You could deal with this by having several people look over the entries
Tracking assets requires data acquisition during each transaction. The volume of assets is growing at an exponential rate. It is not in hundreds anymore. It runs in thousands for small companies, hundreds of thousands for medium enterprises, and in millions for large corporations.
On top of this, for returnable assets like industrial gas and LPG cylinders, the process is repeated multiple times during receiving, filling, issuing, and tracking.
For each data acquisition, one must read the asset identification number, write it on paper, read it, enter into asset tracking system, validate in system, and in case of typical transcription error, go back to asset to re-read the asset identification to correct the error.
Manual data entry leaves a lot of room for error. People in the industry know that reading, writing and entering asset data take up much of their workers’ time. Today people are not available to do this kind of tedious repetitive manual work, which to begin with is error prone. When you have numerous people throughout the company inputting data for assets, there are going to be mistakes. As assets grow from hundreds to thousands, the errors grow exponentially. You could deal with this by having several people look over the entries, but this is time-consuming and still wouldn’t eliminate human error. Up to twenty percent of manual entries are incorrect, and this sets a chain reaction with the result that neither you nor your customer trusts your data. These errors aid in losing the asset resulting in low productivity and big losses to the bottom line.
Today, it is not only about asset tracking and management, stopping losses, or identifying slow movement; it is more and more about visibility and traceability of the asset during manufacturing, movement through logistics and supply chain, delivery to end user, and servicing the same.
Companies must be able to track the asset at any point of time and ensure that unscrupulous people in the supply chain may not insert fake\duplicate assets in the distribution. Both the company and the end user suffer and pay for this – the company unnecessary earns a bad reputation and a tarnished brand image – end user pays for the quality asset but gets a fake. End users are now demanding confirmation about the genuineness of the asset and want to ensure the same by being able to view tracking information of physical asset’s chain-of-possession from manufacturing from to delivery.
Creating, managing, and auditing accurate asset tracking is a time consuming, disruptive process that can pull valuable employees from their normal jobs. Implementing an automated data acquisition solution can dramatically reduce the time and manpower required to identify individual asset, provide better visibility, and optimize usability.
DATA ACQUISITION TECHNOLOGY
Current auto identification based data acquisition technologies include Bar Code and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). There are two components to technology – first is the label to identify the asset and the second is the device to read the label and decode the identity.
Barcode labels are easy to produce, have initial low cost, and preferred for indoor environments. The price of labels increases to withstand harsh environments, provide resistance to heat, cold, moisture, UV light, and able to withstand rough handling. Handheld barcode scanners are also simple to use, highly portable and very affordable. Barcodes do not provide unique identity, may be easily duplicated\ faked, may become unreadable as they are prone to ripping\scratches, may be covered with soiled or by oily film, may periodically fall off or get mutilated.
RFID is the next generation of auto-id and overcomes these issues. Each RFID tag has a unique number that may not be duplicated. Since RFID tags do not need direct line of sight, they are encapsulated in materials that are able to withstand the harsh environments. As cost of scanning devices and tags continue to drop, many consider RFID to be the future, claiming that traditional barcoding will soon become obsolete. Some issues exist with regards to radio interference, scan other item, or miss a scan. Global RFID standards and ability to acquire data without line of sight has made it the only viable technology for automated tracking solutions.
However, the two technologies bring their own advantages, disadvantages and benefits. RFID technology may be costly initially. RFID offers lower Total Cost of Operation (TCO) and excellent Return on Investment (ROI).
|benefits & features||barcode||uhf rfid|
|Unique Identity||No – No such feature||Yes – Manufacture embeds digitally Unique Identity Code (UIC) on microchips that may not be changed|
|Stop Counterfeit||Possible – Simple to duplicate – Easy to print and counterfeit||No -May not duplicate – Comes with Unique Identity Code|
|Ease of Use||Simple – Peel and attach||Simple to Moderate – Based on use case|
|Initial Cost||Moderate – Paper labels and Scanners – Suitable for low value items – cost of metal or special material labels is comparable to RFID tags||Moderate to High – Based on use case, label encapsulated in high resistant material – Indispensable for assets that are high value or returnable|
|Total Cost of Operation (TCO)||High – Recurring cost to identify and replace unusable labels||Low – Attached permanently|
|Return on Investment (ROI)||Low – Do not detect counterfeit labels – not able to protect brand identity||High – May not counterfeit – iron-clad protection for brand identity|
|Harsh Environment||No – Environment sensitive; Generally, degrade when used, stored, or handled in a non-office environment||Yes – Encapsulated for use in harsh environment and perform per specification|
|Lifespan||Limited – Degrade with handling and mostly useable in industrial environment||Multi-year – Embedded in a protective indestructible|
|Physical Size||Larger – Very sensitive to the aspect ratio for presentation to a scanner. The ratio of a barcode’s length vs. width is critical to its operation||Small -Size range from a thumbnail to a book. The aspect ratio of a tag’s length vs. width is very flexible and not a significant factor for the RFID reader|
|Traceability||More suitable for entire class of products than identification||Combination of unique identity + user data, suitable to track, recall or document the life span of a single asset|
|Line of Sight||Scanner must “see” the barcode label to read it||Does not require line of sight|
|Manual Orientation||Manually required to re-orient the device to match barcode position||No orientation required|
|Scan Range||Inches||Range in feet through dirt, oil or snow|
|Remote Scan||No||Yes – allows automation – may not need any human involvement to operate|
|Simultaneous Scan||No – read one at a time individually||Yes – Scan multiple items at once providing exponential gains in output and efficiency|
|Speed||Slow – Read one at a time||Fast – Very quick – easily scan a lot of tags in a shorter period.|
|Data Security||No||Yes – Data may be encrypted, and password protected|
|Dynamic Data Update||No – once printed it remains frozen||Yes – may be re-written to with on-board user memory for additional information retention – store product calibration history, preventive maintenance and other information. Updates may be made quickly and automatically without human intervention|
|Product Code||No – Major vertical markets such as Retail have created standards which are excellent at coding product type and manufacturer. Including information beyond these basic parameters is not feasible as the size of the barcode becomes too large and price is higher||Yes – Digital data stored and provides a significant capability to encode:|
1) Tag originator
2) User data needed
3) Serial number
|Accuracy||Good||Good – Auto electronic data acquisition eliminates manual data entry and transcription errors – that may be as high as 20 percent|
|Geo Location||Yes – GPS enabled scanning device – capture GPS coordinates on every scan||Yes – GPS enabled scanning device – capture GPS coordinates on every scan|
|Proof of Receipt||Yes – Scanner enabled with touch screen and electronic signature software enabled||Yes – Scanner enabled with touch screen and electronic signature software enabled|