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Asset vs Inventory Tracking Explained

Posted June 22, 2015

When explaining data tracking, the first question our customers ask is “Aren’t asset tracking and inventory tracking the same thing?” The short answer is no.

Assets are permanent objects that belong to a company. They are items a business uses internally, such as computers, tools or educational material. An asset is always tracked as a unique item. For example, even though you may give 10 of the exact same PC, you are managing each PC as an individual item with its own unique barcode label. You want to ensure that you have accurate information on each specific asset’s location, condition, purchase date, value, custodian and most recent maintenance.

Inventory tracking refers to objects that are sold, distributed or otherwise consumed by a company. These “temporary” objects include retail items and office supplies. For example, you may have 100 boxes of staples in inventory and when you use one box the tracked quantity decreases by one. You are not concerned with what specific box was used, but rather that 1 of 100 was removed. Ultimately, you want to know how many you have in stock and when to order more.

To begin, compare your objects with the chart below to determine if you need inventory or asset tracking:

Description Asset Inventory
Objects used internally, such as computers, tools, and educational materials
Track depreciation of company property
Track maintenance on company equipment
Objects are for sale or resale
Ability to track/monitor reorder levels
Objects are “temporary” and/or often replace, such a paper, pens and other consumables
Employees may check objects in and out

For more assistance finding the right data collection solution for your needs, contact us at Barcodes, Inc.