Asset tracking and inventory management are two different terms. Many people use both terms interchangeably. However, there are some critical differences between their functions and the software they used. Like asset tracking device and other software.
The main focus of both types of solutions is to manage and improve resource optimizations. Moreover, their aim is to reduce cost management. In both scenarios, assets and inventory management systems include different tracking items. The difference between asset tracking and inventory management lies in the way of their tracking methods.
The most important point is why to track inventory and assets.
What is an asset? The asset is basically what you own. And what is an inventory? Inventory is basically what you sell, it means what you consume.
Assets are an easily predictable and fairly stable pool of items. On the other hand, inventory is a highly volatile and moving target.
Let’s try to understand both items and their tracking mechanisms:
Asset tracking is a way to track the usage and location of different types of assets. Asset tracking most often includes computers, tools, machines, and equipment. This list further contains vehicles, furniture, and important documents. Furthermore, it contains other items that companies use internally. Most firms consider assets that come under their own use.
There are different technologies used for asset tracking. Some of these methods exist for a long time such as barcode scanning, RFID and NFC. However, modern technologies have introduced some advanced asset tracking techniques. The latest approaches include GPS and iBeacon asset tracking systems. Let’s have a look at the advantages of asset tracking:
Benefits of iBeacon Asset Tracking
Locating your assets is a crucial part of all businesses. Especially, when it is difficult for giant enterprises to manage their assets. So it is very important to know their exact location. And when they arrive. Here are some key advantages of asset tracking:
• It needs only BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) tags and smartphones for asset tracking. Moreover, this technology is capable to identify the users.
• Likewise RFID, it doesn’t require scanning mechanism. All you need is having a smartphone in your pocket with an application. There is no need to manage the application. The app runs in the background.
It sends the data information or asset information to the server automatically and continuously.
• You will receive the real-time location of your assets.
• You can analyze the received data. For example, you can check the usage of equipment. How much time your worker spends on the road.
• You can track the location visits of your employees.
• It is the least expensive alternative to a GPS asset tracking device.
A short history of the iBeacon asset tracking device
iBeacon tracking devices are the most innovative technology today. Beacons arrived back somewhere in 2013 and gained popularity overnight. All giant businesses are utilizing this technology. These asset tracking devices provide a unique way to track assets.
Moreover, they are very cheap as compared to other technologies like GPS and RFID. Due to the dominance over other tracking technology, many organizations are adopting it dramatically.
Implementation of iBeacon asset tracking device
The beacon asset tracking is the most effective way to track the location of assets. You can implement beacon asset tracking in different ways. For example, you can use fixed-location based beacons for fixed location assets. Another way is to implement this system for moveable assets.
Fixed-location asset tracking: In this case, all you need to add specific tags on each item that you want to track. Moreover, you will have to mount iBeacon to the fixtures. When a user comes close to the specific asset, the smartphone application will automatically generate an event. And send back to the server by using internet mediums. So in this way, you can try asset location.
Movable asset tracking: It has the almost same process to track assets. Mount beacons to the permanent fixture. Attach unique tags on your assets. When assets move near the beacons, the application will generate an event with different information. Beacons use cellular data or Wi-Fi to send this information to the server.
Inventory tracking systems helps different companies to manage stocks of various consumable items. This system includes a wide range of markets. It optimizes incoming and outgoing material in the manufacturing industry. Moreover, it helps in managing re-ordering and on-shelf stocking in retail settings.
Unlike assets, inventory tracking is depleting and replenishing process. This volatility makes it a very intricate system. The complexity depends upon the size and the usage of inventory. For example, the amount of raw steel in the automation factory. The amount of medication at a pharmacy. The number of toys on a specific store shelf. So all these things depend upon the conditions, sales, and promotions. Furthermore, these things also depend on even seasonality and weather.
How does inventory tracking system work?
The inventory tracking system leverages different supplier data like the materials cost of the material. The available supply of various parts. It further includes customer data such as sales history and today’s purchases.
The inventory tracking or management system is very helpful in planning and forecasting sales. Moreover, it helps in replenishing stock and location of different items in a store or warehouse. Basically, these systems include packing, picking, receiving, replenishing and shipping functions. So these asset tracking devices target distributors, hospitals and warehouses. In addition to this, you can find these systems in retail stores and in other organizations.
The intersection of inventory and asset tracking devices
Asset and inventory cross over within the same organizations. Some companies or businesses utilize asset tracking device or asset management solution to track and manage equipment. These equipment include a server or heavy machinery. They manage this equipment after delivering them to the customers. During production, inventory tracking systems manage this equipment.
Both asset tracking and inventory management systems are crucial for different businesses. Especially, for those trying to maintain a cost-effective system. In addition to this, they want to improve their efficiency. So it is very important to know the functionalities of both tracking systems. After deploying these systems, enterprises can effectively deal with unique challenges.