What are Asset Tags?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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Also known as asset labels, asset tags are markers that are used to identify ownership of specific types of physical assets, such as equipment. The tags are normally encrypted with information that makes it possible to track the location of the assets, as well as identify key data that relates the asset back to a specific department or division of a company operation. Manufacturers of asset tags often customize the data to comply with inventory and tracking procedures used by their customers.

A number of different types of identification labels fall under the broad term of asset tags. One traditional approach that continues to be popular is the creation of a metal tag that is embossed with key information that identifies the owner of the asset. The data will often include specific number sequences that are used to identify the asset in the owner’s inventory system, along with purchase dates or other information that the client finds useful. The metal tags are often affixed to machinery using a series of rivets or screws that hold the tag securely in position.


Adhesive-backed asset tags are also popular options. The information found on the tags is similar to the traditional metal tags, but the devices are constructed using plastic and fiber blends that provide a thin flat surface. The surface is stamped with the data, then sealed with a protective coat. The presence of adhesive on the back makes it easy to adhere the tags onto all sorts of surfaces, including metal, wood, or plastic.

Over the years, the configuration of the data found on asset tags has changed. At one point, the information was provided using a series of alphanumeric characters that were carefully arranged into words, phrases, and number series. Today, it is not unusual for asset tags to include barcode labels that are easily read using a scanner. This approach makes it possible to associate a greater amount of detail with each tagged asset, since scanning the barcode can either be used to confirm anything from an inventory identification number assigned to the asset to providing a complete history of the purchase and use of the asset via a computer hookup to the scanning device.

One of the major benefits of asset tags is the ability to track the movements and location of various types of business equipment and other similar assets. This means a business can always identify when a specific piece of equipment is reassigned to a new department or is currently on loan to another division or location. Doing so makes it easier to not only keep track of what assets are currently in inventory, but also where they are currently in use, a factor that often helps when preparing and reconciling inventories just before assessing the amount of taxes the company owes on its tagged assets.


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