More items than ever before can be tracked digitally as IoT technology connects the physical world to the virtual. Taking advantage of sensors, barcodes, chips, tags, and even satellites makes physical objects accessible and easy to view and manage. Asset Management and Inventory Tracking are growing industries that often use IoT technology in this way, but these terms refer to different things.
The difference is: One is what you sell or consume and the other is what you have. Inventory tracking means working with a comparatively volatile resource, while assets are static and aren’t supposed to move around as much.
The items that inventory tracking tackles are temporary: they are sold, restocked, moved around, and shipped to customers or back to warehouses. Commonly used in retail, inventory tracking relies on real-time knowledge of inventory quantities and locations. Once inventory reaches the customer’s hands, it’s no longer in need of tracking.
Enterprises that employ asset management systems are keeping tabs on the physical moving pieces of production. Assets in need of management include:
- construction equipment
- repair tools
- fleet vehicles
- solar panels or other energy collecting equipment
- armored cars
- oil pumps
- high priority documents
- protective gear
Inventory Tracking and Asset Management Together
Used sometimes in tandem to manage remote assets, like beverage machines or ice cream freezers. Restocking alerts (inventory alerts) that go to a centralized app can be a part of an enterprise asset management solution for this type of setup, in addition to repair and maintenance information (asset management). Fleet services, which rely on repair vans, need their repair components tracked (inventory tracking) so that decision-makers know how many of each component are in each vehicle. And sensor-enabled repair vans can send out repair and maintenance alerts, as well as location data (asset management) which allows for automating work orders.