What Is Asset Tagging?

Just about every business owns a variety of assets—investments like machinery, equipment, and technology. But keeping these assets organized isn’t always easy. That’s why so many companies rely on asset tagging to stay on top of all their high-value inventory.

In this article, we’ll define asset tagging then discuss what information you should print on an asset tag. We’ll also talk about what kind of assets ought to be tagged and then walk you through how to tag your inventory. Finally, we’ll discuss how the right inventory management software can help you streamline your asset tagging strategy. 

Asset Tagging Definition

Asset tagging is an inventory management strategy that requires affixing labels or “tags” to assets. Each tag identifies an individual asset and may display additional information about the item as well. An asset is defined as any piece of inventory not expected to be converted into cash within 12 months. 

So, what is an asset tag? While asset tags are usually small and feature key details like serial numbers and item names, your business can customize the tags to include more information. Alternatively, you could link your asset tags to a barcode, QR code, or serial number that provides details about the item. 

Some details you may want to include on your asset tags:

  • Current location
  • User history
  • Condition
  • Item description
  • Depreciation history 
  • Maintenance reports and schedules 


What are the benefits of asset tagging?

There are lots of benefits of asset tagging, including loss prevention, faster inventory counts, and tighter inventory control. Regular asset tagging can also help keep your business running more productively and profitably. Here’s a little bit more detail about some of the top benefits of asset tagging.

1. More effective loss prevention

By keeping your inventory organized and tagging your most valuable assets, you can help reduce inventory loss in a variety of ways.

For starters, a more organized inventory management system affords companies better oversight of their investments. And some businesses take loss prevention to the next level, adding RFID tags or other anti-theft tags to their assets, too. 

2. More efficient inventory counts

Whether your business conducts many inventory cycle counts or one year-end inventory count, an asset tagging system can make audits significantly faster. That’s because asset tagging not only forces you to get organized, but also helps you create an asset tracking system your company uses every time inventory changes hands.

By using an inventory app like Sortly during inventory audits, your tagged assets can be counted quickly. In fact, with the right inventory software, you can track your assets perpetually—instead of physically counting them every day, week, or month.    

Related: Perpetual vs. Physical Inventory: What’s the Difference?

3. Tighter inventory control

Inventory control is the practice of having just enough inventory to meet customer demand without overordering. And when practiced optimally, inventory control can save just about every business tons of time, money, and stress. 

By asset tagging, your business knows what it has on hand and where to find it—fast. That can make all the difference between a profitable business versus one that’s losing money on high-value items it really doesn’t need. 

4. A more efficient business

All in all, companies that track and tag assets tend to run more efficiently than those that don’t. That’s because companies that understand, organize, and manage their inventory can find what they need in a hurry—and know well ahead of time if something is out of stock, falling out of warranty, or set to expire.


What assets must be tagged?

Ideally, your company should tag all assets across every location, including storage and warehouse facilities. Some assets that are ideal for tagging include high-value equipment, such as medical devices, computers, and machinery. You’ll also want to tag assets that are frequently moved around to different locations or checked in and out. 

The purpose of asset tagging is to keep an eye on everything you’ve got. And while tracking and tagging every last asset would be great, it’s not always a possibility for all businesses. Your company may choose to only tag assets over a certain value—and that’s okay, too. 

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How to tag assets

There are four main steps when tagging assets: assigning each asset a unique ID, selecting a tag, listing item details about each asset, and then physically “tagging” the asset. 

Whether you choose to tag every asset on your inventory list or just a vital few, this is a great opportunity to get organized. We recommend beginning an asset tagging project at the same time as an inventory audit, such as a cycle count or a year-end inventory count. 

Step 1: Assign a unique ID

In asset tagging, each asset needs a unique identification number such as a serial number. An SKU won’t do the trick—SKUs are shared by all identical items, whereas a truly unique serial number is different for every item. 

Step 2: Pick a tag

You can pick an asset tag from a variety of options, including GPS trackers, RFID tags, barcodes, and QR codes. 

In some cases, you’ll also need to select the size, style, and material of the asset tag. Many businesses prefer to use a heavy-duty plastic or metal that is resistant to damage. 

Step 3: Choose your details

While asset tags always include a unique identifying number or code, you can choose to add other information to your asset tag if you wish. This can include anything from condition to value to a maintenance schedule. 

Alternatively, you can add a barcode, QR code, or other data-rich code to the asset tag. When using an app like Sortly, you’ll be able to scan these codes to instantly reveal more information about an item. 

Step 4: Affix your tag

Whatever tag you’ve selected and whichever information you’ve decided to display, the final step in asset tagging is physically affixing the tag to your asset. 

To ensure your asset tagging system helps keep your company organized long-term, verify that your inventory management system and your asset tracking system are both up to date and in sync. 


How Sortly helps track inventory assets

Sortly is an inventory and asset tracking solution that helps you track assets in real-time across your entire business. Tracking assets in Sortly is simple, seamless, and fast. You can organize, track, and manage your assets from any device, in any location. Sortly’s barcode and QR code capabilities allow you to generate and print custom labels to affix to your physical assets so your employees can check assets in and out as they use them. You can also upload asset photos to visually track their condition over time. With Sortly, you’ll always know where an asset is, who used it, when, what condition it’s in, and any other data you want to track, helping you to minimize loss and avoid related delays. That means you can work more efficiently, plan for jobs better, and serve your customers to their highest satisfaction. 

If your company would benefit from improved inventory asset tracking, try Sortly free for 14 days.