Asset Intelligence and Management

Asset Intelligence and Management

EZOfficeInventory Blogs Asset Tagging Best Practices

Asset tagging: Benefits, Examples and Best Practices 

Asset tagging

Asset tags are an effective way for businesses to identify assets, classify them into categories, and add additional information to them. From streamlining asset tracking to helping retrieve information with a quick scan, asset tagging covers it all. 

Asset tagging is a systematic approach to managing and tracking assets throughout their lifecycle. The practice is of paramount importance to businesses as it minimizes the time spent looking for assets. 

This blog explains the importance of asset tags and the best practices involved in fully implementing asset tagging. 

What is an asset tag?

An asset tag is a unique identifier allocated to physical and digital assets. Serving as a label or marker, it contains details – including asset name, identification number, procurement date, location, group and other associated asset information. 

Every business has hundreds of assets that are circulated around offices and locations for several purposes. For instance, a construction business has 100 forklifts spread across 20 construction sites. To mitigate the risk of loss and misplacement, asset tags can be used extensively to identify and track each individual item. It helps site managers quickly retrieve asset details in case the asset gets misplaced to return it to its rightful owner. 

Different types of asset tags

Every organization has specific requirements pertaining to asset use. Depending on needs, every business opts for different labels and designs them accordingly. There are different types of asset labels that can be utilized for efficient asset tracking. Let’s look at some examples of asset tags: 

-> Barcodes

A barcode is a machine-readable pattern of black and white lines that is used to encode large quantities of information. The recent 2D versions of barcodes can store up to 7000 characters and use patterns of squares, dots, lines and other shapes to visually present data. 

Once you scan the barcode, you can make edits and update the information as per your business requirement. The ability to customize asset labels also enables businesses to design barcode labels and add business-specific information to it, in addition to general asset data.

Barcodes are best for any business looking to label assets without incurring huge administrative costs and wants to provide easy accessibility to information to various users. 

-> QR codes 

A QR code is a 2D code that can store wide varieties of data, including alphabets and numerics. A traditional QR code consists of white and black squares against a white background. The purpose of such a design is to ensure fast readability and quick scanning. 

Using QR codes, businesses can provide users instant access to asset details and even manuals and instructions to explain how to use an item. This way, businesses can ensure optimal use of items and give easy access to instruction manuals.  

Users do not need to carry laptops or heavy scanners to scan the QR codes. They can simply use mobile devices to scan the code anytime. This is especially useful when your business requires you to work on-field, such as construction sites. If you are a construction manager, then you can check the availability of a forklift on-spot without having to look for manual records.


-> RFID tags

RFID tags are small devices encompassing RFID chips and small antennas. The RFID chips consist of electronically stored information; the antenna enables the tag to transmit information to the RFID readers with radio-frequency signals. These tags can be attached to assets along with a code, and the tag can be read with a scanner. RFID tags operate through batteries attached to them separately allowing the antennas to send signals. 

RFID establishes a seamless communication channel by allowing wireless and contactless information. This means the asset does not need to be present physically to scan it. If the user has the item barcode stored somewhere or in the system, they can easily update its information. 

With advanced RFID tagging, businesses can track asset movements once they are moved from the warehouse to the customer or within the facility. This increases asset security helping prevent theft and loss and automating asset check in and check outs. As per a report, RFID improves the accuracy of inventory by 65%-95% – expediting business operations. 

The decision to use any of these asset labels primarily depends on the structure and operations of your business. You can decide what technology suits your needs the best based on priorities, budget, and how you want to save time or costs. The decision is simple: choose what helps you achieve your ultimate business goal.

Purpose of asset tags 

Asset tags are a fundamental component of asset management and help businesses organize their assets better throughout their lifecycle. By using asset tags businesses can efficiently and accurately consolidate asset information into an easily-scannable code. They serve a variety of purposes based on their type and use, such as:

-> Asset identification 

The main function of any asset tag is to serve as an identifier or marker for an asset. To achieve this, your tag must contain complete information about your asset – including its name, location, owner and identification number. This way, if the asset is moved across locations, the users can simply scan the code to assess where to return the asset. 

Asset tags enable you to track your assets in real-time. You can update the asset status within the system and the change will be reflected on the selected tags. This greatly helps in providing accurate location information about an asset within seconds. 

