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Using Asset Tracking Tags to Prevent Tool and Equipment Loss

9 December, 2020

A single tool or small asset isn’t a large capital expense but losing it can throw a wrench in a company’s ability to get a job done. When a tool or other asset goes missing from a service vehicle, customer service —and ultimately, customer satisfaction — can suffer. Asset tracking tags, also known as proximity sensors, head these problems off at the pass.

Tags that track the location of keys and cell phones have been around for ages, but purpose-built tags designed to track field assets have emerged — and improved — in recent years, helping companies keep tabs on assets that weren’t previously tracked. The tags are now cheaper and smaller (small enough to fit on hand tools), with batteries that last longer (up to two years), making them a cost-effective asset tracking solution.

Lost tools equal lost time

Service technicians need their tools to do their jobs. If an indispensable tool goes missing, work stops until it’s located. A search for a lost asset can eat up an hour or more of a technician’s time. That setback can disrupt their schedule for a day or more. The company loses money due to reduced productivity and may face fines for late project completion.  The delay may also create ill will with the customer, who may incur additional costs and face inconveniences as a result.

Tags can make the search for an individual tool, toolbox or other asset — anything from a signal meter to a generator to a ladder — faster and easier. Tags that integrate with a Bluetooth-enabled telematics device provide an even bigger bang for the buck.

CalAmp’s smart proximity sensor, iOn Tag, communicates via Bluetooth with a telematics edge device on the vehicle it’s paired with. When the vehicle pulls away from a job site without an associated tool or piece of equipment on board, the system alerts drivers and their managers almost immediately. It also provides the last known location of the asset, enabling the technician to quickly return to the site, locate the item and proceed to the next job.

Ruggedized proximity sensors like the iOn™ Tag can handle the weather and job site conditions other tags can’t.

A significant return on investment

Telematics-integrated BLE asset tracking tags often pay for themselves in short order. Suppose each truck in a 100-vehicle fleet leaves behind six assets per year. If a service technician earns $45 per hour and spends an hour looking for each asset, that’s $270 in labor per vehicle, or $27,000 annually over the entire fleet. Replace six assets at an average cost of $500 each and that’s another $3,000 lost per vehicle each year, or $300,000 for the entire fleet, for a total annual cost of $327,000.

If telematics-integrated tags help the same business recover 80% of lost assets and reduce the time it takes workers to locate them to 30 minutes, the annual savings amounts to $264,300. A system that costs $16,400 for a 100-vehicle fleet with six tagged tools on each vehicle would yield a net savings of $247,900, and a return on investment of 1,612%.

Asset tracking tags have come a long way. Now small enough to fit on a hammer, rugged enough to withstand job site conditions and cheap enough to put on every portable asset, they’re a smart solution for businesses looking to create efficiencies, streamline operations, improve customer service and add to the bottom line.



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