Taking inventory of business assets, be it for financial reasons like audits or compliance, with perfect accuracy can be expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive to daily operations. Introducing an RFID system into this asset management problem can facilitate this process and reduce costs and its duration.
Traditional ways of asset identification, such as using serialised asset tags with embossed or printed serial numbers, have long been the normal process for many industries. The tags are often riveted metal plates for longer-lasting assets, while those with shorter lifespans only require paper or labels with solid adhesives. Dropping these functional yet ageing identification methods for RFID tags allows businesses to gain the following key advantages listed below.
1. Highly efficient data collection
Unlike barcodes, serialised asset tags, and other traditional asset identification methods, RFID tags and their readers can communicate without the need for visible line of sight. Depending on the frequency of the RFID system, the readers can read tags at extended ranges of up to 50 feet in specific installations to shorter distances that are only several inches away. Moreover, RFID is not limited to reading one item at a time, as it can gather information on dozens to hundreds of assets within seconds. These capabilities eliminate the hassle of locating and reading individual tags, saving many man-hours.
2. Greater durability
Since various industries use RFID tags, they must be capable of withstanding extreme conditions ranging from high or low temperatures, from high pressure to exposure to corrosive chemicals. Traditional asset tags may withstand some challenging conditions. Still, since they may not explicitly designed to last certain environments, unlike specialised RFID tags, there is no guarantee the traditional tags will last in the short or even long term when there is a need.
3. Reduced error reductions
Whether due to natural wear and tear, mishandling, or other reasons, traditional labels and barcode damage can lead to misreads or failure to be read. At the same time, human-readable tags rely on accurate transcription in order to be read without any possible error. RFID eliminates this potential risk as it is now a mature technology with an excellent track record of virtually working as intended at all times.
4. Flexibility and improved data capacity
One of the main shortcomings of traditional asset tags is that they are written once and can no longer be changed. RFID tags are more flexible in this area as their inbuilt user memory means the data they hold can always be reprogrammed, updated, or re-assigned when they are transferred from a retired asset to a new one. Information stored in RFID tags could be about an asset’s properties and attributes, life cycle management, the chain of custody, and more.
5. Better security
Counterfeiting traditional asset tags is relatively simple, but that is not the case with RFID tags and their unique, tamper-proof identifiers. In addition, those looking to change or remove the former as they can be easily located on the asset, while the latter can be embedded in the asset, making them effectively invisible. In extreme cases, RFID tags can even be moulded into the components of the asset where they cannot be readily accessed without damaging it.
Modern businesses now rely on RFID for their asset tracking system and management thanks to its many advancements over traditional asset identification methods. Naturally, these upgrades entail a higher initial cost, but the optimisations, improvements, and overall ROI they introduce in the long run, such as significantly reduced audit times and error rates, improved asset security, and more. All these features make them a worthwhile investment that largely improves any business’s bottom line.