Keeping track of equipment has been an important practice for many years. Individuals and businesses alike are in a constant need to know about the physical situation of their goods. In today’s expansive world where businesses operate from multiple locations, sometimes in different countries, the need to actively track their equipment cannot be overlooked.
Businesses of all kinds benefit from some sort of equipment track system because not only it helps prevent theft, damage or loss but also because equipment forms a major chunk of a business’s assets. Management of these assets is essential for compliance and industry standards
The bottom line is that equipment tracking systems are vital for delivering data on the whereabouts of important equipment. In this article, we will examine the devices available to track your equipment.
Equipment Tracking Systems
It is hard to look around today and not see a barcode. The fact that this piece of technology has seen little change but more use over time is a testament to its versatility. While barcodes might seem like an outdated technology, advances in scanning technology have increased their value. Over 90 percent of all equipment tracking systems in the world employ barcodes.
They are a favored choice since they are inexpensive in nature. The value they offer in terms of capability for its costs is unbeatable. They cost pennies and can be employed in bulk to track low cost inventory items.
A great point of value is that unlike other equipment tracking systems, barcodes can be scanned by various types of scanners meaning you are not limited to using one type of technology. They work equally well with the state of the art handheld scanners as well as smartphone cameras.
RFID uses radio frequency chips/tags to transmit information about a piece of equipment to a receiver. It allows you to capture information about a piece of equipment from a distance. This is ideal for situations where the item may not be readily accessible. The ability to scan multiple items at one time is a massive time saver and using RFID tags allows you to do that.
A few tradeoffs which you might have to plan for include having a special device to scan RFID tags. The range of devices that can scan RFID tags are limited and incur a greater expense.
GPS equipment tracking systems are one of the more modern but also popular equipment tracking systems today. For more sophisticated purposes, GPS equipment trackers offer benefits that barcodes simply cannot. There are two types of GPS equipment tracking systems which we will explore further.
GPS: Active GPS Tags
The location of your equipment can be tracked in virtually real time. This is useful when you are trying to track a high value asset.
There is no need for someone to actively scan the asset for you to receive its location. This is useful when trying to track your package during long hours of transit.
If a piece of equipment is moved when it should not be, motion alerts send you this information instantly.
GPS: Last Time Scanned
They are a low cost alternative to active GPS trackers. It is now common for manufactured equipment to carry a scannable GPS device. There is no activity required on your part to maintain its capability.
Along with the location, it sends you information on the user of the scanner. This allows you to confirm if the right recipient has taken delivery of the package or the right maintenance worker has begun work on the equipment.
IFTA Tax Calculation
IFTA standards for fuel consumption tax can be a headache if not done right. There are many people who claim to know how to calculate this quarterly report. However, the implications of incorrect fuel tax data for IFTA are catastrophic.
In the worst case scenario, it can lead to suspension of operating license for the business. In the short run, it can lead to paying higher fuel taxes quarterly not only due to fines for incorrect calculation but also because the calculation may not be optimized using various acceptable formats to compare and pick the lowest tax expense.
It is always advisable to invest in a fuel tax calculation software that has an inbuilt IFTA fuel tax calculator. This saves you the hassle of compiling and calculating tax allowance as per each jurisdiction and in short, is a much more efficient way.
Here is a list of points to keep in mind to make sure your IFTA reporting is correct:
- Use odometer readings to track mileage. Some GPS trackers or ELD also have a built-in odometer and this can be used too. It records data on the number of miles traveled which is an important data point.
- Report all mileage from as little as moving around the yard, personal use and long, multi-day trips.
- Use fuel receipts to track the amount of fuel purchased, do not try to estimate it. Keep all paper fuel receipts organized and archive them through an electronic platform.
- Store information on separate fuel types if anything is used other than diesel. Retail and bulk fuel purchases need to be accounted for seperately.
- Keep detailed records to document all travel miles for each vehicle. Some important points to record include – date of the trip, trip origin and destination, odometer readings, distance covered and miles per jurisdiction.
- Do self audits or review fuel tax data thoroughly before submission.