Using NFC For Asset Tracking & Inventory Management

NFC technology allows you to process high-volume asset and inventory transactions fast

NFC vs. QR Codes For Asset Tracking & Inventory Control

Both NFC tags and QR codes are new technologies that allow businesses to use regular smartphones for scanning assets and inventory, instead of purchasing special hardware. Why would you want to use one or another? The answer depends on your specific needs and workflow. To help you select which one is best for you (or may be you will need both QR Codes and NFC tags for different areas of your business) we summarize advantages and drawbacks of both.

Reasons to use NFC:

  1. Transaction Speed
    The most important reason for using NFC tags vs. QR Codes is transaction speed. NFC tag is scanned instantly when you touch it with the smartphone, and the phone is ready for a new scan right away. You can touch items that need to be included in the transaction one by one with a smartphone - and transaction is done.
    With QR codes, you need to click a button, focus camera, wait about a second, then click a button to scan next item, etc. If you typically have just a few asset or inventory items to process, it won't make much of a difference. However, if you need to process tens or hundreds of items at a time or more, you might want to seriously consider using NFC. It will save a lot of time, employee hours and, eventually, money.

  2. NFC Tag Does Not Have To Be In Reader's Line Of Sight
    NFC tag does not have to be in NFC reader's line of sight. It can be inside an item casing or packaging, and you will be able to read it anyway.

  3. Tag Size
    NFC tag can be very small, and it does not need anything to be printed on it - which is an advantage for small items. QR code, in order to be reliably readable, have to be at least 1 X 1 inch.

Reasons to use QR Codes:

  1. Price
    QR code labels are cheaper than NFC tags.

  2. Easier To Encode
    It is much easier to produce and print QR code labels for a large list of assets and / or inventory than to encode large number of NFC tags (and correspondingly less expensive if you outsource QR code labels or NFC tags production). Many asset tracking and inventory control solutions that support QR codes will provide a way to generate, download, lay out and print QR codes (of course, QR Inventory does). There are also a lot of free web sites that provide this functionality.
    For NFC tags you either need to encode them one at a time using free nfc tag writer applications, purchase a special software, or outsource mass encoding.

  3. QR Code Scanning is Supported By All Mobile Platforms
    All mobile platforms (Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry) support QR codes scanning. NFC tags reading at present is not supported by iOS, which comprise a significant share of all smartphones. Hopefully, this situation will change in a near future.

NFC Capabalities Are Now Added To QR Inventory

QR Inventory from the very beginning was about barcode scanning based inventory and asset management using smartphones. QR Inventory supports scanning of regular UPS barcodes and QR codes. Now it also supports NFC tags reading for asset and inventory entry, transactions, item stock and details look up.
If you need to process high volume asset and inventory transactions (50+ items) on the regular basis, NFC tags will save you significant time and money, since NFC tags reading is faster than QR code scanning. We can supply pre-encoded NFC tags, or provide an application that will read QR code and encode NFC tag on the item in one swipe. This will speed up manual encoding of NFC tags should you decide to do it on your own. Please, see more details on NFC Asset & Inventory Management Module, and let us know if you have any questions.

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QR Inventory and QR Mobile Data are brand names of inventory management and mobile forms software by AHG -- a provider of mobile and cloud-based applications for business. Our unified mobile platform improves business operations efficiency by eliminating manual tasks and physical paperwork, while providing a secure cloud storage for the business records, real time access to business data for all stakeholders, comprehensive data reporting and analytics. Headquartered in beautiful Boise, Idaho, AHG software is used to manage hundreds of millions of dollars annually in inventory and assets.

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