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Key Takeaway

  • Asset tags are identification labels which are attached to physical assets in an organization. They are a foundational component of effective asset tracking and management systems, enabling organizations to accurately record, monitor and maintain control over their valuable assets. 
  • Asset tags are an integral part of effective asset management for companies of all sizes. By attaching asset tags, organizations can easily catalog their valuable items, streamline maintenance and repair workflows, and prevent loss or theft.

    Understanding the different types of asset tags and their key benefits is crucial for any organization seeking to gain greater visibility and control over its critical resources. This article will provide an in-depth overview of asset tags, explaining what they are, how they work, and why they are an essential component of modern enterprise asset management.

    What is an Asset Tag?

    Asset tags are identification tags attached to assets. These small, durable labels contain unique identifiers that allow businesses to track and monitor their physical assets, from computers and equipment to furniture and vehicles.

    Asset Tags are attached to both movable and fixed assets for useful life identification, inventory control, “work-in-process” (WIP) and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS tagging).

    Assets are defined as physical property, and fall into two primary categories:

    • Fixed assets – Also known as infrastructure assets, fixed assets may include road signs, bridges, tunnels, water and sewer systems, dams and lighting systems, land, buildings, equipment, and machinery that is attached to a building.
    • Moveable assets – Moveable assets refers to physical property, such as furniture or equipment, which are not part of or attached to a building. Moveable assets also includes commonly moved business items, such as computers and printers.

    What is Asset Tagging?

    Asset tagging is the process of affixing unique identification labels or tags to an organization’s physical assets, such as equipment, machinery, vehicles, IT assets, and other valuable items. These asset tags typically contain a barcode, QR code, RFID tag, or serial number that serves as a unique identifier linked to that specific asset in an asset tracking system.

    The primary purpose of asset tagging is to enable organizations to track and manage their assets effectively throughout their entire lifecycle. By assigning a unique ID to each asset, companies can:

    • Monitor the real-time location and movement of assets across facilities
    • Maintain comprehensive maintenance and repair histories for each item
    • Prevent loss, theft, and unauthorized use of assets (Job site theft costs the construction industry $1 billion annually. This can be avoided by employing asset tagging to track equipment locations)
    • Calculate accurate depreciation values for accounting and tax purposes
    • Streamline asset audits and inventory management processes

    Asset tagging is a crucial component of modern enterprise asset management strategies, providing organizations with greater visibility, control, and accountability over their critical physical resources. The tags themselves can be customized with additional information such as asset descriptions, purchase dates, and condition status, further enhancing the asset tracking capabilities.

    Fixed asset management with asset tags

    Benefits of Asset Tags

    Asset tags offer a multitude of benefits to businesses and organizations spanning every industry. Asset tags are the foundational component of effective asset tracking systems, enabling organizations to accurately record and monitor moveable assets as they move throughout an organization.

    Fixed asset tags are useful for automating documentation and collecting valuable data regarding asset utilization, automating routine maintenance, and tracking repairs.

    For moveable assets, asset ID tags are a valuable tool in loss prevention. Assets shared among departments or those that frequently flow throughout an organization are often easily lost and, sometimes, stolen.

    The use of asset tags with built-in security features, such as tamper-evident asset tags, enable organizations to keep tighter control over assets that are rarely ever in the same location and provide a deterrent to theft of high-value assets.

    Asset Tag BenefitsDescription
    Automate DocumentationAsset tags enable automated collection of data regarding asset utilization, maintenance schedules, and repairs.
    Loss PreventionFor movable assets, asset ID tags help prevent loss and theft, especially for assets shared across departments or locations.
    Streamline MaintenanceAsset tags allow organizations to streamline maintenance and repair workflows by tracking asset histories.
    Inventory ControlAsset tags facilitate easy cataloging and tracking of an organization’s valuable physical assets.
    Regulatory ComplianceIn certain industries, asset tagging may be required to meet regulations around asset identification and tracking.
    Security FeaturesTamper-evident asset tags provide deterrence against theft of high-value assets that frequently change locations.

    Uses for Asset Tags

    Asset tags and asset tag labels enable organizations in a variety of industries to track and monitor valuable assets. Below are a few of the industries in which asset tags are commonly used as part of a larger asset management initiative.

    • Healthcare: In hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings, asset tags are used to track valuable medical and scientific equipment. Asset tags enable healthcare providers to provide efficient and cost-effective patient care. asset tags and barcode labels
    • Education: From audio-visual equipment to computers, educational institutions have a variety of assets that can be tracked and monitored with asset tags.
    • Government: Government agencies rely on asset tags to track, map, and monitor both fixed and moveable assets, ranging from office equipment to outdoor street signs.
    • Warehouse: The warehouse industry relies on valuable equipment and machinery to transport products from location to location. Asset tags or inventory tags prove beneficial for streamlining workflows and providing better inventory control.
    • Defense: The defense industry has very specific guidelines and regulations concerning the proper asset identification. Asset tags specially designed for these uses meet current guidelines and regulatory requirements.
    • Oil and Gas: Asset tags are valuable tools for automating the work of LDAR technicians, in addition to reducing compliance risk by reducing or eliminating the errors resulting from manual data collection.
    • Utility: Utility companies benefit from specially designed asset tags capable of withstanding the harsh outdoor elements, enabling organizations to more easily identify, locate, and rectify service disruptions, in addition to streamlining routine maintenance operations.
    • Telecom and Cable: Telecommunications and cable companies, much like utility companies, serve broad regions through a variety of assets placed strategically throughout a service area. Asset tags enable telecom and cable companies to effectively map assets, manage ongoing maintenance, and streamline service delivery to consumers.
    • Manufacturing: Manufacturing environments rely on heavy-duty equipment and machinery that requires ongoing maintenance and repairs. The manufacturing industry requires asset tags that are durable enough to withstand the harsh environments that exist within the manufacturing field, providing readability throughout the lifespan of these expensive assets.

    Asset Tag Types and Examples 

    There are a multitude of types of asset tags, many designed for use in specific applications requiring superior durability or other features, such as tamper evidence to deter theft or unauthorized transfer. Asset tags include industry-specific asset tags, such as

    Other examples of types of asset tags include:

    These examples represent just a few of the many types of asset tags available to meet a variety of application-specific requirements. The variety of specially designed asset tracking tags available enables businesses to design a customized and comprehensive asset tag solution meeting application-specific requirements throughout the entire organization.

    Frequently Asked Questions

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