Equipment Management 101
Expert Advice on All Things Equipment Management

Using Asset Tags the Smart Way

So, you’ve invested in some new expensive assets and want to keep track of them the smart way. Your first and most important task is to properly tag those assets.

Here are the most important questions you should ask yourself before you get started.

Asset label sizes

Why should I tag my assets?

Asset tagging means giving a unique identity to each piece of equipment in your inventory. It makes it easier to locate the right equipment without any confusion and is especially handy when each asset tag refers to a unique code that is indexed in an asset management system.

Here’s why using asset tags for your equipment can be a game changer:

  • You’ll be able to quickly identify the exact piece of equipment you’re looking for. No more confusion talking about “the new Nikon d750, not the one we got this year but the one before that”, from now on, you can safely refer to D2-0027
  • Asset tags are not only a smart way to identify assets within your organization; they can also be a way to show the equipment belongs to your organization. The easiest way to do this is by adding the logo or name of your organization on the asset tag.
  • Identifying each piece of equipment with a tag makes it possible to run regular audits on your equipment.
  • Using asset tags with a barcode or QR code will enable you to scan the asset tags with a mobile app or a barcode scanner to access all the info you need in seconds.
  • Asset tags are a key enabler to any asset management system.
Equipment with asset tags

Asset tagging helps to ensure security, identification, and traceability of equipment within your organization. It’s also crucial for maintenance management and keeping your assets in mint condition.

What should I be tagging?

When deciding what items to tag, it’s a good idea to prioritize your most valuable assets and any equipment that will be moving around a lot or used by a lot of different people within your organization.

Handy Hack

If you have items that belong together – like a camera with two lenses, three memory cards, a cable, and an extra battery – it’s handy to keep them in a bag or flight case and label together as a “kit”.

  • Movable assets: The first items you should be tagging are those that move around a lot, are used by different colleagues within your organization or even loaned or rented out by freelancers. It’s important to be able to track this kind of equipment and – with the help of an equipment management solution – keep tabs of who is using the equipment and when it’s due back.
  • Fixed assets: Although you usually know where your fixed assets are at and don’t need to be tracking them, tagging your immovable equipment is still handy in some case. It helps you keep an overview of inspections, maintenance, warranty dates, etc.
  • Expensive & prone to theft: Although you usually know where your fixed assets are at and don’t need to be tracking them, tagging your immovable equipment is still handy in some case. It helps you keep an overview of inspections, maintenance, warranty dates, etc.

Use tamper-evident labels for items that are expensive and prone to theft. They are a bit more expensive but are definitely worth the equipment security and theft prevention will definitely compensate.

  • Consumable items like tape and cartridges don’t really need tagging because of their short lifespan.
Tamper evident labels

What information should asset tags include?

The next step is deciding what information you want to include on asset tags. Asset tags are usually small, so you’ll have to be concise en pick just the information you need to make your equipment management system work.

Depending on your organization’s specific needs and how your database is structured, you might need to include the following:

Asset tag

What information should asset tags include?

Using a unique QR code or barcode on each asset tag makes it easy to scan your assets with a scanner or even with your smartphone. You’ll know within seconds which piece of equipment you’re holding. No more confusion.

The scannability of your tags is especially handy if you are using asset management software: scanning the label or tag will give you access to all the information you have on that asset (model, use history, maintenance schedule, warranty information, etc). If you’re not using any kind of software to track your assets with, it might be a good idea to include barcodes or QR codes to your asset tags anyway. That way, you won’t need to replace them if you ever decide to use asset management software.

Want to dig deeper into asset tagging and learn more about number systems, types of barcodes, what materials to use? Read our Definitive Guide to Asset Labeling

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