Let’s learn about asset tags. How to design them, what materials to use, how to use them to track assets…. and, how to make them more effective. http://www.myassettag.com/
I want to start by mentioning the trends for asset tags. The overriding trend is that more assets are being tag’d AND tracked. Asset tags are not just for Businesses, schools and hospitals... but for non-profits, clinics and consumers.The ol’ standby, the stamped metal tag is slowly being displaced. While we sell millions of them, the trend is towards barcodes and ever smaller tags. Embedded aluminum tags with a barcode have become the new standard. These come in sizes as small as ¾” round. It’s easy to place them anywhere!At the same time, asset tracking software has changed radically. The time that you needed an outside tech to set up your entire system – which typically cost over $10,000 for the panoply of software, scanners, onsite installation and training – is also changing. You can do it yourself. Scanners are cheap (use your iPhone even). Software is now really inexpensive with new, free versions coming online.In then, though, these are great trends. More assets are being tracked, more cheaply and with better results than ever before.
Barcodes are great: they stop transcription errors, scan in a flash, even, can link directly to that asset’s web site. Plus, there is no extra cost to add a barcode to an asset tag. A couple of other thoughts here, too:We often see asset tags with super long 1D codes. Of course, there can be mitigating circumstances, but we recommend that you simply create an indexed database with another shorter key. Use letters. Use a 2D code. Longer 1D codes are harder to scan and result in a more costly and harder to place barcode.We are asked about barcode scanning equipment and how to buy inexpensive scanners. I love eBay. Most scanners can now scan most barcodes. Wand scanners are cheap (under $50). Laser and other non-contact scanners are $100 to over $1,000. But, understand, also that there are free scanning apps now on the Smart Phones. ScanLife is one that we use for one of our 2D asset tag applications. I love the sound of a scan!RFID asset tags are an entirely different topic. We love them – are incredibly disappointed that more companies are not using them. Once they are in place, the systems are really slick. A contractor and a tool walk into a room….. But, they are best for big companies when they need to track an particular piece of equipment (think expensive tools, WIP bins, pallets) every day or every minute. Given the cost to implement a system, the troubles of doing an audit of a room, say, of PC’s by reading each tag discretely or through metal covers using RFID…. These are all big problems that need to be overcome. RFID Asset Tags – the “jury is out”.
My first recommendation on making an effective asset tag is to add your logo. It’s not just about extending your brand (we are talking IT here not Madison avenue), but it’s a quick way to show who owns the asset. Asset tags, frankly, look professional and as such they are taken seriously. Other advantages to having your logo on an asset tag are that these tags are harder to copy and it makes easier, when you are doing your asset tag inventory to find the right tag. You’ll quickly find that a given piece of equipment can have lots of tags. Which is the right one?Most asset tags use a single color for their logo. It can be “knocked out” (e.g. shown in silver like the KTB logo here). We do see some color –but that is less common – especially full color.
Color is great. It makes your asset tag stand out against the background. To make it easy to spot your asset tag, you’ll want to avoid using a white or silver tag (with no color). The tag will blend in.But color has some other uses, too, such as:Each department can have their own color. Or, use one of 12 colors or color combinations to show the month or year that you acquired the asset.Or, use color to show the type of asset – is it Furniture & Fixtures or is it an electronic asset that has a rapid depreciation schedule?Or, for a non-profit or school, use color to define the asset’s funding source. Was this from state funds? From the endowment? From a particular grant?Colors allow you to spot, at a glance, the type of asset. Many also reinforce the color code with a suffix or prefix code on the asset tag that ties to that color.
Here is an example of color is used to track purchased equipment. Title 1 Federal Funds – how were they used? Other schools add a Year (e.g. these are from Federal Title 1 for 2011).
Here, you see a example of color coding by month. Yearly (annual or fiscal-based) color codes are also common.
