Guide to Asset Tagging 101

Posted on June 3 2021

Reading time: 6 minutes

What exactly is asset tagging?

It’s simple, it consists of assigning a unique identifier to physical assets, allowing you to compile all the information concerning the physical assets your organization owns and keep it organized in one place.

different types of asset tagging

But be careful!

There are several types of identification methods that vary depending on the material and the field of work in question.

You can create unique identifiers depending on the setting, whether it be a school, in a company, or in construction.

Tags to identify equipment

Tags can be useful in many areas to identify equipment and are often used to :

  • Managing equipment in businesses
  • Managing equipment on construction sites
  • Managing personal protective equipment in the health and construction industry
  • Managing equipment in schools
  • And much more!

If a company chooses the right labeling method based on the number, value and type of products it holds, it will reap the benefits of the initial time investment.

It will be easier to manage borrowing, upgrades, product replacements and theft risks.

On top of that, it will greatly reduce the amount of time your employees spend tracking all assets manually.

What labels is best for my company?

It is important to know that there are many different types of labels to manage your assets. Over time, tagging techniques have become much more technological.

Writing on a paper label with a pencil and taping the label to the item have long gone out of fashion!

The new methods can handle higher amounts and do so more efficiently. Each labeling model has its advantages and disadvantages.

It is up to the company to determine which type is best for their needs.

It is important to determine which items should be identified and which should not.

In a company, this often comes down to two types of assets:

Strategic assets: These are assets that do not necessarily have a high monetary value, but which, if they are out of stock, can harm the company’s activities.

Value assets: These are assets that you want to track because they have a high monetary value.

barcode and qr code tagging scanner

QR Code and BarCode

This is probably the type of tag you’re most familiar with, as barcodes and QR codes can be found on virtually everything.

Using a mobile device or barcode scanner, you can access all the information on a product in seconds.

The barcode label must be scanned horizontally while QR codes can be scanned from either side.

The major difference between the two types of labels is that QR Codes can be smaller and provide much more information.

Generally speaking, barcodes and QR codes are the most commonly used identification methods in most equipment management software.

The cons?

This type of label cannot be scanned remotely, you must be close to the object at the time of scanning to access its information.

One of the positive points is that QR codes and barcodes are very inexpensive and accessible labeling solutions for companies.

All employees can scan the material from their mobile device, for example. They save a lot of time and are autonomous.

RFID (Radio-Identification) tags

RFID tags are radio frequency chips or labels that send information about a product to a receiver, which then transmits the information to a person.

This type of tag allows a person to access information from multiple devices at the same time, and from a distance.

RFID tags can retrieve much more information than barcode or QR codes tags.

However, this option remains more expensive than the previously mentioned, which is why it is more advantageous when there are several assets of high monetary value in consideration.

Again, it’s all about the company’s needs.

GPS (Global Positioning System)

This type of tag allows your company to track all of its assets around the world in real time. The tags are affixed to the assets, which send their current location to an external server.

This method is one of the most expensive, so companies only use it when dealing with very high value assets.

In addition, while it is possible to track where your assets are in real time, this type of tag will not provide you with any additional information about the product.

So if an item needs to be replaced because it is outdated, you will know where to find it, but you will not know that it needs to be changed.

In general, what should I label?

As mentioned above, labels can be useful in many areas of work. It’s important to determine what does and doesn’t need to be labeled in the assets your company owns based on the organization’s priorities.

The following are examples of equipment that are typically tracked:

  • General business: computer equipment, office furniture, consumables (printer cartridges…)
  • Education: classroom equipment, rooms, audiovisual equipment…
  • Libraries: books, tablets, films, computers…
  • Medical: surgical tools, computer equipment, machines, protective equipment stock…
  • Construction: PPE, rolling stock, tools, consumables..

It is also important to know that it is not advisable to label only moving items, that is, items that can be moved or reserved by people.

Each high-value asset should be identified, not only to prevent theft, but also to allow a new user to obtain information about an asset.

tag to identify high value assets

What information should be found on the label:

  • The name of the company
  • The code
  • A unique numeric or alphanumeric identifier

The unique identifier is crucial to find on a label. It allows you to easily find the information if the code doesn’t work when you look at the scanner.

The information on the labels must be simple and easy to read.

There are several types of materials to produce labels as well.

Again depending on the needs of the business, certain materials may be recommended to promote the quality of the label and the duration of the assets.

We’ll come back to the different types of barcode printers in a future article.

Use Hector to identify your equipment

If you want to better manage your inventory without spending a fortune, using barcode or QR code labeling would likely be the best solution!

Did you know that Hector can help you with this process?

Hector is an inventory management software that allows you to keep track of your assets.

Plus, if you weren’t sure about getting a barcode scanner, there’s one available right from our mobile app!

With just a few clicks, you can avoid typing errors and have a complete inventory!

You will save time and money. Don’t waste any more time!

Start your free trial