replace barcodes when they become worn.
  • Establish a Company Wide Asset Policy - Have rules and policies regarding the movement of location based assets within the company. Let employees know about the asset tracking system and the need to have accountability for company property. Have a policy about employee based assets that are lost, stolen or misplaced.
  • Designate a Responsible Person or Group - Since the transaction data (movement of assets) is so important to the integrity of the data in the asset tracking system, make sure there is a person or group within the company given the responsibility and authority to enforce the requirement of logging new assets and location changes into the asset tracking system. Remember, the asset tracking system data will only be accurate if your consistent and accurate in logging changes.Scan Barcode Asset Tag on Printer
  • Verify Asset Tracking System Data by Conducting a Full Asset Inventories or Periodic Random Audits - It's logical to assume that some of your location based assets will move around over time. Office locations change, conference rooms are re-organized, etc. You have 2 choices to update the asset tracking system:

o       Full Asset Inventory -A full asset inventory assures that your asset tracking system is up to date. Most companies schedule these inventories to coincide with the end of the year materials inventory. Your portable barcode scanner will be invaluable in doing this, allowing you to inventory over 100 assets per hour. It's recommended that you do this at least once a year.

o       Periodic Location Audits - Similar to the material inventory cycle-count, a periodic location audit of assets in a selected location is a good way to "spot check" the accuracy of the data in the asset tracking system. We recommend doing location audits at least once per quarter, preferably once each month.

So that's an explanation of what asset tracking systems are, how you get started, and how you run the system once its set up. We hope this article has been helpful for you. Let us know if you have any questions. We'll be glad to help.