Whenever we speak to an organization about mobilePLUS, our mobile inventory solution, questions always come up regarding how to get assets tagged: Can they use existing tags or manufacturer tags? What’s the best way to get everything tagged? Is there a way to make the tagging process fast and easy?
The best place to begin is to understand what the tag status of your assets is now – and then to plan an approach to get them marked and recorded. You also want to plan for how to mark new assets coming in – and how to keep your existing assets well-tagged for your ongoing needs.
It can be a challenge – but the results of getting your asset data quickly and accurately are well worth the effort.
There are four primary areas where item or asset tagging comes into play with your inventory and tracking solution. They are:
- Initial Setup – When you’re first implementing an inventory solution, the largest challenge is getting all of your data collected and getting your items tagged for ease and accuracy in future inventory and tracking events. This can be a huge effort – and unfortunately, there aren’t many shortcuts. But this phase is critical to experience the full benefit of your solution – now and in the future.
- New Items – After your initial implementation, getting new items logged into your organization, tagged, and beginning the chain-of-custody tracking needs to be an easy process and happen early in your physical acquisition. This is where systems often begin to lose accuracy after the initial effort during implementation. Staying on top of all your assets – old and new – is critical.
- Maintenance Tagging – Throughout an asset’s lifetime, you will have instances where either a tag has become damaged or is missing. Being able to easily remedy this situation with the application of a replacement tag as you discover it can erase the issue and preserve your tagging integrity.
- Changing Tag Strategy – Almost all implementations for tagging assets or other controlled items begin with the use of linear barcodes. Later, when an organization changes its tagging standard to a single symbology and structure or when adding RFID or 2D symbology to improve inventory performance or security, it helps to have a procedure to manage this updating activity.
Having a strategy in place to address all of these challenges is critical to the successful implementation and sustainment of your item/asset inventory solution. The goal is to ensure that you have the data right in your ERP or asset management solution. So the long-term tracking and validating of these items require an easy method to accomplish this with accuracy.
Item tagging is a critical part of the process.
In the growth of our mobilePLUS solution over the last 20 years, we continued to look at what we need to provide our customers with an outstanding inventory experience. This has led to the ongoing enhancements to functions surrounding job management, activity/item logging, automated installation, packaged education – and, of course, tagging.
Regarding tagging, mobilePLUS has an approach to address each of the challenges described above. They include:
- New Item Inventory – We leverage mobile devices and pre-printed labels to get your initial asset inventory tagged, their data updated for accuracy, and get the chain-of-custody started before your initial inventory events.
- Inbound/Outbound – mobilePLUS provides easy web-based registration and tagging of new assets upon arrival in any location, local warehouse, or remote office – again stating that chain-of-custody.
- Tag Item – At any time during an inventory activity, you can retag an item that has a damaged or missing tag with a new tag – and have the confidence that all of that asset’s information is logged for future reference if necessary.
- Retag – When you have a larger tag replacement effort planned, mobilePLUS can create tag-specific jobs for your mobile users to easily manage the conversion of existing tags to a new standard like RFID, while still retaining 100% visibility to the item’s history under the old tag.
A tagging strategy is critical to the success of your asset management solution. A successful one begins with getting items marked for easy and accurate capture during audits and tracking. It also needs to accomplish this task with the least effort, cost, and mistakes. Finally, it should leverage electronic technology as early as possible to eliminate redundancy and begin a chain-of-custody.
As we stated earlier, tagging is a necessity and requires dedicated effort. It has to be in place to achieve your intended success of timely, complete, and accurate data. Having a plan and tools like mobilePLUS to get there can make this much less of a challenge.
Getting started on a tagging strategy can be overwhelming. Contact us, and we’ll help you navigate the process and ensure your inventory solution’s success.