Keeping track of expensive equipment and mobile assets in an efficient manner is one of the most complex challenges faced by large companies. Without a reliable inventory management system in place, both labor costs and carrying charges can go through the roof. Not to mention, the companies will incur huge losses if the valuable equipment and vehicles are misplaced. Whether you are running a transportation business or a construction fleet company, a sophisticated inventory management solution is needed to monitor and protect your assets.
Traditionally, the identification, tracking, and monitoring of mobile assets have been labor-intensive. This makes the process very time-consuming and prone to human errors. So, how can you overcome the limitations of conventional inventory management? RFID tags are the answer.
What are RFID tags?
The acronym RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and use radio frequencies to transmit data between the tags and a reading device.
Imagine walking up to your department store, picking up the items you need and simply walking out. Sounds a little like shoplifting, right? However, in a store equipped with RFID tags, this scenario is perfectly normal. The RFID tags placed in the store will automatically identify the items you pick up and send the identification data such as item number, cost, quantity, etc., to a reading device. The reading device will, in turn, transmit the information to the EPOS (electronic point of sale) system and the amount will be automatically deducted from your credit card.
RFID tags and asset tracking
As mentioned earlier, conventional asset tracking involves human intervention at every level and that leads to discrepancies, delays, and redundancies. So, instead of having a dozen staff scan bar-codes at innumerable points within your company, consider switching over to the RFID-based inventory management system.
How RFID-based asset tracking works?
The hardware: A RFID tracking unit consists of a microchip, an antenna, and a very small battery. These three components are fabricated on a single plastic substrate using VLSI fabrication techniques. The RFID tags can be attached to vehicles and valuable equipment quite easily. You can also track your field staff by fitting their ID cards with RFID chips.
When it comes to the tracking mechanism, these chips come with a few bytes of memory that contain data such as unique ID number or item number. The built-in antenna transmits this data to the readers placed at various points in your enterprise. So, every time a RFID reader detects a tag, it will indicate the presence of your asset in that particular area where the reader is present. That’s the working mechanism behind the hardware part of RFID-based inventory management.
The Inventory management software: The purpose of the software is to display the tracking data collected by the RFID tags and readers in a meaningful, user-friendly manner. The RFID-based inventory management software will act as a central hub, which will allow you or your managers to view the location of your assets and crewmembers round the clock.
In addition, you can also program the software to send customized notifications through email/text when your equipment or vehicles are misplaced, or used without proper authorization. Besides, you can run detailed reports to analyze the movements, location and after-hours usage of your valuable assets.
Features and benefits of RFID-based inventory management
RFID-based inventory control system holds tremendous potential for improving the productivity of your business. You can completely do away with the process of scanning barcodes; thereby reducing labor costs by 30% on an average. In addition to this, RFID technology offers a plethora of benefits.
• Cutting your losses – RFID technology will let you know if equipment, a vehicle or a valuable asset has been left behind. Further, the system will also pinpoint the location of the misplaced object so you can retrieve the item before it’s lost or stolen.
• Better inventory control With the help of RFID-based inventory management, you will have total control over your assets. The reports and alerts generated by the system will help you analyze how your equipment is being used. Thus, you can curb down incidents of unauthorized use and after hours usage.
• A complete picture of your business – Through the RFID-based system, you will able to monitor your drivers and know which drivers are associated with certain assets and worksites.
• Easy dispatch – You can simplify and speed up your dispatch process by pulling up the proximity data obtained through the RFID system. Assign drivers that are nearest to your assets to reduce the dispatch time.
It’s clear that RFID-based inventory management system can go a long way in improving the visibility of your assets, reducing labor costs and preventing loss of valuable equipment. So, avoid the traditional scan code based system, which is inherently slow and error-prone due to human intervention at every stage. Choose a cutting edge RFID-based inventory management solution and take your business to the next level.