How’s Business?

How’s Business?

Graph of business performance

At the end of August 2023 I asked people on our mailing list ‘How’s Business’.  These are a selection of answers I got:

We are not experiencing a downturn, actually, we are looking at expanding our production capacity this year. Our company increases its revenue and profit each year.

Of course, we saw some decline due to the cost of living crisis, energy prices and general war issues in Ukraine. But nothing stopped us producing and shipping the products to our customers.

– Multinational Electronics Manufacturer


We are currently busy here at present, we are just re-starting after our 2-week shut down.

Our labels are mostly used on out of spec products and broken-down machinery which is something we do not really want a lot of, therefore that is why we don’t use that many labels, we like to keep these figures down.

– Multinational Metals company


Our volumes have actually been pretty stable this year against last year, but definitely down from where we were a couple of years ago. One thing we’re trying to put in place that is definitely having a knock on affect onto our suppliers is reducing inventory, where over the pandemic and Brexit we held a lot of strategic stock to mitigate risks, we are now trying to wind that down to a more responsible level, which obviously means to suppliers it does look like our consumption is down in certain areas!

– Multinational Electronics Manufacturer


We are experiencing a full capacity plus in our workload, which is hard work, but very welcome.

– Electrical engineering


As of yet we haven’t seen a decline in business, but I suppose we aren’t the best to gauge the industry off as we are a fairly new business who are still contacting and sampling new customers all the, like I said our business is going from strength to strength at the moment.

We have heard though that the construction industry as slowed down a little over the last few months, but only this week after speaking to some of our customers they are optimistic about the coming months as they have a lot more work booked in their diaries.

– Building Materials Manufacturer


Business is OK, but the poor summer weather hasn’t been good for sales of outdoor products.

– Bathrooms and furniture retailer


We are working at 100% plus at present. We have been busy now for a number of months. I know the CBI surveys say orders are still rather low, but things have improved over the last 12 months.

– Electrical engineering


I would say we are the reverse, probably around 30% up on last year and therefore so are our customers.

It took off at the beginning of the year and has kept at a pretty steady raised level so far.

We don’t do much in the FMCG area which may be the reason.

– Packaging Company


Our shipments are down, partly because we’ve lost a major customer due the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

I’m also told we’ve “shot ourselves in the foot” with voting to leave the European Union, (although I voted remain, so my conscience is clear).

– Engineering

About Our 'How's Business' Survey

Our ‘How’s Business’ survey is by no means scientific.  It’s skewed towards manufacturers and email respondents may be biased, but it gives you an idea of business confidence and what they’re experiencing. 

Struggling Business in the News.

Widely report in the UK media today has been news that July, August and September saw the worst figures for business failure since 2009. 

For us, construction companies aren’t a large market for us, but failures in the construction sector are up 46% on the previous quarter, according to UK government figures.

Overall, in the last quarter, 52 companies per 10,000 went out of business.  That compares to 47 in the previous quarter.

Two quarters statistics don’t tell us a lot about how’s business generally but,  if the trend continues, the buoyant labour market we are experiencing might be the next to suffer, if business failures continue as they have.

Useful Links

Tips and Tricks for Security Labels

Security Ink labels

Tips and Tricks for Security Labels

Counterfeiting is where your products are copied and sold as genuine. Counterfeiting has two effects – a short-term loss in sales and long term damage to your brand’s good name. Counterfeiting is a slow poisoning of your brand, when consumers are fooled by the fakes and think your products are shoddy, low quality and – in the case of pharmaceuticals – potentially lethal.  Frustrating though it is, there are ways to protect your brand. In this article, you’ll see how security labels can use  electronic tags, security inks, micro-printing and watermarking to make copying your products less attractive to the thief.

Electronic Tags (RFID and NFC Tags)​

Electronic Tags (RFID and NFC Tags)

Electronic tags come in two types. 

  • NFC (Near Field Communication) tags and
  • RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags.

They use the same technology you find in your contactless payment cards. 

RFID labels have three advantages over Barcodes. 

  1. First, they can contain much more data than a barcode or QR code. 
  2. Secondly, they can be written to (barcodes can only be read from). 
  3. Thirdly, technology exists where they can be protected from cloning.  Most barcodes can be copied quite easily.

How do Electronic Tags prevent counterfeiting?

They let people check if a product is real by checking in a database. The advantage electronic tags have over barcodes (which also point customers to a database on the internet) is that data about the item can be stored on the electronic tag.  No need to connect to the internet.

They make it easier to track items through the supply chain.

They make it more difficult to copy the item identity.

