Asset Tracking – Inventory Audits

Record Scans << See our step-by-step instructions >> The easiest way to start is to simply record the barcode values of the items (‘assets’) you scan. You can collect additional information about the asset when scanning it (e.g. quantity, condition, etc.) and then export that list as a CSV file for processing. However, since the barcode value scanned is just an ID, you will need to associate that ID to the name and description of the asset using Excel or other DB programs.Using a Record Scans service takes only 10 minutes to set up and a few more to create an export template on the Scans page. Once you get a better understanding of the benefits of a validation database you can add that as the next step.

Validate Scans Against a Validation Database << See step-by-step instructions >> It’s a good idea to begin by creating a database of your assets. In that way you can check to see if an asset is already in your inventory database instantly after each scan. You can also use the database to insert descriptions of your assets so your employees, subcontractors or clients can view associated data in-app after each scan. And, if you want the person scanning to record the condition or otherwise comment on the asset, you can add data collection questions to your service which are presented after each scan.If your assets do not have barcodes, you have several options: you can have a printing company print barcode labels for you; you can buy a PC or Mac program to generate and print them yourself; or you can buy a low-cost, handy, portable barcode label printer. The best barcodes to print are QR codes between 0.5″ and 0.8″ square; alternatively you can use DataMatrix, Code 128, Code 39 or other popular formats.

Building a Database: To associate text with a new or existing barcode value (e. g. barcode value ‘01234’ = ‘office laptop’) you can do this in a database (DB) programs like Excel, Google Sheets, etc. You can use codeREADr to help build your database using a separate database building service you create. See more details. After you upload the resulting database-building scan records to you DB program you can save a new sheet in the proper CSV format for uploading as a validation database to codeREADr.com. It is important to note that this CSV file will not be the same file you use to generate your detailed, asset tracking reports. The validation database is simply meant to show the app-user a response’ after each scan indicating that they scanned the correct item.

Asset Tracking Database: Follow the step-by-step instructions noted above to create your asset tracking service(s). Once you have scan records you will be able to view, filter and share them directly on the codeREADr.com ‘Scans‘ page. For more detailed reporting you can a) export scans for importing to your DB program; b) post scans to your own servers; or c) auto-insert scans into third party servers, including Google Sheets.


Advanced Options

Asset Tracking, Maintenance and Updating to Asset-Specific URLs: Asset IDs with an assigned URL specific to that asset can be displayed on a phone or tablet screen if formatted properly for these smaller screens. If the administrator of that URL allows app users to add and/or edit item-specific data, then the following two methods are potential options to consider.

IMPORTANT:

  • Security: With codeREADr, the administrator controls access to viewing/editing within those URLs by issuing credentials to each app user.
  • Traceability: With each scan, codeREADr records the barcode(s) scanned; timestamps; the service, app user and device IDs; related scan properties, including GPS location (option); images; and any other collected data.
  • Connectivity Independence: URL-based tracking requires an Internet (or local) connection. As a fallback, codeREADr will default to collecting data on the device if an internet connection is unstable or unavailable.

URL-in-Barcode Method: 

If you use QR codes for tagging your assets, you can embed a URL in the barcode which includes a base URL with a specific item-ID appended to it. When the app user scans the barcode, codeREADr will present this clickable URL within the response text. The app user taps the URL and be presented in-app with the contents of the Web page(s) specific to that item.

What are the benefits of this method? First, you do not need to upload a database to codeREADr.com. Second, if a consumer scans the QR code a consumer QR scanning app, you can present a consumer-facing Web page specific for that item. Therefore, with one tag you enable not only managed asset tracking with codeREADr but consumer engagement as well. The drawbacks include:

  • the URL is fixed, though you can later use contextual variables and our Alter Scan Value and Alter Scan Response features to add flexibility in the future, if necessary;
  • the QR code can become quite long and complex, making it more difficult to quickly scan; and,
  • you will need to tag every item with QR codes.

How to implement:

Simply create a record-only service type and in Advanced settings use the following for the Alter Scan Value Fields:

  • Alter pattern: http://example.com/assets/(([\s\S]*).{1,}).html
  • Alter replacement:     $1

In this case, the scanned barcode value ‘http://example.com/assets/A42V9.html’ would then be altered to show just the item-ID (A42V9). Your codeREADr.com database could have either the URL or just the item-ID and still be valid. And use the following for the Alter Response Value fields.

  • Alter pattern:  ^[\s\S]*$
  • Alter response:  $0 http://www.base_URL_here $(SCAN_VALUE)

Note: Bold italic means replace with your base URL.

URL-in-Response-Text Method

With this method, the scanned barcode has just the item ID embedded in it, while the base URL is stored globally within your item database stored on codeREADr.com or alternatively on your servers (*). The construction of that URL with contextual variables will automatically append the scanned item ID to the base URL. The app user can then tap the URL and be brought to the contents of the page specific to that item. Tips for creating contextual variables is explained here, both with and without our Webify feature.

There are significant benefits using this method, including a) the flexibility to freely and quickly change the base URL or contextual variables; b) the ability to use the barcodes already on your items; and, c) an easier-to-scan barcode. The drawback of this method is that consumers won’t be able to scan these codes. However, you could put a separate QR code on the item should you want to offer that option.

(*) As an alternative to storing base URLs and contextual variables in a database, you can instead simply create a record-only service type and in Advanced settings use the following for Alter Scan Response.

  • Alter pattern:   ^[\s\S]*$
  • Alter response:    $0 http://www.base_URL_here $(SCAN_VALUE)

Note: Bold italic means replace with your base URL.

in Best Practices with Instructions