Maximizing Efficiency with RFID Asset Tracking

Explore the advantages and benefits of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) asset tracking and how to successfully implement the system for enhanced security, accuracy, and productivity.

What is RFID Asset Tracking?

RFID asset tracking is a digital solution that automatically identifies and tracks tags attached to equipment, vehicles, IoT hardware, and other physical assets owned by a company. The tags contain electronic information read from a distance using electromagnetic readers. This technology helps monitor assets wherever they are, improving resource inventory, utilization, management, and security.

Understanding RFID Technology

The concept of using electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags was first explored in the late 1940s and continuously evolved in the following decades. By the 1960s, companies started to use it for people and asset tracking, preventing theft and improving security measures. In the 1980s, the first patent with the popular abbreviation was granted, and it involves three main elements:

  • Tag with a microchip and antenna that stores unique identification numbers.
  • The reader emits radio waves at a specific frequency to communicate with the tags.
  • The working process covers tag activation, data capture, and processing with inventory management software.

Several other systems are also used to identify and monitor items and personnel, including barcode scanning, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Near-Field Communication (NFC), and Global Positioning System (GPS). Each has its purpose and benefits, depending on range, data capacity, and line of sight.


RFID for asset tracking and inventory management is the best option for the following reasons:

  • It’s incredibly efficient in data capturing because it can read tags from a few centimeters to several meters away, even without a direct line of sight between the reader and the tag.
  • It stores and processes large amounts of data without worrying about overloads that may result in downtimes.
  • It supports automation, effectively reducing human intervention.

Today, RFID technology is widely used in various industries, such as retail for inventory management, healthcare for tracking medical equipment, logistics for monitoring shipments, and many others. Apart from the advantages already listed, the RFID asset tracking system solves various problems, such as inaccuracies, misplacement, unauthorized use, and theft.

With all these benefits, organizations across sectors can improve asset utilization, reduce costs, and increase overall productivity.

Implementing RFID Asset Tracking

Shifting from traditional paper spreadsheets to RFID for asset tracking presents some challenges. High initial set-up costs, extensive digital transformation, and resistance to change are just some problems that facility and operations managers will surely come across. But with proper planning and execution, organizations can efficiently implement this new tech and reap its benefits.

Identify key business objectives and requirements.

This first step ensures that the system aligns with the company’s goals and provides measurable benefits. More importantly, this sets the stage for a focused implementation. Here are other must-dos in this phase:

  • Involve all stakeholders (e.g., finance teams, IT professionals, department supervisors) to gather diverse requirements and secure their support.
  • Establish Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals of the wide-scale asset tracking RFID.
  • Conduct feasibility studies to assess the impact, costs, and benefits.

Select appropriate RFID technology.

Choosing the right technology (e.g., passive or active tags, low or high-frequency range, etc.) is critical to meeting the company’s specific needs. Consider factors such as working environment and types of assets as well.

  • Evaluate the physical environment where the system will operate.
  • Match the technology to the application requirements, like read range, data capacity, and durability.
  • Consult with experienced and reliable vendors, ensuring that the company has multiple choices for sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) tracking devices.

Explore SafetyCulture Monitoring Solution

Utilize advanced sensor technology to monitor assets, automate vital alerts, implement actions, and report urgent issues.

Talk to an expert

Design the architecture and integrate it into the system.

Seamlessly integrate the RFID architecture into the company’s current infrastructure. Start by pilot-testing to identify potential issues. Next, configure it to ensure that it captures the data required. Finally, conduct testing before installation and full-scale deployment.

  • Conduct a comprehensive audit of asset inventory to identify and categorize assets. Utilizing an asset management tool like SafetyCulture that lists vital information about every piece of equipment, vehicle, IoT device, or electronic hardware helps managers handle this task efficiently.
  • Plan for integration with the systems the company uses (e.g., ERP, WMS, SCM, etc.) to ensure consistency of data flow.
  • Ensure that the architecture is scalable, considering future expansion plans.
  • Conduct a site survey to determine locations for readers and antennas, maximizing coverage and minimizing interference.
  • Perform extensive testing and calibration, ascertaining the hardware meets performance criteria.

Roll out industrial asset tracking RFID system.

After extensive and careful preparation, organizations can successfully deploy the technology across the operations. Here are some best practices that can help fast-track the process and mitigate any issues:

  • Implement the system in phases to manage the transition smoothly and address any problem methodically.
  • Familiarize employees with asset tracking technology through workshops on proper usage, data interpretation, and troubleshooting.
  • Communicate the deployment to all stakeholders, including schedule, system usage, and support channels.

Analyze, optimize, and scale the system.

The initial implementation is not the end of the process. Managers need to evaluate the effectiveness of the asset tracking system using RFID and make necessary adjustments or enhancements, ensuring efficiency and adaptability to changing business needs.

  • Utilize digital templates when performing system audits, checking for hardware issues, software updates, and data accuracy.
  • Gather user feedback to understand their experiences and make adjustments, if necessary.
  • Optimize the system by reviewing security protocols, conducting regular site assessments, and anticipating digital transformations.

Create your own Asset Tracking Template

Build from scratch or choose from our collection of free, ready-to-download, and customizable templates.

Browse Asset Tracking Templates


There’s no doubt that RFID asset tracking offers numerous benefits. However, companies should be aware of the challenges even after system implementation and the ways to overcome these hurdles:

  • Interference and signal blockages (e.g., metals, liquids, and environmental factors) are common. Aside from choosing high-quality and durable tags and readers, conducting regular site surveys helps mitigate these problems.
  • Tag and reader collision happens when several of these are close to each other, causing misreads or data loss. Deploying anti-collision algorithms like the Dense Reader Mode (DRM) can minimize overlaps.
  • Tag and reader incompatibility often occurs because of mistakes in encoding and interpretation. Standardizing formats maintains consistency and compatibility across systems. If this persists, seek guidance from experts who can provide insights to resolve this complex issue.
  • Unauthorized access to RFID data leads to security breaches. Using encrypted channels for data sharing restricts non-sanctioned personnel from accessing vital data. Regularly updating security protocols also counteract emerging threats.
  • Faulty integration with systems can happen since enterprise databases are incredibly complex. Utilizing solutions with robust integrations helps IT experts manage this problem.
Eunice Arcilla Caburao
Article by

Eunice Arcilla Caburao

SafetyCulture Content Contributor
Eunice Caburao is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. A registered nurse, theater stage manager, Ultimate Frisbee athlete, and mother, she has written a wide range of topics for over a decade. Eunice draws upon her rich, multidisciplinary background to create informative articles about emerging topics on health, safety, and workplace efficiency.