Why RFID for IT Asset Tracking?

Year-end IT asset audits can cause major headaches for property or asset managers in IT organizations. IT equipment that is audited, span the spectrum – servers, desktops printers, copiers, projectors, network equipment, laptops, tablets and  even smartphones. Both government and commercial organizations undergo the same tedious but essential process when it comes to trying to complete their year-end audits. We hear stories of asset managers crawling beneath desks and searching the dark corners of closets looking for misplaced IT equipment. These searches not only take up the asset managers’ time, but also the time of the equipment users themselves, thereby negatively impacting productivity across the entire organization.

1. RFID inventory scan is faster and accurate

With our RFID asset tracking solutions, one of our customers Lawrence Berkeley Labs who are tracking their IT assets in addition to their lab equipment, were able to reduce their audit time from 3 months to 3 weeks! The time needed to do an audit using RFID is a tiny fraction of what it takes to audit using barcode readers. It takes less than 10% of the time needed for a barcode scan. The improvement in productivity is even more dramatic if the organization had been doing audits manually, with pen and paper.

2. RFID allows more inventory audits due to its speed and efficiency

Most IT equipment, with the exception of mobile equipment like laptops and tablets, are expected to stay put for the most part. However, that is often not the case. Equipment might be removed because it isn’t working properly. It is quickly stashed in an already overcrowded closet – out of sight, out of mind. Someone retired or moved departments – their equipment could be swiftly repurposed for some other use within the department. All this happens without the knowledge of the uninformed asset or property manager. These are a few reasons why year-end audits tend to be such protracted nightmares.

Since RFID scanning is so efficient, asset managers are able to take periodic snapshots of their inventory all through the year, instead of just doing a single inventory survey at year end. This allows them to be able to detect a missing item earlier. Owners of the missing equipment tend to remember what happened to it, because of less elapsed time. Asset inventory is adjusted all through the year, with the asset locations updated during the periodic scans. So, when the year-end audit comes around, there are very few surprises with regards to missing equipment.

3. Reconcile inventory audit with one button click

Once the audits are done, reconciliation might also take an inordinate length of time. Figuring out the differences between your scanned list of assets and the list that your Finance folks (Finance list) have given you, can be tricky and cumbersome. Our AssetPulse IT asset tracking solution allows reconciliation to be performed with one button click, much to the relief of our users! The reconciliation gives you the list of assets in the Finance list that were scanned and found. It also provides you with a list of assets in the Finance list that still need to be found and a list of assets that were found, but were not in the Finance list.

Automate your IT audits with AssetPulse :

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Equipment Tracking and Calibration Management in Cleanrooms Automated with AssetPulse RFID Asset Tracking Solution

RFID Cleanroom

Do you know what equipment has to go to Metrology for calibration? Do you know when it was removed from the cleanroom and whether it has gone to Metrology? Was it brought back to the Cleanroom and if so, when?

Equipment Management in Cleanroom

Cleanroom management in a biotech or high-tech company poses several challenges, many of which, if not addressed effectively, can severely impact the company’s bottom line. One of the many challenges is facilitating the strict adherence of the calibration schedule for all test and measurement equipment. This means, not only ensuring that the equipment is removed from the Cleanroom and sent to Metrology, but also that the equipment is returned to the right location in the Cleanroom from Metrology. Cleanroom management has very little visibility into this process. Several times, equipment may leave the Cleanroom, but is not delivered to Metrology in a timely fashion. Often calibration is completed, but the Cleanroom is not aware of it and the equipment is sitting on some shelf waiting to be returned to the Cleanroom.

RFID Cleanroom

AssetPulse Solution for Lab Equipment Management in Cleanroom

A global medical device company faced similar challenges for several years. These problems were of course exacerbated by its explosive growth, thus exposing it to more severe consequences. Over the years, it tried to address them with process modifications and applying various technologies.  With the AssetPulse lab equipment tracking solution – a combination of well-selected RFID tags, appropriate reader configurations and well-tuned asset tracking system, they were able to finally address the problems effectively. Not only were they able to get complete visibility of how the RFID tagged test equipment moved between the Cleanroom and Metrology, but they were proactively alerted when there was a break in the process – when equipment wasn’t delivered to Metrology in a timely manner or if calibrated equipment wasn’t returned to the Cleanroom when ready.  

Automated Asset Tracking software

  • Equipment movement from and to Cleanroom were monitored in real time by Fixed RFID readers
  • Metrology doors/portals were instrumented with fixed RFID readers.
  • Additionally, shelves that held calibrated equipment, waiting to be picked by Metrology were RFID instrumented.

The AssetGather automated RFID asset tracking solution alerted Equipment Managers that calibration was completed and that they could pick up their equipment at Metrology. Automatic tracking alleviated the shortcomings of the manual process involved in keeping track of equipment moving between Cleanrooms and Metrology.

In order to realize the full potential of AssetPulse RFID asset tracking solution it is very critical to choose optimal RFID tags. Not only do they have to be mounted on very small pieces of equipment including 6” rulers, but they also have to withstand the sterile environment of the Cleanroom. This means they have to withstand chemical wipe-downs and sometimes more rigorous cleansing.  AssetPulse offers tried and tested RFID tags of different form factors and properties like the ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions and to sustain exposure to chemicals.

When it comes to High-Tech Cleanrooms, equipment might need to be sent to third-party calibration houses. One or more locations can be designated for holding equipment that is being sent out for calibration. These locations are monitored automatically and the Cleanroom Equipment managers can be notified when equipment is removed from these locations to be sent out. When they are returned from the Calibration company, the managers are notified, so they can go pick them up from those locations and place them back in the Cleanroom.

 

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