Recommendation: Print compatible barcode labels

-> Security

Asset labels are an effective way to secure your assets and prevent unauthorized users from misusing them. Expensive machinery and highly critical assets are at great risk of theft. The subsequent cost of loss and theft could be huge! 

According to the National Equipment Register Report, construction businesses lose around $400 million dollars annually owing to heavy construction equipment theft. This is majorly due to lack of on-site protection and implementation of asset tags that could be used to track the asset location. 

Tags help prevent this: the sheer knowledge and fear that unexpected asset movement can be detected discourages individuals from engaging in theft. Discrepancies in asset count at a particular location can be detected through a scan helping retrieve lost assets. The asset tags can also be labeled as emergency signs for hazardous equipment, so on-site accidents can be prevented. 

Recommendation: Tamper-Evident Barcodes

-> Mobility

Some assets are moved around facilities and locations frequently, such as tools or small inventory items. Moving them without any identification can make it difficult to eventually track them for retrieval and return to the primary location. With asset tags, you can automate the process of data entry and retrieval so the new users only have to scan the code to return the tools when required. 

Wireless data access through RFID codes further improve real-time tracking by allowing users to identify if an asset is in transit or has reached the location without checking it physically. This capability also expedites the check in and check out processes, supporting efficient workflows. 

Recommendation: Two-Part Asset Labels

-> Durability 

The asset tags you are using must be durable enough to last long periods of time. This is especially important for assets used in harsh environments, such as construction sites, since there is risk of tags coming off. With durable tags, you can avoid potential costs associated with replacements. Changing tags on assets that have already been checked out to a different location can be a real struggle. 

The solution to this is using tags made of hard stick-on material to withstand all sorts of use. Laminate your tags so they are resistant to wear and tear and can keep their intactness.

Recommendation: Polyester Asset Labels

What information should I put on my labels?

The data you decide to include on your label plays an important role in recovering and monitoring assets. With technological advancements, you can enter additional details on the tag – such as geo-location or IP addresses. Doing this is extremely handy especially when you have a lot of tools being checked in and checked out on a daily basis. To make management processes as accurate as possible, you should therefore design your labels with care. 

The first thing any label contains is the traditional serial number or asset identification number. Apart from that, you have the leeway to enter any particular data points which allow you to differentiate one item from another. This could include location, handling instructions, department, etc. For security purposes, many firms choose not to mention their business name. Say for instance, you lose a laptop or a hard drive. If it has a tag with the company name, anyone who finds the device can use it against the organization.

To help with recovery, businesses put the asset manufacturer’s name and contact details on the tags. This practice proves to work in favor of the organization as it traces the lost equipment back to the manufacturer without the risk of revealing the business name. The vendor can then get in touch with the company directly.

Overall, it is best to play it safe with sensitive information on asset labels.

Benefits of asset tags 

Asset tagging has several advantages across varieties of businesses and industries. It serves as a straightforward and structured approach to quickly identifying and tracking assets, especially for asset-intensive businesses. As per FutureMarketInsights, the market for asset tags is likely to experience a compound aggregate growth rate of 5.6% from 2023 to 2033, suggesting a noticeable increase in the overall use of asset tags globally. 

The following image illustrates  how asset tags are in high demand and help achieve higher business growth. 

why are asset tags important?

Best practices for the implementation of effective asset tagging

Employing the most efficient and cost-effective ways to handle your assets is the way to achieve higher business productivity. Asset tagging is one of such techniques as it enables businesses to save time and costs incurred on manually accessing large amounts of asset information. It not only simplifies everyday tasks but helps increase transparency at the workplace and safeguard valuable resources. 

For this an asset tagging system can be used so a systematic asset tagging approach can be adopted. Let’s look at some ways you can use asset labels to their full potential using an asset tagging system: 

1. Categorize assets using unique IDs 

The first and foremost step to successfully using asset tags is creating an asset repository that consists of all assets, including their details. Such a repository serves as a central database to store asset records and can be used to establish a well-functioning asset tagging system.

Using the data stored, categorize assets and assign unique identification numbers to each of them. These identification numbers are important to differentiating similar assets from one another. For instance, if there are 100 Macbooks in the Apple laptops category, then their model and identification number will help generate tags that can be used to identify each of them separately. 

