Modern job sites require a fast and reliable way to track the location and status of valuable tools and equipment. With a sophisticated inventory database system in place, your business can enjoy the flexibility of quickly recording tool transfers between job sites to boost productivity and efficiency.
New technologies, including barcoding and radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking, are now widely used to aid this effort. But how can you determine which data input system is best suited to keep pace with the location and status of your specific items? The answer may depend on a range of factors, including how you use your tools, the operational conditions in which your teams work, and where and how you store your equipment.
Using Barcodes to Track Inexpensive Tools and Equipment
One of the most widely used methods of tool tracking in today’s market, barcoding, is well suited for keeping an accurate inventory of:
● Inexpensive, commonly used items
● Equipment that is housed in a secure, protected location away from the elements
● Items that are easily accessible from a shelf-based storage system
● Tools that are large enough to affix a barcode
Despite these advantages, using a barcode to track tools and equipment needed at multiple job sites, or that operate under rugged conditions, may not be ideal. The elements can wear down barcode labels to the point where they are unreadable. Also, tools and equipment that do most of their work in harsh environments could easily see a barcode covered over with dirt and grime. If this scenario describes your current working conditions, consider incorporating, or switching to, RFID tag tracking.
Experience Automated and Rapid Tracking with RFID
While using RFID tags to maintain a database of your tools and equipment can deliver a more durable option than barcoding, its main advantages are in automation and speed. Using an RFID tracking method helps automate the tool and equipment check-in, check-out process and can reduce the number of personnel you have dedicated to keeping track of inventory. Also, using an advanced RFID tracking application, such as ToolHound, gives you a flexible self-service tool crib that can improve worksite efficiency and give you a one-stop-shop for your inventory needs.
Which Tracking Method Is Best Suited to Your Needs?
Although each method offers unique advantages, the optimal solution, in many cases, calls for a combination of both barcoding and RFID. By upgrading to a solution that combines the two tracking systems, businesses can achieve greater inventory accuracy and improve operational efficiency.