Asset Tag, Or Barcode Label?

When considerbarcode taging the right security labels for your application, you will be faced with two choices: the asset tag, or the barcode label. Each has its advantages, but which label type is right for you?

Barcodes
There are many different products that fall under the barcode label definition. Barcode labels actually make up an incredibly large part of the market today, and can be seen on virtually every product we buy.

But in general, the bar code label communicates data in a machine-readable, fast and virtually error-free way. When a bar code label is scanned, a data set is revealed, or it references some sort of content located in a central database. But that’s the only use for barcode labels.

Tracking
Barcode labels are used in the mailing industry to track all manner of items, whether it is stock on pallets in a store, containers in a warehouse or an envelope or parcel being delivered to a home or office.

Organising
Barcode labels can also be used to organise things like inventory in a warehouse, items located on racks or shelves, and even items that may be sold on a showroom floor.

Systemising
The central database access that barcode labels contain can also be used in offices where there are many folders or files. From that central database, information about the location, date and time of modification and other attributes of files and folders can be revealed.

Expediting
The fact that bar codes can be so easily read and information so quickly revealed make them ideal for environments where commercial or retail products need to be or tend to be sold quickly.

Asset Tags
In situations where valuable property needs to be tracked, asset tags can provide a secure method of doing so. The tracking and securing of asset tags occurs via an asset management system. Commonly-tracked items include:

  • Fixed machinery;
  • Tools;
  • Vehicles and construction machinery;
  • Medical equipment, computers and electronics;
  • Office furniture.

Asset tags can also be used to track property information like a description of the item, where it is located, what kind of condition it’s in, service records and similar information.

Physical Differences of Labels and Tags
Where bar code security labels are often pressed down onto an object, a tag will normally attach to an item via a ring and dangle loosely. However, the asset tag is a little bit different. These too are usually pressed to an item’s surface.

Due to reasons of efficiency and economy, most bar code labels are inexpensive as well as lightweight. In an indoor office environment, barcode labels are usually printed onto paper with an adhesive backing. These types of barcode are not intended for long-term use.

The asset tag, however, is of a more permanent nature. Because they are used to secure and identify property, asset tags must be able to withstand the weather, as well as any upset due to transportation or inventory.

Ease of Creation
The bar code label can be printed from virtually anywhere using software as simple as a word processing programme. Of course, there are more advanced options available that allow for more complex barcodes to be printed.

The asset tag must last over the long term, and as such, must be printed on a more durable material, usually aluminium or polyester. Some asset tags contain images for greater security, which are embedded in the tag’s material itself.

The tag you choose will depend entirely on what is being labelled, and how secure that labelling needs to be.

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