From complex factory machinery to workshop tools, many businesses own a large number of assets which each contribute to the successful running of day-to-day operations. If these assets are not stored correctly and taken care of, it can result in huge losses for a business, halting productivity and maybe even preventing the completion of tasks completely. Whether equipment is lost, not returned to its correct station, or stolen, the additional financial strain can make a significant difference to a business owner.
To avoid pricey losses or operation issues, a company should keep a check on its assets by using a labeling system, giving each piece of equipment a unique identifier. In many cases, this will consist of adhesive labels that can be attached to the equipment for easy identification, using specific wording, color coding, or additional information which may be needed for employee use.
When used effectively, offering a whole host of benefits to an organization’s efficiency.
- Prevent equipment from being lost between departments
- Speed up operations by utilizing actionable data
- Remain compliant with industry standards
- Assist employees by providing them with access to the equipment they need
- Prevent the risk of theft through improved security
What Equipment Should Be Labelled?
To implement a strong labeling system, a strategy should be decided on that states how all assets should be identifiable. Those in managerial positions from all departments should come together to discuss which pieces of equipment they believe could benefit from labeling and this information can be used to create a more defined approach to move forward with.
Once the assets involved have been established, it is time to decide on the data you wish to include on your labels. This will play an important role in the tracking and storing of equipment, so the size of the organization will change the way a business can best label its assets. For large-scale companies with a wide range of assets, technological labels can be used to include more advanced information such as IP addresses and location trackers which is handy in scenarios where a timetable is present for a piece of equipment, holding up operations if it is not back on time. For portable devices which can be easily lost or items that are in high demand, investing in tagging can be a worthwhile decision that saves on losses from more expensive pieces of equipment such as laptops or machinery.
In smaller organizations that may not have as much need for advanced labeling systems, a more traditional approach should still be used on assets that have a greater risk of theft or misplacement. The labels should contain basic information such as the identification number, storage location, and any necessary handling or safety details. Depending on the nature of the organization, it is often worth avoiding including the company name or logo as this can become detrimental if secure information gets lost, associating it with the organization if the equipment gets into the wrong hands. Instead, the name of the manufacturer can be included so it can be sent back to the origin if lost and then tracked back to the correct organization through the serial number.
The Different Types Of Labelling Options
Each business is different so there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to labeling strategies. Once you have sat down to establish the needs of your organization, you can choose the best solution for your needs based on the following label types:
Being a common choice in inventory tracking, a barcode is a unique combination of parallel lines which can be read by handheld machines. The barcode itself can hold a short description of an item which saves space and can keep more secure information away from unauthorized personnel. Being effective within both large and small organizations, a barcode labeling system is relatively low cost to implement and can be done without any specialized training, great for operational efficiency which can begin in a short timeframe. Since they can be affixed to equipment without taking up much space or cost, the data needed can be accessed with the swipe of a scanner so everybody can save time.
Taking over the industry by storm, QR codes are continually being implemented by more businesses as a more modern approach to traditional labeling. Unlike the parallel lines used in barcodes, a QR code is made up of small pixels in a square shape that can then be scanned by mobile devices. With no specialist equipment needed and incredibly fast readability, a QR code labeling system can be instantly scanned with a smartphone, removing the need for additional machines as employees can use their phones or work phone. This method can be incredibly practical for employees who work across different sites, allowing them access to the equipment they need through the convenience of a mobile phone app.
Companies involved with warehouse management and retail operations tend to opt for RFID tags as they are the best solution for time-sensitive environments. The tag is a small electronic device that is made up of a chip and an antenna, attached to an item so it can be scanned with a device to decode the information within. Unlike other labeling methods, the reader and the asset don’t need to be beside each other to work, so they can be scanned without having to be right by every single piece of equipment in a warehouse. For bigger organizations, the ability to take mass actions and check assets in and out from large shipments makes the switch to RFID tags highly worthwhile, however, they do require batteries to operate which require ongoing maintenance costs.
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