What Is the Difference between Inventory Management and Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking and inventory management are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are critical differences between these functions and the software used to improve each of these applications.

Both types of solutions are focused on improving resource optimization and reducing costs. But while both asset and inventory management systems involve tracking items, the difference between inventory management and asset tracking lies in how those items are tracked and — more importantly — why they are tracked. Generally speaking:

  • Assets = what you own
  • Inventory = what you sell (or consume)

The former is a fairly stable and predictable pool of items, while the latter can be a highly volatile moving target.

Asset Tracking

Asset tracking is focused on computers and software (aka: IT assets), tools, machines, equipment, vehicles, important documents, furniture, and other items that companies use internally for their own operations or that are a part of their manufacturing output. Assets often fall under capital expenditures, and there are a fixed number of assets at any given time.

Benefits of Asset Tracking

Asset tracking systems help companies reduce asset auditing efforts while improving asset inventory accuracy to nearly 100%. This produces substantial savings in labor costs, unnecessary equipment losses, and subsequent duplicate purchases.

When the assets being tracked are tools or machines involved in the production of final goods for sale, the value becomes one of increased quality and improved end product, happier customers, and improvements to the bottom line.

When important documents are being tracked, losing a single file could have drastic legal or financial consequences. In this scenario, the value of a modern asset tracking system is equally important to that of quality control/assurance in manufacturing operations.

Implementing Asset Tracking

All these benefits result from a business’s ability to better determine where each asset is, who used it last, when it was last serviced or calibrated, when it was last repaired, where it should be stored, what condition it is in, and when it will need to be replaced. Barcodes, RFID tags, and serial numbers can be used to track items, and their condition or location can be updated in real-time or on a daily/weekly/annual schedule, depending on the application.

The software used for asset management can range from very straightforward, such as a small barcode application, to very complex, like that of a large RFID implementation involving hundreds of fixed readers and automatic real-time tracking for multiple asset types.

Inventory Management

Inventory management systems help companies manage stocks of consumable items across a variety of environments. This can apply to a wide range of markets — from optimizing incoming materials and outgoing finished good in the manufacturing industry to managing on-shelf stocking and re-ordering in retail settings.

Read About : What is inventory? definition and meaning

Unlike assets, inventory is constantly being depleted and replenished. This volatility can also make it a very intricate system to manage depending on the size and the complexity of the inventory use. The amount of raw steel at an automotive factory, the number of toys on a retail store shelf, or the amount of a particular medication at a pharmacy can vary wildly based on market conditions, seasonality, sales and promotions, or even the weather.

How Does Inventory Management Work?

Inventory management leverages supplier data, such as materials costs and available supply of parts, as well as customer data, like sales history, to help improve planning and forecasting for production and sales.

It helps track consumables, replenish stock, and locate items within a warehouse or a store. Typically, these systems include receiving, picking, packing, shipping, and replenishment functions. They are targeted at warehouses, distributors, retail stores, hospitals, and other organizations that buy, sell, or consume goods.

Asset and Inventory Intersection

Assets and inventory do occasionally cross over within the same enterprise. Some companies use asset management solutions to track and manage equipment (like servers, oil pumps, or heavy machinery) for service and maintenance that they have already delivered to customers. In this case, an end use item that was tracked using an inventory management solution during production and sales is now being tracked with an asset management solution.

Both asset tracking and inventory management are crucial applications for companies that are trying to contain costs and improve production. Knowing the difference between these operations and the systems that can improve them will help enterprises better address and manage their unique challenges.

Inventory Asset Management

Accelerate Efficiency with Real-Time Visibility, On-Site and in the Field

Optimizing parts availability while balancing location and stocking levels is a daunting task. With Honeywell automation, you’ll have immediate visibility to inventory – in the warehouse, in transit, at the customer site or in the technician’s hands. And with easy access to accurate parts inventory, you’ll be able to improve forecasting, balance stocking levels, and respond quickly to immediate demands.

With Honeywell, you can choose from several methods of parts identification – from a variety of barcode symbologies and media types to ThermaEtch permanent marking and RFID. And with our rugged barcode and RFID enabled scanners and mobile computers, you’ll be equipped for both in-premise and mobile inventory management at the point of work.

A Prescriptive Solution for Enhancing Inventory Asset Management

Intelligent stock allocation combined with direct, real-time instructions to your workers improves their productivity on site and in the field.

Vehicle-mounted computers
Support task management aligned with the warehouse management system.

Handheld and hands-free scanners
Quickly manage and process your asset data with ease, getting information out to the field and back to the system – all in real time.

Vocollect™ voice solutions 
Generate up to 10-25% productivity improvements by transforming your workflows with voice-enabled devices.

Mobile computers
O/S versatility, large multi-touch displays, superior scanning and battery life offer you more ways to send and receive information.

Global tracking
Delivers satellite-based products and services for tracking, monitoring and protecting your assets.

Integrated Solutions for Your Asset Management Workflows

Our rugged yet agile products work together to provide you with robust solutions for a wide range of inventory and asset management applications, including:

  • Parts identification
  • Shipping and receiving
  • Work in process (WIP) tracking
  • Remote parts management
  • Supply chain management
  • Workforce automation

Dedicated virtual server hosting For IT Inventory

A dedicated virtual server is another term for a virtual private server. Here at Tibus, we tend to refer to virtual private server hosting or VPS hosting, and that is probably the prevalent term. But dedicated virtual server is equally applicable.

What are dedicated virtual servers?
Dedicated virtual servers are virtual servers that appear to the end user to be a dedicated server. In fact, each dedicated virtual server is installed on a computer alongside other dedicated virtual servers, each with its own operating system and hosting the software and data of a different end user. The extent to which the hardware is shared between multiple dedicated virtual server customers varies between web hosting companies. Our VPS customers share physical hardware components, such as server nodes and SAN, with other VPS clients.

This setup is achieved through virtualisation software, which effectively divides a physical server into separate servers, which are called virtual machines (VMs). Each virtual machine has its own operating system, which can be optimised to the client’s requirements, and is granted access to its fair portion of the physical server’s compute, memory and storage.

Benefits of dedicated virtual servers
One of the key advantages of dedicated virtual server hosting is that is generally much cheaper than an actual dedicated server. It also provides the client with root and administrator permissions, which is not always the case with other forms of shared hosting.

Another important benefit is that, although multiple tenants might have virtual machines that sit on the same physical server, they can only access the operating system, not the server. These means that a VM cannot interact with a VM belonging to another tenant.

The end user is also able to add File Transfer Protocol site, a mail server, applications and databases suited to their activities, as well as hosting multiple domains on a single VM.

Disadvantages of dedicated virtual servers
Although a dedicated virtual server mimics a dedicated server, it cannot match a dedicated server in terms of performance. This is logical since dedicated virtual server hosting is based on the idea of sharing the resources of a single server between multiple tenants. Clearly you will have better performance if you have all of the server’s resources at your disposal.

The other main disadvantage is security. Although, as we outlined above, VMs on a dedicated virtual server cannot interact with each other, there are inherent security risks from sharing a physical server that do not apply to dedicated or private server hosting.

Is a dedicated virtual server right for you?
Dedicated virtual servers are a good option for those with a limited budget and a website that isn’t too busy or heavy on resources. For those with high traffic websites or detailed security requirements, it is better to consider a private cloud or dedicated bare metal server hosting environment.

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