Tools and Equipment Loss Prevention
Prevention is the best medicine, and that’s true for more than just your health. This adage can also be applied to many different aspects of running an efficient business, and inventory management is a perfect example. It’s much easier to prevent theft and loss than it is to recover assets once they disappear.
There are several ways to both prevent loss and recover inventory. One efficient, cost-effective solution is to implement QR codes as part of your inventory management process.
What Is a QR Code?
A QR code is a unique type of barcode. It’s square and can be scanned by most smartphones and tablets. When scanned, the QR code can bring up a whole host of information, including details about the inventory item.
How Do QR Codes Help to Prevent Theft and Loss of Inventory?
Using QR codes to label inventory is straightforward, but how can doing so help with loss prevention? The answer lies in how you set up your inventory management system and incorporate the codes into your processes.
Here are some of the ways QR codes can assist in loss prevention:
- Labeling: By affixing a permanent QR code label to your tools and other equipment, you're not only tracking your own inventory, you're creating a permanent indication of ownership. That alone can be a powerful theft deterrent. These labels can be made tamper-resistant as well.
- Recovery: The same QR code that shows an item is yours can be the proof you need to get it back if a theft or loss occurs. When someone finds the item, a quick scan can prove its ownership. The system can even be used to send you a secure message after the code has been scanned.
- Check in/out: These codes can easily be used as part of a program to check equipment in and out, tracking who has the tool or equipment at any time and who was last responsible for it. A QR code can also be used to show where the equipment was used. Adding this layer of accountability reduces loss.
- Ease of use: Many different devices, including smartphones, can scan QR codes. This level of simplicity makes the codes easy to use properly, which in turn makes them more effective. You don't need to invest in hardware or software to begin using QR codes. The information can be accessed online after it’s scanned. Best of all, this simplicity means little (if any) training is required for the team. Putting all of these items together means a QR-code inventory system is a breeze to implement and maintain.
- GPS functionality: Since smartphones are commonly used to scan the codes, it’s simple to utilize the phone’s GPS functionality concurrently. When the item is scanned, you’ll not only know that it was scanned into the system, you’ll be able to get a GPS location for it at the same time. This lets you map the location of all of your tools and equipment.
- Quick audits: With a code on every item, you can quickly perform audits and determine whether every item has been accounted for.
Beyond Loss Prevention: More Benefits to Using QR Codes in Inventory Management
The purposes described above are not the only benefits to this type of system. Additional benefits include:
- Multi-purpose: Unlike the traditional barcode system, QR codes are accessible without specialized hardware. This means end users can scan the code with a personal phone and get information about the product in question or even about your company if you choose to set it up this way.
- Cost-effective: Not having to invest in hardware makes this is a very practical solution. Few other types of asset tags can be implemented with so little expense.
- Easily customized: This system's true beauty is that you can customize what displays on the scanner's screen when a code is read. You can include a picture of the inventory item or tool, product number (or make and model), information on the maintenance of the item, warranty details, or serial number. This means the system can be used across a multitude of industries and for businesses of varying sizes. It can even be customized to work with your existing inventory management system.
- Customized implementation: Just as the output can be customized, so can the physical implementation of a QR code system. For example, these codes can be combined with RFID tags, or they can be created from multiple materials to suit your needs.
- The tag can help your team: The information displayed after scanning the asset tag can be used for much more than tracking. For example, it could contain a user guide for the tool, thus acting as on-site help. On the other side of the coin, this flexible system makes it easy for your team to quickly update information about the equipment as needed.
Using QR codes for asset tags has many benefits. They can track inventory and prevent loss. They can be implemented with very little upfront investment and require little to no training to get started. Both the asset tag and the software output can be customized. On top of all of that, no special hardware or software is necessary. With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why QR codes are showing up everywhere and why they make such an efficient and effective inventory management system.
"Tool Tracking Made Easy." GoCodes Asset Management. QR Code Asset Tag, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. .