Asset Tracking is one of the most important aspects of any business. Knowing the number of items you have in stock & their location allows you to manage your business effectively. And as you guessed, implementing RFID to perform this task, makes things a lot more efficient. That’s why, today we’ll discuss why & how to use RFID for Asset Tracking.
What is Important for Asset Tracking Business?
It refers to having access to the live location of all your assets within the premises of your organisation. In short, it is keeping track of where every item in your inventory is stored. Asset Tracking is a very important aspect of any business. Traditionally, businesses used to manually put in entries of all their items. However, for large industries like warehousing & manufacturing, this can be a time-consuming & difficult task.
Asset Tracking allows a business to retrieve any item they want, during the time of sale without any delay. It also helps in inventory management and helps you know when to replenish your inventory. With the help of asset Tracking, you can identify the points of weakness in your security & reduce stock shrinkage.
Types of RFID Tags
RFID systems come in two forms, depending on the type of RFID tag you are using:
- Passive Tags – These are two types of RFID tags; they operate by using the radio signals coming from an RFID reader to operate. In short, they lack an independent power supply and must rely on the reader to power them up. When they come in contact with the signals from a reader, they use the energy from that signal to broadcast back their information. Due to the weak strength of their signals, passive RFID tags have a small readable range – up to 40 feet.
- Active Tags – These are more advanced than passive tags, they have an internal power supply (battery) they use to broadcast signals. Active tags come in two types – transponder and beacon. Transponder tags only start broadcasting once they receive a signal from a reader. On the other hand, beacons broadcast their signal continuously with or without a reader nearby. Due to this, transponder tags usually have a longer operational lifespan than beacons. Active tags have far longer readable ranges as compared to passive tags, as far as 347 feet.
How Does RFID Streamline Asset Tracking?
The best part about using RFID technology is that it automates a lot of labour-intensive tasks. Traditionally, asset tracking involves manually checking and filling the information of every item in a spreadsheet/database. RFID works on the principle of wireless communication, so a reader will automatically scan & register any RFID tag within its sensor’s range. This automatically records the location and movement of all your assets into your system.
Benefits of Using RFID for Asset Tracking
There are several benefits of implementing RFID in your business for Asset Tracking.
- Cuts Down Costs & Labour Time
Manually tracking assets & inventory management can be a tedious task. Specifically employing people for this purpose will increase your operation cost & will be very time-consuming. RFID integration automates this whole process, thus significantly reducing the cost & labour.
- Good Returns on Investment
RFID also tends to be very cheap to employ, the readers are a one-time investment & the tags are very cheap. This allows businesses of any size to be able to afford to implement RFID technology.
In addition, it is also long-lasting, due to the presence of minimal components. In fact, many businesses can expect a 200% ROI on RFID technology.
- Reduces Stock Shrinkage & Theft
Due to its operating nature, RFID provides you with real-time information on your assets. It also updates your database whenever an item is displaced from its location, sold or leaves the premises. This helps you in improving the security inside your organisation & tells you the exact time & location an item left the premises without authorization. Studies have shown that implementing RFID can reduce Stock Shrinkage by 55% & Theft by up to 77%.
How to Choose the Correct RFID System for Asset Tracking?
RFID is a vastly spread technology with uses in many different sectors. That’s why, there are different types of tags that are suitable for different situations. So, how would you select the best type of RFID system for your business?
Let’s find out:
The primary factor you need to keep in mind is the size of your establishment. Different types of tags have different frequencies and broadcast strengths, giving them different ranges. For small to medium size retail stores, you can choose Ultra-High Frequency Passive RFID Tags. They generally have a range of 30 – 45 feet. However, in warehouses or the manufacturing sector, it is best to employ active RFID tags, as they can have a range north of 100 meters. In big environments, you may also have to strategically use multiple RFID readers.
RFID applications also depend heavily on the durability of a tag. RFID is usually immune to most problems like dust, rust, scratches, etc. They can sustain physical & water damage. So, RFID manufacturers design special tags that are going to be used in such environments.
Value of Assets/Items
Cost analysis is something that you must always keep in mind while running a business. The value of your assets also determines the type of tags you should use. Active tags cost more & have a shorter lifespan than passive tags. So, even after their obvious advantage over passive tags, it is not always the best option to use active tags. For an item of high value like automobile parts and jewellery, it’s a good idea to use active tags. However, for low-value items, you can choose passive RFID tags.
One of the rare issues with RFID is metal surfaces & liquid. Due to the nature of how RFID technology works, metal surfaces & liquids can result in signal disruption and detuning. To counter this problem, you can use specially designed mount on-metal RFID tags, or tags that operate at low-frequency ranges.
- Last updated on Mar 30, 2023