What is RFID Asset Tracking?
Assets are objects that are owned by a company or facility that have value and are typically kept throughout their lifespan. Keeping track of and managing these assets can be accomplished with the use of RFID technology. With no tracking or management system in place, assets can be lost, stolen, or fall into disrepair, leading to wasted money and time spent finding or replacing them.
Attaching RFID tags to assets and capturing data throughout a facility can help companies track and manage the asset’s location with different levels of granularity. If an asset is misplaced, it’s last location can be found from recorded data and the asset’s unique ID can be searched for via a handheld RFID reader.
If this is your first time learning about RFID, or if you need a refresher, checkout our Beginner’s Guide to RFID.
Examples of Assets
Laptops, Servers, Phones, Monitors
Drill, Hammer, Chainsaw, Mallet
Excavator, Fluid Pumps, Welding Guns, Floor Buffers
Tubs, Bins, Racks, Trays
Patient Files, Car Titles, Deeds, Research Documents
Lighting, Furniture, PPE
What is an Asset?
Assets are items that a company purchases that must be replaced if they are lost or stolen. Assets typically stay with a company for the lifespan of the asset. These assets are investments for a company that directly affect the bottom line.
Why Do Companies Need Asset Tracking?
Because assets are investments for a company, it is important to get as much use as possible out of each asset. If these assets are tracked within a facility using an RFID system, they can be properly managed to prevent being lost, stolen, or even prematurely replaced. If specific individuals or other companies are responsible for lost assets, they can be properly billed for these assets.
Which Industries Track Assets?
Most companies across all industries have some types of assets. Here are a few different breakdowns by industry.
|Industry||Company Type||Examples of Companies||Example Asset||Asset Replacement Costs|
$100k – 150k
Brasfield & Gorrie, Wyatt
$300 – 8k
Fidelity Investments, Vanguard
$1k – 3k
Corrugated Plastic Mail Totes
$4 - 20
ACIPCO, Vallourec Star
Reusable, Mobile Pipe Racks
$500 – 1k
The chart above shows just one example per industry of an asset and it’s estimated replacement cost. Even less expensive assets, like Corrugated Plastic Mail Totes above, have replacement costs that add up over time.
For example, between 2011 and 2013, a nationwide effort was made by the US Post Office to encourage customers to return Mail Totes, called “Flat Tubs”, after a study was conducted showing that over $50 million per year is spent in replacement costs.
If each tub is priced at $4, that’s a loss of 12.5 million tubs per year. If the same amount per year were to be spent in replacement costs in the Railway Industry, that would equate to about 333 railcars.
These are two vastly different priced assets, but this shows that, no matter how much an asset costs, the key is to understand how much a company is losing per week, month, or year replacing these assets and how those costs are affecting their bottom line.
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At What Point is an Asset ‘Not Valuable Enough’ To Track?
The answer will vary from industry to industry and company to company, but a good rule of thumb is not to tag and track an asset if the RFID tag is more valuable than the object itself. An asset’s value is does not always correlate directly with the price of its base components. Some assets might cost little to nothing but could be extremely value to a company (e.g. legal files), which is important to consider.
Want to Read More about RFID Asset Tracking?
Check out these articles:
- Solving Asset Tracking Problems with RFID
- RFID Asset Tracking & Maintenance in Dangerous Environments
- A Guide to Asset Management
- Auburn RFID Lab - Part 3: RFID Portals in the Warehouse
- 5 Examples of RFID Asset Tracking
- What You Need to Know About Smart Shelving Units
What are some Examples of Asset Tracking/Management Applications?
Below are the most popular asset tracking and management applications using RFID, click on one to learn more.
- File Tracking - Easily find and manage individual files to prevent the loss of important data.
- Hospital Asset Tracking – track and manage wheelchairs, IV pumps, and monitoring equipment.
- IT Asset Tracking - Track and manage corporate-owned IT asset assets within a building or warehouse.
- Laundry & Textile Tracking - Track and manage company-owned textiles that are rented or used and then returned like curtains, sheets, and clothing or costumes.
- Returnable Transit Items - Keep track of reusable shipping assets in order to request asset returns or collect payment on lost assets.
- Transportation Asset Management - Keep and manage data on individual assets relating to transportation.
- Tool Tracking - Manage and maintain an inventory of tools in a cabinet or tool room, or on the go.
Learn More with These Top Asset Management Articles
- 3 Reasons Your Company Needs an RFID File Tracking System
- What Should I Know About File Management?
- RFID File Tracking: Handheld Readers vs. Fixed Readers
Hospital Asset Tracking
- Why RFID in Healthcare is More Important Than Ever Due to Pandemics (COVID-19)
- 7 Things You Can Track in Hospitals Using RFID
- RFID in Healthcare: 8 Questions for the Development Process
IT Asset Tracking
- RFID IT Asset Management - The Goals of ITAM
- Top 10 Benefits of IT Asset Management and Data Security with RFID
- IT Asset Tracking - How Does it Help You?
Laundry & Textile Tracking
- Benefits of Managing Your Textile Rental Stock with RFID
- RFID Laundry Tags - Attachment and Use
- 3 Industries That Are Tracking Their Laundry with RFID
- What Can RFID Laundry Tracking Do For You?
Returnable Transit Items
Transportation Asset Management
Laundry & Textile Tracking
Transportation Asset Management
Library Asset Management
Hospital Inventory Control
Luxury Inventory Tracking
Logistics & SCM
Vehicle Inventory Management