Logistics involve a great deal of physical, movable assets. And the more global the logistics, the higher the chance of inefficiency, loss and theft. Asset tracking for logistics reduces these risks by making it easy for people to locate, use and optimise the way logistics assets are used. Unfortunately, when it comes to their choice of technology, many businesses are stuck in the past.
Honourable mention: Pen and paper
While this ‘technology’ may be considered archaic by today’s standards, it’s not uncommon to see smaller logistics operations rely on pen and paper. Naturally, analogue information comes with big downsides. It requires personnel dedicated to record keeping, and storage of information in large compendiums of books. This ultra-manual approach is neither quick, easy nor especially accurate.
Digital baby steps: Computer spreadsheets & asset tracking platforms
Many readers might scoff at pen and paper, but you might be surprised to hear that your spreadsheets aren’t much better. Yes, a good spreadsheet can be a thing of beauty. But in terms of suitability for asset tracking, spreadsheets still depend on lots of manual input (read: human error). And without restrictions to access or traceability, it can quickly get messy.
For better information storage and retrieval, you might instead consider a dedicated asset tracking platform. By replacing your spreadsheets with a dedicated platform, you’ll boost accountability, traceability and accuracy ten-fold. Nevertheless, these data management technologies don’t impact data collection.
Manual data collection: Barcodes, QR, passive RFID, NFC
Several technologies – now commonplace – simplify the data collection process. Instead of writing or entering information about your assets, technologies like barcodes, QR, passive RFID and NFC make it possible to scan your assets – with varying levels of distance and accuracy. With these tags, a handheld reader can instantly upload information to your platform. These technologies make manual data collection as easy as it can be. But did you notice the key word? It’s still manual.
Today’s standard: Real-time tracking with IoT
If an ideal logistics operation is circular – with minimal asset downtime and efficient return logistics – you’ll need more than manual data collection and spreadsheets. Look no further than the current standard of asset tracking today: real-time. A live view of your assets in motion gives you a complete picture that manual methods can’t provide.
Real-time asset tracking cuts out manual steps when it comes to data collection. It’s automated. You simply have access to a live status of asset position and condition – anywhere in the world, in any mode of transport. This is the pinnacle of easy, quick and accurate. Combined with an intuitive platform, you can access all the insights you need in an easy-to-understand way.
But more than just having information, real-time asset tracking for logistics means:
- insights about equipment, vehicles, containers, etc. even when out of sight
- notification of departure from designated geofences, such as stolen assets
- understanding asset utilisation long-term, to optimise work processes and operations
Wondering how to modernise your logistics asset tracking?