What is asset tracking and why do you need it?

The cost of not having full visibility over your business is high. With so many options out there to boost your efficiency, it can be difficult to know exactly what works for you. For your business and your customers, asset tracking is the best solution to reducing thefts, enhancing customer and employee satisfaction, and bolstering business operational efficiency.

Anna Edwards·8 min read
What is asset tracking and why do you need it?

​Let’s start by defining an ‘asset’.

Asset tracking refers to monitoring your portfolio of vans, cars, plant machinery and tools. It’s all about enhancing visibility of your business operations and managing your full fleet. A lot of our customers have extremely specialist tools and expensive vehicles, so it’s crucial to have their location in real-time.    

The different types of asset tracking   

Here’s a summary of how many types of assets can be fully tracked and what these look like. Let’s compare:   


GPS (Global Positioning Systems) tracking software provides positioning and navigation services, with at least 24 operational satellites across the globe. GPS fleet tracking works by an installed device locking onto accessible satellites which orbit above the Earth. Once the position has been triangulated, it is communicated via a data connection to a fleet management system in real time.  


  • The great thing about GPS is that it’s global so there’ll be no challenges with losing track of where your assets are. They can venture hundreds of miles and still be trackable.  

  • You don’t need the internet to operate GPS as it works in isolation. This means that your assets will continue to be monitored even when internet is down.  

  • It’s great for monitoring drivers’ behaviour. You can remotely access location information along with speed, idling time and other aspects associated, like fuel use, carbon emissions, safety and compliance.


  • There have been concerns about its accuracy. The issues arise when large obstacles like buildings, skyscrapers and walls block signals to the satellites. If the asset is in a location that doesn’t have connectivity then data may not send back to the user about its whereabouts. 

  • GSP was developed by the US for military purposes, and they’re able to restrict usage to whomever they want. It’s currently free universally for all, but this control could lead to them charging later.        


Bluetooth technology allows devices to communicate with one another without physically connecting with cables or wires. It relies on short-range radio frequency, so any device that’s connected can communicate so long as they’re within range. Beacons don’t collect data, but they do send out a 128-bit unique identified number to allow a mobile device to know when a beacon is nearby.    


  • You can build your own personal area network of up to 7 devices within a range of 30 feet. There’s minimal interference, meaning that there’s no to little downtime.  

  • They’re energy efficient as they have low power consumption which gives them a long standby time.

  • It’s cost effective as Bluetooth is used on many mobile devices. They’re popular so the manufacture of these is inexpensive.    


  • Bluetooth is limited by transmission distance and this can be greatly affected by obstructions like buildings, plants etc   

  • Locations of assets can be located from any connected device that has Bluetooth enables.    


RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and it’s a form of wireless communication much like Bluetooth. An RFID reader is a network-connected device that can be portable or permanently fixed to something. It was first popularised in the early 2000s when Walmart started using the technology for inventory accuracy.    


  • They primarily support your inventory control, so a great benefit is loss prevention.  

  • Better inventory detail leads to better management of highly niche equipment, and you can track the condition of these assets.

  • Data is automatically recorded so there’s less room for error   


  • Cost. RFID can be costly as they require specific readers to be purchased in tandem. As phones can’t be used to read RFID tags, they can’t be used as backup. 

  • They can be hacked to produce clone tags, which pose security concerns. 

Asset tracking software

We’ve covered the hardware side of asset tracking, let’s venture onto the software side. Asset tracking software links all your hardware and assets together. Whether you’re using RFID tags, Bluetooth or GPS, asset tracking software connects all your assets and reports all data into one centralised software.

The purpose of asset tracking is to maximise your business efficiency – minimise costs by reducing threats and risks, missing equipment and promoting sustainable usage. There’s generally low administrative costs and data can be accessed as insight in real-time.   