What’s an asset? The definition has changed! Is it something that you bought and takes at least two people to move someplace? That’s the old definition. Is an asset something that is valuable (even if it has no “book” accounting value)? Is it something that you don’t want to lose (to theft or just to the department down the hall)? Does an asset have many moving parts to it? Is it something you want (or need) to track? The answer is increasingly “yes” to most of these questions.The implications (of a broader definition for assets) for asset tags themselves, are important… Many new asset tag designs have been spawned as the definition of “an asset” has changed. Here is one.We call these “Repeater” tags. The main tag goes on the main asset. Other parts can be put onto other places on the asset (for easier tracking, theft tracking or just because you want to make it easier to find the asset tracking ID). A copy can even be put on to your office file. Many IT department use these for assets that have multiple parts. Think of a remotely controlled motor; track the motor as well as the electronic controller.For Repeater Asset tags, each set has their own unique number. But, within set, the numbers are the same – here 0464.
Planes, trains and… automobiles (I meant golf carts!). In the past, an asset that moved around was not worthy of being tracked. Well, with more portable and smart tracking devices, it is easy now to track or register your communities’ golf carts, or bikes or your own ski clubs’s K2 ski’s!
Can a simple tag get your asset back? Yes!Tamperproof labels help thwart vandals that try to remove the label.Conscientious people help return other assets. We have countless examples of a good Samaritan making the important call to the distressed owner.A certain percentage of assets are actually misplaced or “borrowed” (and I use the latter term loosely!) opportunistically. A asset tag with a “return to sender” message can help you get it back. It’s one thing to misplace an asset; it’s another to not have a way for a kind soul to find you.
Asset tags can be so much more than just a static representation of that equipment’s ID.Here are asset tags that are being asked to track test batches and hand tools and fire extinguishers, too. Fire extinguisher asset tags are part of a system that inspectors use to validate that a fire extinguisher is in position that it has been recharged, tested and is ready to go in case of an emergency. Asset tags, in other words, can have an active use in maintenance, inspection, service documentation and security rounds.
STOP!Don’t open this case. You’ll nullify the warranty if you do. Frangible asset labels self-destruct when a thief, in trying to cover his tracks, tries to reuse your asset label.
Not all asset tags just stick to metal or smooth plastic. That’s easy!Let’s run through some fairly common asset tag applications – that require special solutions.First, a rough wooden crate. Here we use a really thick, really soft (e.g. “gooey”) adhesive.The Bike tag that you don’t want removed. Yet, is should be durable enough to last years outside. Here we apply security-cuts that prevent clean removal and AlumiGuard® metal asset tag material.Third, you want to count the asset – but will sell it (without a label) in a year. Poly-clothe asset labels are perfect. They can be cleanly removed a year later. But, they stick really well with a permanent National Starch high end acrylic adhesive.In the last example, we have an asset label that goes onto totes for musical instruments (don’t put a label on the valuable instrument, of course). This asset label has a specially formulated adhesive that is commonly used for “back of the rug labels” or for tires. It’s perfect for asset labels for fabric.
One of the most popular asset tag materials is our Dead Soft label. Think “aluminum foil”.We take aluminum and anneal it. In other words, we heat it up and make the aluminum soft. You can indent it with a pencil or pen. It’s great for when you need to add information to your label – in the field.
Here are two more examples of when conformable labels – our PlioGuard™ labels – work well. One is a round handle and the other is a compound curve. These are ideal for PlioGuard™.
Sometimes an adhesive asset label is not suitable. Hang these asset tags from a handle or keychain. These asset tags are made from a plastic that is similar to a credit card or ID badge.
Now that we have talked about how the definition of assets has changed, how to design your asset tags and choose the right material – let’s turn to installation.Step #1: Clean! Sticking a label to a dirty or oily surface is like trying to paint a dirty gutter. It just won’t stick!Step #2: Adhere the tags and use pressure to apply the tag. This roller really works. Sometimes, it is hard to believe “how well it works” in fact.Step #3: Wait 48 hours. This is the full cure time for adhesives. On the right clean surface, the use of a roller and patience, you’ll find that is virtually impossible to remove your asset tag.
