Codes Used On Inventory and Asset Tags

inventory and asset tagsInventory and asset tags are valuable resources for companies that want to label, monitor and track their physical and moving assets. These are used in different industries such as Healthcare, Manufacturing, Telecom, and Defense, to name a few. These tags are necessary because physical record-keeping of data is tedious, time-consuming and is prone to human error. With asset and inventory tags, manual documentation is eliminated.  Automating the process helps businesses improve the accuracy of their inventory monitoring and tracking.

These tags use codes to identify the location, specification and status of any item or group of items. The codes on these assign unique identification numbers to individual products. These are scanned by a code reader and the consolidated database is monitored by a software application for centralized effective data tracking. The code system efficiently and precisely records data and vastly reduces errors in monitoring usually caused by manual data entry.

There are 2 types of codes used in inventory and asset tags:

Barcodes - Barcodes were developed in 1974 and were primarily used in retail for inventory monitoring or purchase. They are regarded by companies as the most useful way to control asset tracking because they are easy to use and are cost efficient. Barcodes consist of lines of varying sizes and a sequence of alphanumeric characters.

A barcode scanner converts the codes to information, such as price, type and location, and then sends it to a computer for data storage. Each code can hold up to 20 characters. These may not be ideal if you need to store a large amount of data about the item. Scanning them is relatively quick, though items need to be scanned individually.

QR Codes - QR codes or Quick Response codes were developed in Japan primarily for automotive purposes. The barcode system, with its limited data capacity, couldn’t hold the number of components the company needed to encode. To solve this problem, Denso Wave introduced a graphical code system called QR Codes. Each code can hold up to 7000 characters.

While barcodes are one-dimensional, QR codes are two-dimensional and can hold texts, images and even URLs. Another interesting innovation it contributed to asset tags is how it is scanned. Instead of using traditional code scanners, they can be scanned using smart phones. Today, they are common in advertising because they can provide consumers a way to access a brand’s website easily.

These codes make it easier for companies to keep track of every asset that they own and every item in their inventory. What you choose for your own needs depends entirely on what these needs are and what kind of code is best suited for your company’s tracking requirements.

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