Security Inks and Printing Tricks

UV Inkls like this bank note
UV Inks hide information on your labels

Now, let’s talk about security inks. They’re special because they have hidden features that counterfeiters often fail to notice. Some of these inks glow under certain lights and others appear when they’re heated.  These are quick ways to check authenticity.

Brand owners can use these inks to make sure their products are real, at different stages of the supply chain. It also gives a chance for brands to make their products unique, so customers can tell they’re getting the real deal.

UV Light showing security seal
UV Light showing security seal on Aircraft lifevest.

The advantages security inks have over other means of protecting your products are cost and convenience.  Compared to electronic tags, it costs much less.  A UV light is easy and low cost.  Most consumers have a hair-dryer they can use to check their purchase with heat reactive ink.

In the image above, the security seal is printed with UV ink.  When the airline engineer shines a UV lamp under the seat they can see the seal securely in place.

Security inks are easy.  Shine the right kind of light and you can see your message.  This can be deployed in the supply chain quickly and easily.

Serious counterfeiters will check for special inks – but it still adds an extra level of security that not all will look for.

Watermarking and Micro Printing


Watermarking is like a hidden mark on a label that you can only see from certain angles. It’s not impossible for the counterfeiters to copy, but makes copying your product more difficult (and expensive).

The disadvantage with Watermarking is that Watermarks are usually seen when they’re held up to light – and with labels being applied to solid objects – this technique might not be the most practical.

Micro-Printed Text

Close up of banknote with microtext

Micro-printing is the near microscopic text you might see on bank notes. Typically, it’s text that’s one third of a millimetre tall.  In the example above the words “10POUNDS” are barely visible to the naked eye, but someone carefully examining your products could see the absence of microtext. 

The printing technology needed to make such small text isn’t easy to find, so it makes life harder for counterfeiters.  Luckily we have printing presses that are able to print micro text.

What Are The Consequences of Counterfeit Products to You?

Protecting your products against counterfeiting is expensive.  You will need a range of expensive countermeasures. 

If you have done a careful risk assessment and decided that the potential downside of fake products is worth protecting against – we can help. We’re able to help you with all the safeguards you need to protect your brand and products.

Helpful links

Counterfeit Goods: Impacts on Consumers and the Economy

We all like to feel like we are getting value-for-money on anything we purchase, but sometimes a bargain can leave us feeling cheaper than expected when it turns out to be a counterfeit, sub-standard imitation of the real thing. Read the full article here:

Trade in Counterfeit Products and the UK Economy – 2019 Update

Learn more of the statistics here:

What Are NFC Tags? A Beginner’s Guide

The popularity of smart devices has skyrocketed in recent years. And the more powerful smart devices become, the more we can use them to interact with our environment. A seamless user experience for connected living needs efficient solutions to transmit data and trigger events — near-field communication (NFC) is one of the elements that enables devices to connect with each other to exchange data. Learn more here:

Last Updated: 29 November 2023

Protect Brand Authenticity Against Counterfeiting with Security Labels

Holographic Labels

Protect Brand Authenticity Against Counterfeiting with Security Labels

Counterfeiting your brand is like someone stealing your hard-earned reputation. It’s not just wrong; it can cost you a lot of money. To protect your brand from such dishonest actions, security labels are your secret weapon. They help protect your products and your customers from the moment they leave the factory until they reach the hands of consumers.

Security labels come in different forms, and each type serves a specific purpose in protecting your brand. In this article, we’ll talk about three kinds of security labels: holographic labels, QR codes and barcodes, and serialised labels.

Holographic Labels:

Hologram security label
Holographic Security Labels

Holographic labels not only make your brand more recognisable, but they also add an extra layer of protection. They are easy to spot and have become a symbol of trust for famous products like those linked to the NBA and MLB.

These labels are difficult for counterfeiters to copy because they are complicated and expensive.

You can customise holographic labels to show pictures or serial numbers, which means you can protect your products while keeping your branding style. 

But beware: real holographic security labels can be expensive because they need special equipment to make. The set up costs are high, so to make hologram labels more cost-effective buy lots of labels when you order.

QR Codes and Barcodes:

QR codes and barcodes have been around for a while and are great tools to fight counterfeits. They help companies keep track of their products in the supply chain and allow customers to check if a product is genuine. Each label has a unique code and, thanks to modern printing methods, can be printed quickly and easily. As products move through the supply chain, these labels are scanned, creating a digital record of the product’s journey. However, one problem is that counterfeiters can make fake QR codes that lead customers to fake websites. Customers need to be careful and make sure they are using the right web addresses. Contact us for help with your security label QR codes and barcodes.