Finally, let’s talk about placement. Tags should not go on grill.Or, in the way. Not where the temptation to pick at the label is irresistible. It should be placed consistently, in an easy to find spot and sized to fit. Please call us for more detailed help. And, make sure to ask for some free samples, too! We’d love to help out.
Asset TagAn Introduction to Asset Tagging, Barcoding, Installation and Asset Tag Design www.MyAssetTag.com
Tips from the Asset Tag Experts Tags are Friendlier, Smaller, More Durable and Cheaper than Ever Before Software is Easier to Learn, More Mobile and Cheaper than Ever Before You Don’t Need to Spend $1,000’s on Software, Training and Tags Asset Tracking: “It’s Easier that You Think!” www.MyAssetTag.com
Effective Barcodes Scanners are everywhere!• Eliminate Errors• Instant Scans Most Readers Scan• No Extra Cost Most Barcodes• From 1D to 2D to QR• Direct Links to Web Page Long 1D Barcodes - Do 2D and QR Codes are RFID – Is there a We Need Them? Rapidly Taking Over Future? www.MyAssetTag.com
Effective Use of a Logo Single-Color Logos – Most Common• Extend Your Brand – on Every Piece of Equipment• Reduce Counterfeiting• No Cost• Logos Converted for Free• Make the Right Tag Easy to Find Multi-Color Logos Photo Quality Color – Even on Metal Asset Tags Silver or White Background Best www.MyAssetTag.com
Color Coordinating Asset ClassesClassify Your Assets – “at a glance”• Color Codes for: o Different Divisions/ Departments o Year or Month of Acquisition o Type of Asset (F&F vs Different Prefix Codes Electronic vs Equipment) o Different Funding Sources• Spot Department Assets at a Glance: “Who Owns What”• Re-enforce Color Coding with Suffix or Prefix Codes www.MyAssetTag.com
Coding by Asset Type Coding by Asset Type www.MyAssetTag.com
Coding of Asset Tag Coding by Acquisition Date www.MyAssetTag.com
Non Traditional Asset Tags Towards a Broader Definition of “Asset Tags” • Not Just for Depreciable Assets Place on a Folder • Not Just for Stationary Equipment • Not Just 1-Tag for 1-AssetAsset Tags withDetachable Tab Labels• Mark different spots.• Redundancy advantages.• Use an Asset ID number on your office file. Repeater Tag www.MyAssetTag.com
Do Your Assets Move? and, Golf Carts and, Ski’s!PlanesTrains Plus, Bikes www.MyAssetTag.com
Is Theft a Factor?Are Assets Often Misplaced? www.MyAssetTag.com
Do You Need to Track Service Schedules,Tools or Experimental Batches? www.MyAssetTag.com
Non-Traditional Material Choice Prevent Unauthorized Access AlumiGuard® Remains the top choice But, there are other materials too!Self-Voiding Polyester DestructibleWhite or Silver Void Asset Labels www.MyAssetTag.com
Match the Asset Tag Material to Your Asset TypeAlumiGuard® Removable Polyester Clothwith Heavy, Soft Adhesive 1 year later Adhesive Designed for Rugs and FabricSticks to rough surfaces. SecuriCuts Take off the asset label cleanly. A year later! Asset tag cannot be removed “whole”. Tag cannot be reused. www.MyAssetTag.com
Handwritten Asset TagsDeadsoft Aluminum is indentable Writeable surface on Plastic Labels www.MyAssetTag.com
Conformable Asset TagsForSimple Curves For Compound Curves www.MyAssetTag.com
Hanging Asset Tags Rigid Tags have a hole.Hang from a tie, key chain or brass chain www.MyAssetTag.com
Rollers for Extra Pressure – and Superior Bond Free Roller or Squeegee with Each Order Roll out your asset tags.This makes a big difference! www.MyAssetTag.com
Where to Place an Asset Tag Tags Should not get in the way!Large Tag – FewerOpportunities for Placement Asset Tags Asset Tags should be placed in the can be tiny, same place for too. same types of assets www.MyAssetTag.com