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Guide To Tracking Non-Serialized Assets with TrackAbout

May 11, 2023 by Angela Toland

As TrackAbout ventures into new industries and markets, we increasingly receive requests from customers wanting to track assets that are not serialized. This may sound like a complicated task, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

Our software offers several solutions depending on the specifics of your business needs. These will vary if you want to track consumable or returnable items and if you want to record them by count or by serial code.

Our proven cloud-based solution means you can always keep an eye on your assets and know exactly who’s handling them, what they contain, and where they are – all within a few mouse clicks.  

But if you’re not collecting the right data, you may not be making the most of your software. So, what asset details are the most important to track – and why? 




What Are Serialized Assets?

How to Track Non-Serialized Assets 

Why Track Non-Serialized Assets? 


What Are Serialized Assets?

Serialized assets are items that have received a unique serial number at the time of their manufacture. In effect, this means they have a permanently attached code that can always be used as a reliable reference.

In chemical distribution, most containers and cylinders would be serialized and are often treated as returnable assets. Distributors would typically ship them to customers full and receive them back once they’ve been emptied.

But this is not necessarily the case with other industries, where the packaging may not be reusable – or valuable enough – for companies to track on an individual basis.

Still, businesses can see many benefits by having access to organized and reliable data for their shipments and deliveries.


How to Track Non-Serialized Assets

TrackAbout provides several solutions to track non-serialized assets. There are three main categories of items that can be tracked: assets returnable by serial code, assets returnable by count, and consumable assets.

Assets returnable by serial code. Even if assets have not been serialized at the time of their manufacture, it’s still possible to assign them with a unique identification number at a later date. We recommend doing this by “paint sticking” your assets. In this process, the identification code is permanently painted on the items you need to track and can always be used as a reliable reference. 

We separately advise customers to label their assets with our durable barcodes, enabling them to be tracked each and every time you scan the item. The combination of "paint sticking" and barcoding is the most efficient way to quickly track your containers and cylinders, while ensuring their unique identification code never gets lost.  

Assets returnable by count. Occasionally, our customers might not necessarily need to track the data on each individual item, but rather for a set of returnable assets. This could be the case, for example, with gas bottles or plastic totes that are interchangeable.

Opting to track returnable assets by count, rather than by serial number, means there’s no need for any labeling whatsoever. Just enter the number of shipped items into TrackAbout’s system and compare the total you receive back from your customer.

Consumable assets. Consumables or “hard goods” are assets that are only being sent in one direction – and won’t be returned by the customer. In this scenario, there’s really no need to specifically monitor the items by count, but you can still use TrackAbout to keep a reliable record of your deliveries.

Remember, there’s no hard and fast rule to tracking. Every business is different and we understand users may require a combination of these tracking options depending on their needs and product portfolio. For example, food distributors may want to track delivery totes by serial number, but have other smaller packaging inside those totes, such as liners, that could be tracked by count only. That same customer may also want to keep a record of its consumables, such as liquid bags.


Why Track Non-Serialized Assets?

There are a number of benefits to tracking and monitoring your assets, no matter which of the above categories they fall into. These include:

  • Business insight. Tracking assets helps you better understand market trends and customer demand, so you can make more informed decisions about future orders.

  • Efficiency. All the data for your deliveries can be safely and securely stored in your TrackAbout account, including email delivery receipts. That means you’ll always have instant access to key information and save valuable time by not having to manually log each delivery.

  • Easy implementation. If you choose not to label individual assets, they do not need to be individually registered by TrackAbout, which facilitates the implementation process.

  • Digital tools. Even if you choose against barcoding individual items, you can still raise your digital game with an electronic signature, timestamp, and map showing where and when the delivery took place.

  • Going paperless. Making your business digital means you’ll be more sustainable, will help the environment, and boost your business reputation.

Ready to track your non-serialized assets? Request a free TrackAbout demo today.


Topics: Returnable Containers, Asset Management, Non-Serialized Asset Management

Written by Angela Toland