Serialised Labels: 

Serialised labels are the foundation for QR codes, barcodes, and electronic tags. They give each item its unique identity.

With so many things being traded worldwide, it’s essential to make sure each item is different. Standard 1D barcodes become too big when they need to store lots of information, but QR codes and electronic tags can easily handle the large numbers of characters needed for long serial numbers.

GS1, a global barcode standards organization, has introduced their next-generation barcodes that allow retailers to scan product serial numbers.

In a closed system, where a brand uses its product serial numbers within its network, the serial numbers can be shorter. This is still useful to make sure the product is real.

These serialized labels are like the base for other security measures, and they can work well with holographic labels and QR codes to give your brand full protection.

Protecting your brand from counterfeiters is not just about following the law; it’s also about keeping the trust and reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.

Security labels, like holographic labels, QR codes and barcodes, and serialized labels, play a big role in keeping your products safe and your brand’s reputation intact.

Useful Links:

Security Labels

Security Labels are generally used for anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, tamper-evident seals and anti-pilferage seals. These combine a number of overt and covert features to make imitation difficult. Learn more here:

RFID and Security Labels

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s crucial for businesses to have reliable and effective tracking and security solutions; that’s where we come in. Learn more here:

Counterfeit goods costing UK economy £9.2bn

The UK economy is missing out on billions a year as a result of the global trade in fake goods, which was behind more than 86,000 lost jobs in 2016, according to the OECD. Learn the study here:

Last Updated: 20 October 2023

Reduce the Risk of Labelling Mistakes – Part 2

Reduce Labelling risks

Reduce the Risk of Labelling Mistakes – Part 2

Reduce Labelling risks
Faulty labels

In part one we saw that incorrectly printed labels are a leading cause of product recalls and lawsuits. A potential embarrassment for you, unhappy customers and something that antagonises regulators. This is part two – how to reduce labelling risks by checking proofs and label deliveries.

What you’re going to learn is how you can avoid these disasters and have confidence when you buy your labels.

3. Check Your Label Proofs to Reduce Labelling Risks

Once labels are printed they can’t be changed and you’ll need to live with the consequences.  What might be an insignificant typo can turn into a compliance nightmare.

A label proof is a label prototype.  It’s a accurate representation of what your label will look like when it’s printed.  Comes in PDF or physical format.

Usually a proof checks two things – the text that appears on the label and the colours being printed. 

Make sure the text is checked.  Sounds easy enough, but when you’ve got lots of similar but different designs, it can be a risk factor.  Where you have to meet compliance rules, a second pair of eyes is a good idea.

Colours are slightly more problematic.  In these situations, a physical ‘wet proof’ is needed.  You’ll need to wait for one to be couriered to you and it might cost money.  Use a colour swatch to ensure it matches your brand colours.

We’ll check your designs first but, at the end of the day, you are responsible for signing off your proofs.

4. Check Your Label Delivery.

We take care of your labels with our packaging – bubble wrapping, quality box materials and tracked couriers, but things can and do go wrong.

Check the labels when they arrive. Make sure they’re not water damaged or eaten by rodents. 

Some of our pharmaceutical clients even test print a sample of labels to ensure quality.

If problems are reported early we can fix them for you.  If they’re left for months, it’s more difficult to fix the problem.

Relax, Enjoy Stress-Free Label Printing

Following these best practices will reduce your labelling risks and keep you free of unwanted regulator attention,  embarrassing recalls and expensive legal cases.

Read part three to learn how to reduce risks during the printing process.

I’d love your feedback on this article.  If you’ve got a moment to comment via email I’ll be able to make it better.

We are here to help. If you have a question, or you would like a  would like to discuss with us, please get in touch. Email or call us on 01359 271 111, we’d love to hear from you.

Useful Links

The Health & Safety Executive

Labelling represents more of a financial risk.  Risk assessments can focus on economic losses.  HSE have some useful risk assessment tools on their website here:

The Institute of Risk Management:

They provide resources and training to help organisations manage risk effectively.

Their website includes a large set of resources, though nothing I could find about labelling.


Last Updated: 27 Jul 2023

Reduce the risk of labelling mistakes

Reduce the risk of labelling mistakes

Faulty Printed Labels
Faulty Printed Labels

I don’t need to tell you that the labels on your products are essential.  What you might not realise is that incorrectly printed labels are a leading cause of product recalls and lawsuits. These Labels can lead to embarrassment for you, unhappy customers and unforgiving regulators. It is critical to reduce labelling risks.

