What are Asset Tags and Where Are They Used?


Barcode Aluminium

Every business has physical assets, from furniture to tools and other industrial equipment. As a business grows, it can be difficult to keep track of these assets. That’s where Asset Tags – sometimes called Asset Labels – come in.

Asset Tags are labels placed on physical assets in order to monitor them. Most businesses will use them in conjunction with asset tracking software. Good software will enable a company to monitor assets in such a way that it’s able to schedule maintenance, record repairs and maintain some inventory control. But the software only works if the tags are accurate and legible.

Asset tags also act as the foundation for a smooth process of repairing, maintenance and inventory control of equipment for enterprises.

Two Types of Assets

In general, a business will have two types of assets:

  1. Fixed Assets
  2. Movable Assets

There is some debate over the meanings of these two terms and so, the definition we give may differ from some others you have heard.

Fixed Assets

Fixed Assets are items that are fixed at their location throughout their lifespan. That is, they are usually attached and integral to a business’s building but may have a shorter lifespan than the building.

For instance, equipment such as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC), elevators, plumbing, sprinkler systems, and the taps and valves associated with this equipment are considered fixed assets.  We do a tonne of valve tags

Movable Assets

Assets which are not fixed and, therefore, are able to be moved, are called movable assets. Examples would include furniture, office equipment, and items such as tools, movable industrial equipment and gear.

Five Reason Why your Business Should Use Asset Tags

We’ll go into this in greater detail later but, in short, Asset tags enable a business to:

  1. Keep track of what equipment they own
  2. Keep track of where their equipment is at any one time.
  3. Plan for ongoing equipment maintenance and replacement.
  4. Keep an accurate log for taxation, e.g., depreciation, purposes.
  5. Track equipment and help prevent the theft of those items.

How do Asset Tags Work?

As explained above, Asset Tags help monitor and track a company’s assets. The labels contain a code – this code uses a unique serial number or barcode to identify each piece of equipment.

The code will contain important details relating to the equipment. Usually, these details will include:

  • The type of equipment
  • The equipment’s date of manufacture
  • Details relating to the equipment’s place of purchase
  • How much the item cost
  • The expected shelf life of the equipment
  • Who the equipment has been assigned to (especially important with tools and other items that employees may take home)

While some Asset Tags may contain a serial number that is matched to a register or software programme, these days, most Asset Tags use barcodes to speed up their data entry and decrease field entry errors.

What are Asset Tags Made of?

Asset tags or asset labels are commonly made of one of three materials:

  • Anodised aluminium, including foil-thin and flexible aluminium.
  • 316 stainless steel.

While Asset Tags may be affixed with rivets, screws or something similar and enhanced with use of one of our premium 3M adhesives which prevents tampering, other tags are not. Some Asset Tags are hanging tags and fixed with stainless steel wire loops, split rings or cable ties.

The important thing is that, whatever material Asset Tags are made from, they need to be durable and able to stand up to the harshest of industrial environments. There should be no damage or degradation that would prevent the Asset Label being read.

Which of my Business Assets Should I Tag?

Your business should keep track of all larger or more expensive assets. Doing this will help with insurance and, if something is stolen, will enable you to give an accurate description to the authorities. Alternatively, in the case of some items such as tools and other portable gear, it will record the person to whom the item was assigned.

Four Benefits of Using Asset Tags on my Company Equipment?

The four greatest benefits to using Asset Tags are:

  • Maintain an accurate equipment register
    At some stage, you will want to know how much equipment you have, e.g., how many of a certain tool does the company own? It may be for insurance purposes or to help with planning next year’s budget. To keep track of such information without Asset Labels is fine for a very small company, but as your business grows, it’s easy to lose track.
  • Keep track of each asset’s movement around your company premises
    Assets are often moved around a business from one place to the next, especially in a manufacturing plant. The use of Asset Tags means equipment can be checked in and out of different departments and its movement traced.
  • Create and maintain an ongoing maintenance programme
    Having Asset Tags linked to an Asset Recording software programme means you can programme in the maintenance times for each item of equipment and schedule the most appropriate time for maintenance or replacement.
  • Preventing theft (or solving it if it occurs)
    The presence of Asset Labels on your company assets will deter theft because a would-be thief will see the label and know that the equipment can be traced. If theft still occurs, a label will immediately identify the owner so goods can be returned quickly.

Asset Tags for your Business - What’s the Alternative?

These days, it’s difficult to believe that all Asset Management used to be done manually. Serial numbers would be entered into some sort of log book along with information relating to the relevant item. It was time-consuming and prone to mistakes when transcribing information.

The use of Asset Tags and Recording software is more accurate, more efficient and has the potential to save larger businesses thousands of dollars every year.

For information on how Asset Tags can add benefits to your asset management system, click here.