Examples of how asset tracking software might be used:   

Vehicle tracking 

Having a fleet of vehicles to manage isn’t easy. You have multiple employees on different assignments, with different routes and processes. Keep on top of where they are (their location is being tracked by the asset tracking hardware), but also find out how well they’re driving, and what their fuel consumption is. You can also get alerted whenever a vehicle is going past a boundary, going beyond a certified route or is being moved out of working hours.    

Kent-based Parkes Utilities have reduced costs by improving driver behaviour by being able to track daily milage reports. 

Tool tracking 

Many businesses in the trade industry have huge inventories of highly niche, expensive tools and machinery.

McCann's drive around expensive tools that, if stolen, lost or misplaced, would become a cost they wouldn’t have been able to sustainably cover without asset tracking software.    

But let’s look at compatibility – asset tracking software is synonymous with hardware. After all, they need to work together to get the full tracking experience. You can monitor all sorts of assets as we’ve attested to, but the only time software and hardware won’t mesh is when neither is compatible for one another.

For example, you need software that’s able to report all the data that the hardware gathers. Otherwise, there will be discrepancies in the insight it delivers. 

ABAX solutions ensure that all assets are tracked with the maximum visibility, and full transparent you need to efficiently control your business.    

Taking inventory/stock takes 

Stock takes are a necessary part of a business that provides products or services. They ensure that you’re up to date with records, that you’ve got full insight into what’s there and what’s not.

But often they can be viewed as a drain on resources; they require manual labour to conduct these regularly. And this is often without tangible or measurable output.

Asset tracking software can help with reducing these administrative tasks by removing the need for physical stocktakes. The system does the leg work and delivers reports right to you instantly. Automated efforts mean more time can be spent on delivering excellent customer service.   

Monitoring usage 

To provide the best service to your customers, you need the best in-class tools to deliver the quality job they expect from you. Asset tracking allows you to monitor when your assets need maintenance, and provides real-time information on how it’s being handled.

  • Prepare your accounts for new purchases ahead of time

  • Extend the lifespan of expensive assets

  • Therefore - reduce the need for frequent purchases!

With van, vehicle and fleet tracking, you can monitor driver behaviour, routes and fuel usage to determine the best way to become more environmentally friendly. Find reports on tyre wear and tear to learn who needs additional training, and discover how you can reduce your CO2 emissions with special reports (SECR) indicating your impact.     

Identifying areas where efficiencies can be made 

Business impact is only as great as your visibility – if your operations aren’t transparent then you have no control over the impact your business has on the environment, on your employees or your customers.

Whether it’s time, cost or manual intervention, asset tracking software gives you to 360 complete control over all areas of your business.    

See which vehicles are idling, generate timesheets to better manage your employees, run reports on routes and driver behaviour to uncover driving... Every part of asset tracking software generates insight into other areas of your business. Interlinked, asset tracking supports the profitability of your business all over!

Greater visibility over their fleet led to Mayden Croft Ltd improving their productivity. With employees doing multiple jobs throughout the day, they needed a system that provided them with full visibility of all these jobs as they were happening to ensure they maximised time.    

Reducing risk  

Greater visibility isn’t just there for better business operational efficiency in the day-to-day, but when your assets get stolen. Having an accurate location of where your assets are at any one point, it’s easy to know where your culprits are taking them. This information can quickly be taken to the Police to recover your assets.    

Asset tracking also acts as a deterrent for insider thefts, when your employees are stealing business assets. Making the entire team aware and privy to your asset tracking software highlights that you’ll know exactly when are where your assets are should they ever go missing.    

With regard to risk on the road, you can create a safer environment for your employees to enhance their wellbeing. By monitoring driver behaviour, you can pick out those who are braking harshly, speeding and driving recklessly and give them more training - it’s no surprise that people driving recklessly on the road are more likely to be involved in collisions! 

Asset tracking is becoming a necessity for businesses across the UK looking for ways to effectively improve productivity, reduce risk and monitor operations in their business.

ABAX Solutions merge hardware and software for van, vehicle, tool, plant and fleet tracking, so you can have peace of mind that your business is efficient, profitable and secure.


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