Similarly, labels that don’t do their job and fall off or become unreadable can lead to very expensive product recalls, in healthcare – to some potentially serious health consequences and potentially catastrophic legal cases. 

If you’re responsible for labelling, these disasters can call into question your professional competence.  

What you’re going to learn is how you can avoid these disasters and have confidence when you buy your labels.

Find a Labelling Specialist to Reduce Your Labelling Risks

Fortunately, we’ve been helping customers like you reduce labelling risks for thirty years and we’ve encountered quite a few difficult situations.  Here’s how you can have peace of mind and avoid these rare but damaging consequences.

Follow our ‘Perfect Label Process’ and you won’t need to be concerned about getting your labels wrong.

1. Get Expert Help Specifying Your Labels

Talk us through what your labels need to do. 

We have a comprehensive checklist of potential ‘gotchas’ that have caught people out in the past. 

Little things you might not think about, but can lead, at the very least, to an expensive reprint. 

Examples such as peel and reveal labels popping open, labels turning black in the sun or adhesive freezing so labels fall off your products. 

Cutting corners at this stage can lead to costs in the long run.  A consultation need not take more than ten minutes but you will learn the potential pitfalls. 

2. Test Your Labels In The Environment They’ll Be Used.

High temperature label on Alumina ceramic material

Please test your labels before you buy them.  Ensure they remain stuck and remain readable.

Where we can, we’ll send you over some different samples to try.  We’re always keen to provide samples for testing.

Are you printing text onto your labels?  Do you need thermal ribbons for testing too?  We can provide labels and ribbons that are compatible with one another.

I’d love your feedback on this article.  If you’ve got a moment to comment via email I’ll be able to make it better.

We are here to help. If you have a question, or you would like a  would like to discuss with us, please get in touch. Email or call us on 01359 271 111, we’d love to hear from you.

Useful Links

The Institute of Risk Management:

They provide resources and training to help organisations manage risk effectively.

Their website includes a large set of resources, though nothing I could find about labelling.


Last Updated: 24 Jul 2023

Strategies for Optimising Your Labelling System: Stage One.

Strategies for Optimising Your Labelling System: Stage One.

Optimised labelling is your destination
Destination: Organised Labels

As the head of operations, labels are a small, but critical part of your operation.  If labels are causing you a headache in – let me help guide you through optimising your labelling – build a fast and efficient labelling system that you can be proud of.  Imagine a labelling system that’s efficient and accurate. A system that takes data from your ERP system and produces labels with barely any human input. Labelling that’s efficient and easy.

Let’s look at how we can improve your label printing process.

Assess Your Current Labelling System.

The first step in optimising your label workflow is assessing and evaluating your existing labelling system. 

  • Do you have any obvious improvements you can make? 
  • Where are you encountering errors and problems? 
  • What parts of your system are slow and tedious? 
  • Are there points at which data needs to be entered?
  • Which areas could potentially stop your operations? 

Getting a picture of the hardware and systems you use will also help set the scene.  What information feeds into your labels and where is that information coming from.  Assessing your labelling involves studying work and data flows. The study will involve talking to your team and mapping your labelling system.

We’ve got a whole set of questions that you can download here.  Answer what you can and send it back to us here for advice.

Streamlining Label Creation and Design.

  • Do your labels have to meet all of the needs of the stakeholders needs in your organisation?
  • Is marketing happy with each consumer facing label design?
  • Do your labels meet all of the regulatory requirements?
  • Could you use your labels to build engagement with customers?
  • Who designs labels in your organisation? Are there multiple people?  
  • Are there label design guidelines to help designers? 
  • Are your labels clear and consistent across the range of designs? 
  • Do you have software that maintains the central library of label designs?

Next Steps to Creating Optimised Labelling

Labelling operations, even in a small organisation with a handful of printers, can become complex.  When labels, ribbons, hardware, maintenance, software, data management and training are considered, the complexity soars.  

The more complex a process is, the greater scope there is for inefficiencies.

Pick up the phone or send an email and find out how we can help you build a worldclass labelling system you can be proud of.

Do you like what I’ve written here?  I’d love your feedback so I can make it better for new readers.

We are here to help. If you have a question, or you would like a  would like to discuss with us, please get in touch. Email or call us on 01359 271 111, we’d love to hear from you.

Useful Links

  1. GS1: An international non-profit organisation that develops and maintains global standards for product identification, including barcoding and labelling.

   – Website:


Last Updated: 10 Jul 2023

How Label Design Boosts Your Brand

How Label Design Boosts Your Brand

As the head of marketing, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your brand is well-known, well-regarded, and properly represented in all marketing communications – including packaging.  Label design is the key to perfect packaging.

