Asset Management In The Time Of Corona
Now more than ever, having a trusted technology partner such as Kemtek is vital for business continuity. To thrive in this new threat environment, companies need to leverage asset management and inventory systems to ensure that they can track and trace their people as well as their products and packages.
Asset management has always been a focus for companies engaged in supply networks. The storage and delivery of large numbers of valuable items across complex real-world networks with multiple linkages have always presented opportunities to criminals, with shrinkage a constant risk.
This has driven the development of technology that enables the tracking and tracing of assets. Whereas prior to 2020, the emphasis would have been on tracking products and shipments, the impact of COVID-19 has made it imperative that the movements and location of team members can be monitored.
Effective supply network management depends on being able to identify, quantify and locate any asset at any time. This is best achieved through auto ID and bar coding technology. By giving each item a unique identifier, team members at every stage in the journey from manufacturer to end user can use handheld scanners to update information on any given asset. This technology can now be used to record when and where an item was last sterilised, and exactly who has been in contact with it, and when.
Tracking and tracing: people as well as products
Technology that was developed for preventing unauthorised access to secure areas and enabling accurate recording of time on site for payroll purposes, is proving to be equally applicable now that limiting the spread of the coronavirus has become a matter of the utmost importance. The pandemic has made asset safety and security an even more important issue than before – especially when those assets are people who could catch and transmit COVID-19, often unwittingly.
Flattening the curve by reducing person-to-person transmission involves measures that can be easily implemented in most workplaces, such as providing hand sanitiser and information notices. Workers that are required to be in close proximity to each other can be issued with enhanced PPE, including face shields, while wearing masks should be made mandatory.
Social distancing should also be encouraged where possible – simple measures like installing floor graphics to indicate safe distances, labelling equipment to prevent use by multiple employees, and changing office layouts to increase space between workspaces are all effective and unlikely to cause much disruption.
Contact tracing to limit COVID-19
Despite this, cases of COVID-19 will still occur. This is when the ability to track and trace becomes critically important. Access control measures are being supplemented with health checks at points of entry. Typically, these involve a targeted questionnaire designed to establish a person’s recent potential exposure (if any) to COVID-19, gathering contact details (a vital aspect of track and trace) and temperature checks.
In these ways, people who may (inadvertently) represent a risk to their colleagues can be screened – the fewer contacts an infected person has, the less the disease will spread.
RFID and other passive identification and tracking software allows the movements of workers and products to be monitored and recorded with pinpoint accuracy. They can even be used to warn people that they are getting to close to each other.
In the event that a team member tests positive for COVID-19, these records can be used to identify other individuals who may be at risk (so that they can self-isolate as a precaution) and those who haven’t. This prevents unnecessary quarantining and contributes to business continuity by helping to provide a pool of “safe” labour.
Going forward, remote working is likely to be more commonplace. While there will be always be a need for some human presence in distribution centres, pre-existing distribution and data networks will make this adjustment easier. This is especially the case in supply chain management – arguably one of the most globalised industries.
At the forefront of asset security – and safety
Kemtek delivers and services solutions from all leading bar coding, 2D symbology and RFID brands, including Argox, Brother, CipherLab, Datalogic, Honeywell and VXL. We are ideally positioned to help you manage your assets, and protect the health and wellbeing of your people.