Costs, Benefits and Future of Asset Inventory Management and Control

Every organization needs some form of asset inventory management. Asset inventory management is the process by which companies account for the location of previously acquired durable goods. Depending on the company, both capital and non-capital goods of value should be tracked on an individual level.

Like many areas of the supply chain, asset inventory management continues to evolve. The core concept has not changed: each item has a unique identifier. Modern systems generally incorporate a bar-code based IT tracking system.

Costs of Asset Inventory Control

A good asset inventory management system requires varying levels of up-front investment. At a minimum, it requires a unique number somehow permanently affixed to the asset, and a database that maintains a record of the asset’s location.

The basic ingredients of the system include an IT tracking database, barcode scanners and asset tags. The practical execution of durable asset control generally involves the application of bar-code numeric label.

These labels come in many forms: metal asset tags, tamper evident asset tags, and economy asset tags. These bar-code labels allow for RF device or terminal entry of the asset number. They can be ordered directly from labeling companies or may be generated on site.

Benefits of Asset Inventory Control

The use of inventory tags has long been viewed as a means to deter shrink in the workplace. The presence of a non-removable ID tag shows ownership by the company. Knowing what the company owns, and tracking its age can assist in planning capital investments.

In particular, IT equipment is a prime candidate for asset inventory control. Knowing the location and age of assets can allows managers leverage all equipment. When communications companies or other service companies provide equipment to customers, that unit level accountability is critical to a smooth beginning and end of any service relationship.

Future of Asset Inventory Management

Despite the success of the old standby of generic serial numbers, several industries are taking unique identification global. The new EAN.UCC Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI) numbers are literally one of a kind numbers globally.

This expansive new standard requires the manufacturer to label the item according to a universal guideline including a code referencing the original buyer. Initiated by the US Federal Government, the standards can be executed with a barcode or an RFID tag.

  • ♦ EAN.UCC Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI) for serially-managed assets
  • ♦ EAN.UCC Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) for returnable assets
  • ♦ ISO Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for vehicles

Whether using the old reliable methods of affixed generic barcodes or the newest of RFID techniques, enterprise asset inventory management is critical to reducing durable equipment costs and minimizing redundant assets.


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