Imagine getting a work order request for a burnt-out lightbulb on the second floor of a building. While you might know it’s in a hallway, that’s the only detail you have, and the second floor is enormous. 

So your maintenance technician spends 30 minutes just walking the halls looking for which bulb is out. And when he finally gets there, he discovers he brought the wrong bulb to replace it and doesn’t have the necessary bulb in inventory to make the fix today. Now you’ve lost tons of productivity and the light bulb still isn’t replaced.

Instead, using RFID or barcoding, you can mark each asset within your business to have better insights when you get a request. And the more you know about your assets, the more data and insights you provide your computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to make it smarter about preventative maintenance.

Here’s a look at how you can use RFID and barcoding in your company’s inventory tracking in conjunction with your CMMS to get the most out of your time and resources.

What is Barcode Inventory Management?

Barcodes serve as a visual representation of data. Once you scan that barcode, you can then interpret that data. Barcodes can be linear and one dimensional or two dimensional, like QR codes. 

The great part about barcodes is you can use a smartphone or tablet to scan the code so you don’t have to invest in special devices for this purpose. Generally speaking, barcodes are less expensive than RFID.

For barcodes to work effectively, they need to be easy-to-read and located near the scanner if you plan to make scanning automated. The data you can embed within a barcode is also limited since it’s made up of 20 characters. You also might find that barcodes are easy to damage.

However, all that being said, barcodes can help you manage both your assets and your inventory using the technology you already have. And your technicians will like the fact that they don’t have to carry an additional device with them.

You can connect your CMMS to your inventory management using barcodes. That way, you can automate inventory ordering or notifications to order supplies so that you never run out.  The key to effective barcoding and inventory management is disciplining your team to always scan the barcode when removing an inventory item.

How Does RFID Help Inventory Management?

RFID stands for radio-frequency identification. It’s a small radio tag that you attach to your inventory items and assets. One of the greatest benefits of RFID is that sensors can read them up to 300 feet away. 

This means that you can reduce any human error in forgetting to scan out inventory once used because all items that leave your inventory room would be automatically scanned out. And, because RFID uses radio waves, it doesn’t need a clear line of sight to a scanner to work effectively.

You can reuse RFID tags and encrypt the data on them for security purposes. Smaller businesses might struggle to afford an RFID system though because it is fairly expensive. 

Inventory Tracking and CMMS

Regardless of whether you choose to manage your inventory tracking using barcodes or RFID, you can integrate that data into your CMMS. You’ll have greater insights into how often you need to do maintenance and can schedule preventative maintenance more effectively.

The more data you provide your CMMS, the more of an asset it becomes. Using your CMMS to track inventory will reap large benefits and ensure that when the time comes for asset maintenance, you have what you need to do it.

Eagle CMMS can connect to barcodes and RFID tracking technology to make inventory management simple. Call us at 262-241-3845 or send us an email or schedule a demo where we’ll answer your questions and explain how our technology works.