Categorizing assets with unique IDs increases the ability to track items easily and pull their information from the system. For instance, you can assign different codes to different locations, such as NY for the branch in New York. Similarly, devices can each have their specific codes as well, such as L00 for laptops. You can then pick a specific set of numbers for different departments, such as 100 for IT. The final code for a laptop from the IT department in New York will therefore be NYL00100.

2. Assign color codes to assets 

It can be difficult to differentiate between assets that are the same type. This is particularly challenging for businesses that have large amounts of similar machinery, such as a construction group, or a business that gets new projects every season requiring new assets. Color coding the assets makes it easier to recognize different assets at a glance. 

For instance, an attendance marker with a retinal scan can be coded green on the asset tag and the one with a thumb print blue. This makes it convenient for large scale businesses to sort assets better and filter them based on specific attributes. 

Color codes are highly useful where operations might be conducted at night time or in dimly lit environments. Colored asset tags increase the visibility of tags there – enabling users to easily locate and scan the labels for information. 

3. Add procurement details 

Adding procurement details for high-use assets is a wise practice. It helps you record their depreciation from the day they are procured so the final asset value recorded is accurate. These details provide a clear visibility into the assets’ procurement details, such as their procurement cost and associated expenses. With this enhanced visibility, you can do better budgeting and do a financial analysis of each asset easily. 

Procurement details are essential for an asset’s lifecycle management. By simply scanning the code, you can check what stage of lifecycle an asset is at. For instance, if a tractor breaks down on site, then the driver can scan its barcode, see whether it is nearing the end of its life and decide to send it for service. New items that are undergoing maintenance more frequently can be quickly flagged for a more in-depth examination.

4. Apply physical tags to assets 

Before generating each asset tag and assigning it, it is important to assess the value of each asset. A business may have limited funds for tagging so the management needs to determine what assets should be prioritized. Some assets might not be a good tagging investment because tracking and monitoring them is just not worth the effort.

The next step is to print the labels you have designed and apply them to assets. To ensure this, make sure that you choose the appropriate tagging technology that is in accordance with the nature of the assets and available budget. Make sure that you place the labels strategically on the assets to ensure maximum visibility and accessibility. The tag’s placement should be in accordance with the asset’s surface, and use and to maximize the ease of scanning. 

So, choose tags that are durable and strong, and can be easily applied to assets. 

Best practices for asset tagging


In short, asset tagging is a practical approach to identifying and tracking assets throughout their lifecycle. It is a complex task that should be catered to with diligence and care. While tagging your assets, make sure you avoid:

  • Miscategorizing assets 
  • Missing asset details, such as asset name, description and model number
  • Neglecting the tag’s durability and quality

Making sure that you have the right tags to better manage your asset is critical. Implementing a  well-functioning asset tagging system helps expedite this process and makes it convenient for users to generate, and store asset tags for future reference. So, identify assets quicker and better with asset tags and improve your productivity! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is asset tagging necessary?

Asset tagging is an essential part of asset management that helps categorize and track assets better and enable quick retrieval of information. Whether asset tagging is necessary or not can be determined by businesses depending on their organizational needs and asset management technique. Asset tagging is, however, necessary to ensure efficient operations and keep an account of your assets. 

2. Which assets should I label?

Answering the following questions helps businesses decide what assets they should tag for tracking and monitoring: 

  • Which tools have a greater risk of theft or misplacement?  
  • Which assets are used the most? 
  • Is there a chance of instruments moving between departments?

You can decide what assets to label by assessing their utility, determining what assets are most likely to be lost across locations and recognizing the high-value/high-demand assets. Assessing what assets have confidential information is also a critical factor. For instance, hard drives and laptops are likely to store sensitive information necessitating tracking.  

3. How to do asset tracking?

Asset tracking is a necessary step to fully manage your assets. Major steps include:

  • Uniquely identifying assets
  • Consolidating asset information
  • Assigning identification numbers to assets
  • Generating barcodes and assigning labels 
  • Creating reports for data analysis

These steps combined with the adoption of a robust asset tracking system, help businesses improve efficiency and reduce costs. 

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