The Benefits of Asset Labeling and Best Practices

asset labelling

Asset labeling is like branding assets to identify and highlight them as company property.

The process evolved from paper labels and manual spreadsheets to scannable labels and asset management involving the cloud. Now detailed and accurate information is available for IT managers and Accountants; to support business operations, generate revenue, and more.

In this BlueTally roundup, we’ll review the benefits of asset labeling, and the different types, then finish with some asset labeling best practices.

Ready to roll up your sleeves and set up asset labeling the right way? Great, let’s dive in!

What Is Asset Labeling?

Asset labeling is the process of affixing asset labels or tags to assets. The label appends to the asset via an adhesive backing, and a unique digital code or number to identify the asset will be printed on the front of the label. In addition to a human-readable number, asset labels should include the asset name and “Property of {company name}.”

Asset labels can be assigned to fixed and moveable items, with asset information recorded in a spreadsheet or database. Cloud-based asset management systems like BlueTally make assets more accessible for several reasons, including:

Asset Management Software

Asset labeling quickly identifies company property, can prevent items from getting stolen, and has many other advantages, which we’ll discuss later.

Different Types of Assets Labeling


RFID (radio frequency identification) tags are like smart labels. They use radio frequency to search, identify, track, and communicate with assets. They can store a range of information, including serial numbers and descriptions. RFID tags can be either “Passive” or “Active.”

Passive tags are the most common, and they have a much shorter read range but can be read without a direct line of sight. Passive tags are smaller, lightweight, have a less complicated setup, and are significantly cheaper than the active type. They are ideal for small items and can be incorporated into cards, stickers, or mass-produced and low-cost items.

Active tags need a power source and transmitter and are less common. They are more bulker, durable, and rugged by design, plus more expensive. Active tags are commonly used to track the movement of valuable assets like medical equipment. They are ideal for tracking assets over a wide space.

Barcodes and QR Codes


A barcode asset label is the most common type. It displays a machine-readable code (barcode). Codes can be categorized as Code 39 or Code 128. Code 39 is an alpha-numeric barcode made up of seven special characters. And code 128 uses the complete ASCII character set. Because of this, Code 128 is space-friendly, more precise, and better for scanning. 

Barcode labels are also lightweight, easy to use, and smaller than RFID tags. However, items must be scanned individually, and a line of sight is required. Barcode asset tags are suitable for things like ID badges, warehouse inventory, and IT assets, including monitors, servers, and keyboards.

QR Codes

Quick response (QR) codes are a type of barcode. The main difference is a QR code is two-dimensional and contains information vertically and horizontally to hold a wealth of data. Anyone can use assessment management software like BlueTally to generate QR codes, then print them with unique IDs to bind them to their products and assets.

Asset Barcodes

QR codes have become more popular with smartphones, where the phone’s primary camera is used to scan the QR code. QR codes can encode almost any data type and are exceptionally quick at scanning. However, some drawbacks include its unfamiliarity since it’s relatively new compared to barcodes. Plus, the labels aren’t the most discreet or aesthetically pleasing, so they may spoil the look of your products.

GPS Trackers

GPS (global positioning system) trackers determine the location of a GPS receiver anywhere by connecting to a series of satellites. GPS satellites transmit data to a receiver like a smartphone. Regarding GPS asset tracking, the location of assets can be found using a tracker that communicates with a GNSS network to determine the asset location. GPS asset tracking is beneficial when fitted to movable assets like vehicles.

NFC Tags

NFC (near-field communication) tags work like RFID tags but are better for reading asset labels at close range. Where RFID labels can be read from a distance, NFC tags can only be read at a maximum range of approximately 4 inches away.

Since their read range is too short, NFC tags are unsuitable for RFID-style tracking. In addition, labels can only include a unique ID that, when read, is typically redirected to somewhere like cloud-based asset management software or a website.

NFC tags offer the advantages of being discrete, not requiring a line of sight for reading, and can be read using a smartphone.

Benefits of Using Asset Tags

Here are some advantages of asset labeling, including how asset management software helps.

  • You can standardize asset identification and assets can be easily identified as company property.
  • It’s a streamlined and efficient way to manage assets, drastically reducing time spent using spreadsheets.
  • It increases security and alleviates the risk of loss, theft, and associated costs.
  • It supports clear communication regarding assets through detailed asset lifecycle information.
  • The organization can find out the real-time location of assets at any time.
  • It’s critical to make assets more efficient with regular maintenance schedules.
  • It’s essential for maintaining accurate records for compliance audits, accounting purposes, and to support business decisions.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Successful Asset Labeling

Step 1: What assets do I need to keep track of?

Not everything will need a label affixed to it, but many items will. Use this simple classification to prioritize the most critical things to label:

  • Highly valuable
  • Highly mobile
  • Highly used

Your priority items are those most at risk of theft and vital to generating income. Examples include devices, vehicles, and IT and manufacturing equipment.

Software information can be added to your assets management software to track details like release history and other essential elements that keep it valuable and secure.

Assets you won’t need to keep track of include:

  • Consumable items with no long-term use
  • Items that will lose value due to an asset label, for example, a piece of art or an antique. If you need to label things like these, consider placement and label material

Step 2: What type of asset labeling do I use?

Asset label material is another thing to note. For example, if your assets are not subject to wear and tear or weather conditions, you could get away with laminated paper labels.

However, if the item will be used often (physically touched), live, or spend time outdoors, it’s better to invest in scratch-resistant and waterproof labeling.

If electronic labels are your choice, here are a few commonly used types:

  • Anodized aluminum. Labels made from this material are best for indoor and outdoor equipment. They are flexible, stick well on uneven surfaces, and can withstand abrasion, chemicals, and harsh weather.
  • Laminated polyester. This type is best for frequently used items; the label affixes permanently, and the laminate protects the label from mild chemicals.
  • Tamper evident. This type is  best for strict security and preserving high-value items. These labels are positioned at device openings to deter tampering and indicate if it has.

Step 3: Assigning a Unique Identification Number

Once the asset type and category are identified, you can assign IDs. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and the specifics will depend on the nature of your business. Each asset ID must set it apart from all other assets. The easiest method to use is sequential numbering.

Many companies may number their assets sequentially and include details like the location and asset number. For example, iPhones issued to employees based in the California site could consist of “CAiP01, CAiP02..” IDs. For the iPhones in Manhattan, the unique IDs could look something like: “MHTNiP01, MHTNiP02…”

Step 4: Enter basic information about the asset

Consider using an asset management platform like BlueTally for centralized asset information when compiling unique asset information.

Checkout Dashboard

Here are examples of some essential details to enter for each asset profile:

  • Serial number
  • Manufacturer
  • Purchase date
  • Condition and value
  • Department or location
  • Installed by
  • Warranty
  • Software licenses

In addition, details like the current owner, check-in and check-out dates regarding devices offer more asset insight. You can include as much or little asset information as you like.

Step 5: Test, and test again

If you’ve opted for one of the scannable asset label types, ensure they are in sync with your assessment management software or database.

Consider performing a pilot test before affixing your labels. Then, periodically test how securely fixed the labels are and their readability to ensure you receive the information required for each asset.

Use BlueTally to Get the Most out of Asset Labeling

Asset labeling ensures company property is identified visually and includes details showing its uniqueness. Several types of scannable asset labels are available, and linking assets to their details using software makes the entire process more worthwhile.

Using asset management software ensures asset data is accurate, in real-time, and supports asset maintenance to ensure assets continue to generate revenue. And many other benefits. To see how BlueTally can help you with efficient asset labeling and management, create an account to get started for free.