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Does Your Company Need An Asset Tracking System?

May 17, 2008
Asset tracking and GPS technologies have been gaining a great deal of publicity of late. Only recently Microsoft decided to take over an asset tracking company. This is because the technology is finally coming to fruition and the varied uses of these systems are becoming apparent. But will it suit your company? Is it time to employ an asset tracking system to your fleet of vehicles?

When choosing the asset tracking system for your company the options are almost infinite. Factors in your decision should include the situation that you will use the system for. Fundamentally the choice should fall into four main categories.

Firstly you must consider the size, value and number of assets that will have to be tracked by the system. By acquiring this information it will be possible to define what kind of system you will need. It is also bears a direct resemblance to cost, by having the number of assets listed, you can compare the price of the system and arrive at a figure for the cost per asset. This way it will be able to figure the cost effectiveness of the tracking system.

Secondly you should consider the level of preciseness that your asset tracking system will deliver. As a manager you must contemplate whether you need to know the exact path and location of an asset. In the construction industry this may have to as exact as knowing what side of a building the asset is on, whereas in the logistics industry it may just be the location of an asset on a road. It is also worth considering whether you will need real time tracking information of the whereabouts of your assets or simply where they were last stationary.

Thirdly it is important to realise how much you may have already spent on other tracking devices. If the answer is high, it may be worth considering other ways to utilise existing technology to find a more cost effective solution.

Finally it is worth considering how much the asset tracking system will cost in comparison to the benefits it will bring to your business. Factors such as the cost of implementation and the training and expertise that will be needed to use the system should also form a component of these deliberations.

By taking this approach you will be able to assess the viability of implementing an asset tracking system into your company. It may be more advisable to implement a system that will work in conjunction with existing technologies. Remember however, having an all encompassing solution to tracking your business assets can be a valuable resource. Sometimes bit-part solutions can be difficult to operate and more open to confusion and administrative errors.

Currently there are many types of asset tracking systems, GPS, WiFi and Radio from the core technologies utilised. GPS uses satellites to find vehicle positions and is ideal over large areas. For instance, haulage and logistical companies will benefit from this form of tracking system. WiFi systems use a wireless internet network to track and give the whereabouts of assets. These are extensively used in hospital and warehouses as they are ideally suited to tracking in small or restricted areas. Radio tracking systems vary in the bandwidth they use and subsequently have a variety of uses in all manner of industries.

Once you have considered whether your company truly need the services of an asset tracking system, it is worth investing. Remember however that a system is rarely a one time purchase, in effect you are buying into a service so it is highly advisable to find a company with a good reputation. As GPS and other technologies improve rapidly it is doubtless that the asset tracking industry will grow. Managers today have some of the best options ever in terms of knowing where their assets are located, undoubtedly this will continue.
About the Author
Industry expert Thomas Pretty looks into benefits of asset tracking systems and considerations to make before investing in one.
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