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The best tips for computer inventory management depend on the size of a business as well as its nature. While even small and mid-sized businesses often now use automated or computerized asset management techniques, there are some techniques which are much better suited for larger operations that may lease out assets or deploy pieces of equipment to other entities. Likewise, there are some techniques that make more sense for smaller businesses with smaller inventories.
In order to get the best tips for computer inventory management, a professional should begin by determining the size of his or her operation. The professional in charge of computer inventory management should ask questions regarding the number of locations to which assets are deployed. He or she should also examine the number and size of the assets that are used as equipment within the business versus the number of inventory items that may be up for sale. These factors will determine which asset tracking devices are best.
For smaller businesses, such as retail companies with one or two locations, a barcode tracking system is often preferred. This form of computer inventory management allows a user to scan a barcode. The scanner is connected to a computer, which will display the item name and the identification number or serial number of the object scanned. In turn, the computer will display the quantity that is expected to be in the inventory.
For larger organizations or for companies that have more complex asset management needs, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is often preferred. RFID differs from a barcode. Whereas a barcode must be scanned at close range, the RFID is a small chip that can be read by a scanner from up to 20 feet away.
Inventory managers in retail often prefer barcode tracking to RFID. This is because many retail items are smaller, and different inventory items tend to occupy similar spaces. A common problem of RFID is tag collision. This occurs when the IDs of different items are confused by the scanner. Because barcode tracking is performed at close range, tag collision is less of a problem for retail inventory management. RFID is a preferred method of computer inventory management for organizations with inventories made up of larger pieces of equipment that cannot be lifted or held and scanned.
The best tips for computer inventory management of hardware and other IT items include making sure that all IT assets are controlled only by certain IT professionals. Also important is that the designated IT professional tags each piece of hardware with an identification tag, the number of which is recorded by that same professional. In other words, the designated IT professional should be the only professional in the organization who can add users to a network, assign computer ID numbers, and engage in other activities that directly impact hardware inventory.