What is Asset Tracking?
Whether you have deadlines to meet, patients to treat or competition to beat, an asset tracking system is there to make sure your business operates as effectively as possible. How? By doing exactly what it says on the tin.
So what is asset tracking? Asset tracking is an incredibly handy system that helps your company cut down the time employees waste looking for tools and equipment. Clever hardware and software work together to track your item, so you can find out in which room, cupboard, or building site a particular asset is being used or stored.
It’s a versatile system that can easily be adapted to suit different industries. In fact, asset tracking is the kind of system that would benefit any company on some kind of scale. It’s just a question of whether it’s worth the investment. And when time is money, we’re pretty sure it is.
Why Should You Invest in Asset Tracking?
Locate tools and equipment
Asset tracking is all about finding out where your tools and equipment are in the quickest time possible. Whether you’re looking for an automated way to sign tools in and out of the tool store, or you want to keep an eye on the distribution of medical equipment across hospital wards, there’s an asset tracking system that can help.
Cut down on costs
How many times have you bought or rented equipment when you haven’t needed to? An asset tracking system will help you to avoid unnecessary expenditure, because you’ll always know for sure whether a tool is available or not.
And when you know exactly how many assets you have available at a specific time, you’ll be able to bid on, and commit to, projects quicker, beating the competition.
Access tool and equipment data from anywhere
An asset tracking system will enable you to bring up the location of a tool or a piece of equipment within a matter of seconds.
But that’s not the only information you’ll be able to see. You’ll also be able to store service certificates, part replacement dates and information on tool condition, so you’ll have all the details you need to run your business effectively.
With all that information at your fingertips, you’ll be able to see just how much your tools are costing your business.
Access tool information from anywhere
All of the information collected by your asset tracking hardware will automatically transfer across to the software, which you’ll have downloaded on your office computer or cell phone. This means you’ll be able to access your tool data from anywhere, whether you’re on site or sunning it up on vacation.
You leave a lot of equipment onsite overnight. So how do you know that someone isn’t going to sneak in and steal it after dark? You don’t. Except, with asset tracking technology, you’ll receive an instant alert if one of your tools or pieces of equipment happens to cross your site boundary. This means you’ll be able to inform the police straight away and avoid that tool straying too far.
What are the Main Types of Asset Tracking?
There are three main types of asset tracking. These are:
- Barcode scanning
- RFID tracking
- GPS tracking
Barcode scanning is usually the cheapest form of asset tracking. It literally involves placing a barcode on the tool or piece of equipment, then scanning that barcode to sign the piece of equipment in and out.
The great thing about barcode scanning is that employees can often use their mobile phone as the barcode scanner, thanks to a range of barcode scanning apps available.
RFID scanning is very similar to barcode scanning, aside from the fact that it uses radio frequency, rather than laser, to register whether equipment is present or not.
There are three types of RFID scanning. Passive RFID scanning is the most popular, because the tags used don’t require their own power source. They can come in the form of rigid stickers or tags, making them super easy to attach to any piece of equipment.
GPS tracking is for the big guns – the machinery on wheels that’s regularly taken out on site. We’re talking diggers, forklifts and cement mixers. All of these ‘vehicles’ are fitted with a tiny GPS tracker, which is detected by the asset tracking system via cell phone signal. This GPS tracker can also collect engine runtime data, helping you to assess usage and wear and tear.
What are the Benefits of Investing in Asset Tracking?
With an asset tracking system assisting you with all of the above, these are the positive differences you’ll be able to see in your business:
- Increase productivity – Less time looking for tools and equipment and more time getting things done!
- Improve customer service – Keep to deadlines, tend to patients quicker
- Make asset audits easy – All the information is already there on system, you’ve just got to draw it out
- Peace of mind – Avoid legal cases due to dodgy equipment and be confident that everything is where it should be!
Who Uses Asset Tracking?
The answer is: any business where the use and handing out of assets make up a large part of the operation. This could be a construction company that uses a large number of assets everyday, or an IT company that lends equipment to staff or other businesses. Here’s a selection of the main businesses that benefit from an asset tracking system:
- Construction companies
- Agricultural businesses
- Drilling companies
- Oil and gas companies
- Healthcare establishments
Ghilotti Bros is a hugely prominent construction company that required an asset tracking system to keep track of generators, trailers and other tools.
Samsara is one of Canada’s largest asset tracking suppliers. Ghilotti Bros partnered with Samsara to come up with a large-scale tailored asset tracking solution.
The main element of the solution was the installation of an asset gateway – a piece of software that harnesses data from asset tracking hardware, enabling site managers to locate valuable tools in just a few clicks on the computer.
In addition to the asset gateway, Samsara set up a geofencing system, which automatically sounds an alarm if a marked asset goes beyond the geofenced boundary without permission.
As a result of this streamlined system, Ghilotti Bros has reported a decrease in wasted man hours, an increase in efficiency, and more confidence in its security system.
Asset Tracking Suppliers in Canada
The best asset tracking suppliers will be able to create a tailored system for you, designed around your business’ unique requirements.
Here are the top three asset tracking suppliers in Canada:
- Asset Panda
- Seton (AssetGuard Pro)
Samsara’s system has been designed for your big assets – we’re talking mixers, diggers, and forklift trucks. Samsara provides you with GPS tags which attach to the diagnostics of your vehicles, and as long as there’s a cell phone connection, they’ll emit a signal.
They also send vital engine data back to your software database, so you can keep tabs on your asset’s condition. Samsara offers bespoke pricing, which means the total cost of your asset tracking software will depend on what you need.
Asset Panda’s asset tracking system is a very clever bit of kit, headed up by a very sophisticated piece of software. It offers a price per asset subscription, meaning you'll only pay for exactly what you need.
Asset Panda’s system is more for keeping track of fixed assets – ones that require a barcode sticker or an RFID tag. And thanks to their app, you can keep an eye on these assets from your mobile phone.
Seton (AssetGuard Pro)
Investing in an asset tracking system is all about improving the way you run your business. Naturally, when processes improve, so does business. This is why investing in a scalable asset tracking system is important, especially for smaller businesses. Seton’s asset tracking software is available in three subscription levels, so you’re never paying out more than you need to.
Asset Tracking Pricing
Asset tracking is a tailored solution, which means it’s impossible to pinpoint a price. It’s not going to be cheap, but quotes are usually fully inclusive and provide you with a cost for:
- Implementation and training
- Access and support
The most important aspect to consider is your return on investment (ROI). Luckily, asset tracking companies such as Samsara have an online ROI calculator, so you can gauge just how valuable asset tracking will be to your company.
We’ve made it really easy for you to find out how much an asset tracking system will cost your business. All you need to do is fill in our short form with a few details, and the best suppliers for your requirements will be in touch.