Centralized System for Barcoding Inventoriable Assets
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jan-29
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Companies need to track fixed assets for a wide number of reasons, including tax (such as the payment of personal property taxes), depreciation, SEC required reports, etc. These assets include personal computers, laptop computers, vehicles, manufacturing machinery, etc. However, in practice in companies with hundreds or thousands of fixed assets, this becomes a very difficult undertaking. In the 1990's, some companies began using barcodes, which would be attached to an asset, to assist in maitinaing and tracking the identity of individual assets. Barcoding inventoriable fixed assets is performed in order to track the physical control of the asset and to identify the asset in the property control system. But this had a number of drwbacks associated with it. For example, while the barcodes would typically include the serial number or a portion of the serial number of an asset, what exactly constitued the serial number would be an issue--are all the digits included, which part of a series of numbers are part of the serial number, and which are the part number, is a element of the serial number a "0" or a "O", etc. Typically, bar codes were created with bar code printers, with whatever information an indiviual input into it, with the bar code printer not being part of a centralized tracking system. So the errors mentioned above propogated into the tracking system. Also, this barcoding system creates a problem to effectively manage the cost and control of administrating the process of barcoding. Examples of the cost are the cost of personnel and materials to administer the barcode process. Examples of the need to control the barcode process are identifying which assets to tag, creating the barcode tag, correctly affixing the correct barcode tag to the correct asset, loading the barcode number to the asset record in the property control system, and ensuring the barcode tag is replaced on the asset when the tag becomes damaged or missing. The cost and control problems of the barcode process are solved by the following. The present invention provides a centralized system which controls the content and issuance of barcodes. Typically, the asset tracking system will have an owner or owner associated with individual assets, as well as other authorized individuals who are trusted to track certain assets. So when an asset is added, only certain authorized individuals may request or recieve the bar code. The bar code is created with data from the tracking system, meaning that the data on the bar code will necessarily match the data on the tracking system. The actual printing of the barcode may be centralized, with the barcode being sent to the location or owner, or may be distributed at remote locations. But by insuring that the data on the barcode is assicated with the data in the tracking system, it becomes less likely that the asset will become lost or misidentified at a future time.