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    Asset Tracking: What It Is and How It Works

    tablet with fleet tracking map on screen

    What is asset tracking?

    Asset tracking is a method used by companies to locate physical assets like vehicles, products, equipment, and more. 

    In fleet management, asset tracking can help prevent theft and loss of equipment because fleet managers can monitor where their assets are in real-time. Asset tracking can also help optimize the utilization of vehicles by helping spread out workloads to prevent vehicles from being overused and racking up high maintenance costs. 

    Assets are company resources that hold an economic value and can be described as either fixed or intangible. Fixed assets (also referred to as tangible assets) include vehicles, computers, tablets, and dashboard cameras. Intangible assets are nonphysical resources like software licenses, trademarks, operator licenses, and contracts. 

    Assets are often confused with inventory, but their definitions are different. Inventory refers specifically to items that are intended for sale or distribution. Asset tracking is just as important as inventory tracking because it allows fleet managers to monitor the location, status, and maintenance schedules of their vehicles and equipment.

    Efficient tracking techniques ensure maximum oversight and minimal asset losses. As a result, there is improved efficiency as well as the added benefits of increased revenue and profitability. 

    Asset tracking defined

    An asset tracking definition can vary depending on what products and services companies offer and how they operate. But broadly speaking, the term describes the processes and systems used to track an organization’s physical assets. Physical assets can be tracked by electronic tags attached to equipment or by using GPS or radio-frequency identification to pinpoint a location. 

    What is asset tracking used for in fleet management? 

    Asset tracking is an essential system to have in fleet management, the location of fleets can change fast, and without any means of communication and tracking, the company is at risk for delayed deliveries. 

    Knowing how much of something exists and where it is located is the primary goal of asset tracking. But it’s not just the volume and location of company property that can be determined. In addition to the basics of what the company owns and where each component is located, the best asset tracking methods also provide accurate data on how effectively resources are being used. The flexibility and power of modern systems allow fleet managers to use asset tracking to assist with: 

    How does asset traceability work?

    Assets can be tracked either on-site or remotely. Thanks to centralized cloud-based information storage, registers of assets are available to view by any authorized personnel on any internet-enabled device at any time, regardless of location. This means managers can access an accurate overall view of the company’s assets at the office, remotely, or on the go.

    What is an asset tracking system? 

    Simply put, it’s all of the components needed to accurately track, record, and relay information about the whereabouts and location of company resources.  This generally comprises a register detailing current fixed assets, asset tags, scanning devices, and software that identifies and updates information from each tag. 

    Asset tag definition 

    Asset tags are the unique markers used to identify each individual item. They are often in the form of a barcode, as this allows for easy scanning. Details of an asset tag can include the manufacturer’s information, the date of manufacture, when and from which company the item was purchased, value, the employee to whom it is assigned, and any other relevant data. When scanned with tracking tools, asset tags provide immediate updates on the status of each vehicle and piece of equipment. 

    What is asset tracking software? 

    Forget spreadsheets and handwritten records. Asset tracking software automatically updates records based on tag scans and stores the information digitally in a centralized system that allows instant and real-time access.

    Asset tracking tools and methods

    Using a combination of asset tagging tools and asset management software, it’s quick and easy to track and record details of all company resources. There are a variety of tools to choose from:

    • Handheld devices that scan barcodes and QR codes on-site.
    • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) trackers can identify and track multiple tags at a time, without the target required to be in the line of sight. 
    • Global positioning system (GPS) trackers that use satellites to triangulate the position of assets.  
    • Near field communication (NFC) trackers, where a signal is sent from a tag to a device to record the details. 

    The benefits of asset tracking

    Asset tracking is a must for savvy operators that want to maximize efficiency and increase profits. The overall goals are to improve workflow and reduce costs, but with real-time information at their fingertips, fleet managers and business owners reap benefits across the board:

    • Effortless asset traceability – Know where vehicles and equipment are at all times, whether they’re stationary or on the move. 
    • Hundreds of hours saved – No more laborious manual entry processes.
    • Improved data accuracy – Fewer errors due to manual data entry.
    • Updated asset lists – Remove ‘ghost’ assets that have been lost or stolen from the company records. 
    • Increased compliance – Keep track of maintenance, servicing, and inspection schedules.  
    • Increased accountability – Know which employees are responsible for what assets.
    • Theft reduction – Vehicles, equipment, and tools can no longer be moved around unmonitored.
    • Improved customer service – Give better estimations on arrival times. 

    Find out more about asset tracking services from Lytx, and start optimizing your business with our range of powerful fleet management solutions.