Every successful business starts with a framework. Managing and locating important assets is a key challenge for any business. Time spent searching for critical equipment can lead to expensive delays or downtime, missed deadlines and customer commitments, and wasted labor.
All these days’ companies have addressed this problem traditionally by managing assets using serial numbers and spreadsheets, or via barcode scanning labels. However, both of these methods require a significant amount of manual labor.
One way to quickly improve asset management is by utilizing electromagnetic fields to identify and track an item’s location OR by using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to automatically track assets.
Using electromagnetic fields an RFID asset tracking system will transmit data from an RFID tag to a reader. Whether you are talking about IV pumps in a large hospital, office equipment in an organization, tools, and equipment in a factory, wheelchairs or pumping equipment in far-flung oil fields, RFID will provide you realistic, accurate tracking data for fixed and mobile assets.
HOW RFID WORKS?
Similar to Barcode technology, RFID uses a unique tag (or a “license plate”) which is associated with a unique asset — however, assets can be scanned at a much faster pace as the scanner does not need a line of sight to the asset tag. With an RFID asset tracking system, you don’t need to “touch” each item individually. You can rapidly inventory high volumes of assets within minutes.
RFID enables the use of mobile computers to locate missing assets with Smartphone’s coupled with mobile RFID readers. A user can walk through the area and capture all Mobile RFID tags within read-range without any delay. The time taken to track an asset can be reduced within minutes using a mobile RFID system.
A significant visibility to the movement or current location of IT assets within a facility can be provided by the Fixed RFID readers. As assets move, readers that are mounted in areas such as a doorway or dock door will capture the RFID asset tag of the item in-transit and record that items date and time of movement while recording location change. This is referred to as the capture of an assets’ last known location.
Installing Fixed RFID users can automatically capture all of the assets as they move through the choke point. It’s important to note that as the asset moves through the choke point, not only is the asset information recorded in the system but the directional movement is recorded as well (Meaning the system is able to record that the asset moved from the Warehouse to Production Room).
START SMALL AND GROW:
One of the benefits of this system is that it provides flexibility as to the size of the “last known locations”. Obviously, more fixed reading gateways require more infrastructure and cost; but, will also provide more detailed tracking information. It’s up to the user to determine how much granularity they need to design into their particular system to fit into their budget.
In certain industries the ability of an RFID based system to keep an accurate history of the where about of assets have been critical. Some companies document an asset’s history to limit the amount of liability the company has for each asset.
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