The barcode system was gaining commercial popularity since the first official UPC barcode was ever scanned to sell a retail item on June 26, 1974. But barcodes have been in use since long before. A linear barcode was first used in the 1960s to label railroad cars. The American Railroad Association sponsored this project, and Sylvania built the KarTrak ACI (Automatic Car Identification) system.
The use of barcodes has revolutionized various business operations like tracking and management systems, helping them to improve data accuracy, enhance customer experience, and accelerate inventory management.
With the advancement of technology like asset tagging and barcode-based tracking and management systems, the use of barcode labels and scanners has also grown. GS1 claims that more than 1 billion items have a GS1 barcode, and more than 10 billion barcodes are scanned every single day.
A Barcode-based Asset Tracking and Management System
A barcode- based asset tracking and management system is an easy-to-use and cost-effective software solution for various business operations, like tracking and managing assets. It is designed to efficiently monitor, control, and organize an organization's assets through the use of barcodes.
Barcodes are a series of parallel lines or two-dimensional patterns that can be scanned by a barcode reader. It is printed on a substrate/label to form a barcode label. Barcode labels are available in a variety of forms, from 1D barcodes to 2D barcodes such as Data Matrix and Quick Response (QR) codes.
How does the Barcode Asset Tracking and Management System Work?
The barcode system uses a combination of barcodes, scanning devices, and centralized tracking and management software to streamline asset management processes.
Let’s discuss a step-by-step explanation of how an asset tracking and management system based on barcode works:
1. Barcode Tagging: Each physical asset is assigned a unique identifier in the form of a barcode label, which is then attached or affixed to the asset. The barcode contains alphanumeric characters or numeric codes that uniquely identify the asset.
2. Barcode Scanning: To track an asset, a barcode scanner is used to scan the barcode on the asset’s label. The scanning process captures the unique identifiers encoded in the barcode. The scanned data is sent to centralized tracking and management software.
3. Tracking and Management System Software: A centralized asset management system acts as a central system to manage all asset-related data. This system contains a record for each asset, storing information such as the asset's description, location, acquisition date, maintenance history, and any other relevant details. As assets move or undergo changes in status, it provides real-time updates to the database. For example, if an asset is relocated, the system records the new location, ensuring that the information remains accurate and current.
4. Reports generation: A centralized asset management system provides tools for generating reports and analytics based on the data collected by barcode. These reports offer insights into asset utilization, which help users analyze trends and make informed decisions about asset management and resource allocation.
Benefits of the Barcode-based Asset Tracking and Management System
Barcode-based tracking and management of assets offer various benefits to an organization with the rise of tagging technology and software solutions. Since barcodes can be used in various industries that provide a variety of management processes, such as travel, advertisement, healthcare, retail, and warehouses, the opportunities are endless.
Here are some key advantages:
1. Cost-effective asset tracking: Barcode-based asset tracking reduces manual interventions, which reduces the chances of errors. It optimizes the workflow by maintaining a record of assets, which helps in better utilization of resources and contributes to overall cost-effectiveness.
2. Efficient Asset Tracking and Management: Barcode-based asset tracking helps in quick and accurate identification of assets. Scanning of assets through a barcode scanner speeds up data entry, reducing the overall time and effort required to track an asset manually.
3. Enhanced Real-time visibility of assets: The barcode asset tracking and management system provides real-time updates on the location and status of assets. This real-time visibility of assets optimizes the workflow and other required business operations, like decision-making, according to the change in asset conditions.
4. Scalability of Asset Tracking Solutions: Barcode management systems are highly scalable and can adapt to the growing needs of organizations. The barcode system eliminates human errors. Barcodes are scalable because they can efficiently handle any number of items. This can help businesses avoid growing pains as they can add more products.
To conclude, the adoption of barcode-based asset tracking and management systems helps in improving the efficiency and capability of various businesses like manufacturing, healthcare, oil and gas, mining, steel, telecom, and pharmaceuticals. A barcode asset tracking and management system improves various business operations, from efficient tracking and management of assets to enhanced real-time visibility of assets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) What is a barcode tracking and management system?
A barcode tracking and management system is a practice for tracking assets using barcode technology. The barcode system is an overall solution that contains barcodes, barcode scanners, and tracking and management system software.
Q2) How do you track a barcode?
Data stored in a barcode assigned to a specific asset is scanned by using a barcode scanner that extracts data from barcodes. The extracted data is then decoded and stored by asset-tracking software.
Q3) What type of barcode is an asset tag?
There are dozens of varieties of barcodes, but the most popular asset tags are Code 3-of-9 and Code 128.