Packaging and labels are one of the final touch points for consumers on their journey to purchase. Quite often product packaging and labels are the only weapon at your disposal – posters and websites don’t appear on the supermarket aisle.

How to Make Your Packaging Stand Out and Win the Sale

First – does your product or brand occupy space in the customers mind?  If they do then much of the battle is won.  Packaging doesn’t need to tell a story – it just needs to be identifiable and accessible.  

If your marketing budget doesn’t reach the consumer before the supermarket then responsibility for winning the sale lies with your packaging and labels.

So let’s look at some tactics your labels can use to leave the supermarket in your customers hand.

Eye-Catching Label Design - is Critical

This is the job of the packaging design team.  We don’t design labels for customers – we specialise in sourcing perfect labels or your money back – but we do work with some pretty talented designers.  Contact us and we’d be pleased to introduce you to label design experts.

As you’d probably expect, we see a lot of labels come through our hands.  Anyone can tell in an instant those labels which have been designed by a professional.  If your product has moved out of the hobby phase then please invest money on professional design.  Professional label design will yield one of the best returns on investment you’re likely to encounter.

Choose a Designer Who Knows the Tricks of the Label Trade

Some of the tools your designers can use are foiling and spot varnishes.  These label features make your products literally shiny objects, just begging to be picked up. 

Whilst adding shine to your products does increase the costs of your labels, it instantly adds a 20% premium to the sale price of the product. 

After all, your eyes tell you more about the perceived quality (and price) of a product, way before you taste or smell it.

Do you like what I’ve written here?  I’d love your feedback so I can make it better for new readers.

Label Branding Checklist

  • Have I engaged a designer to work on my labels?
  • Have I put our designers in touch with Expert Labels so they’re able to take advantage of the whole range of label features?

We are here to help. If you have a question, or you would like a  would like to discuss with us, please get in touch. Email or call us on 01359 271 111, we’d love to hear from you.

Useful Links

See our ‘Premium Labels‘ article

CEO Today Magazine Article: Why Product Packaging Is Essential To Your Branding Strategy

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2023

Label Subscription Service

Label Subscription Service

Label Subscription Service

Join our label subscription service and get labels automatically delivered to your door.  Labels can’t be more simple.

Benefits of a Label Subscription Service

labels and ribbons
Order your thermal ribbons and labels
  • Never run out of labels again
  • No need for complicated reordering – a simple scan, confirm where they’re being delivered to and your labels are on their way to you. 
  • Pay for just the labels you need
  • If you use thermal ribbons – we can include them in your subscription too!  We’ll calculate the optimum number of thermal ribbons to match your label usage.
  • Label Subscription Service works with purchase orders and order confirmations are emailed to your purchasing department.

How Does Your Label Subscription Service Work?

  1. We provide a quote for our label subscription service
  2. You like our quote and sign up to our annual subscription
  3. When you’re close to running out of labels, you scan our reorder code
  4. Confirm your name and where the labels are being shipped to
  5. You get a confirmation email and we ship you your labels
  6. We charge your account monthly
  7. We regularly review your label usage, adjust your subscription and agree what you need in each label shipment.



We just need a few bits of information so we can provide you with a quote.  The more information you can provide about your labels the better.

Please give us a few hours to respond.  We may need to ask more questions about the type of print you need or the frequency of order.  The more information you can provide us about your labels the better. 

Updated: 15 Feb 2021.

Thermal Transfer Ribbons

Thermal Transfer Ribbons

Thermal Transfer Ribbons

Expert Labels supply thermal transfer ribbons for all the major brands of thermal label printer – and most of the lesser known brands.  From Armor to Zebra branded thermal ribbons,  contact us for impartial, expert advice and up to date pricing.

Wax Ribbons

Wax Resin Ribbons

  • Huge range of stock ribbons available for next day delivery
  • Custom made thermal transfer ribbons to match your exact specifications – so you can optimise your operation and not waste ribbon
  • With more than 20 years working with thermal transfer ribbons, we can help you match the best value ribbon to go with your labels, so you get printed labels and tags that look and perform perfectly
  • We’ll help you choose thermal ribbons that won’t damage or wear out your thermal barcode printer
  • We’ll help you source different coloured ribbons for your product labels
  • We supply branded ribbons as recommended by your thermal printer manufacturer
  • We supply compatible thermal transfer ribbons that will save you money
  • Use us to source wax, wax resin and resin ribbons to best suit your labels
  • Buy ribbons made to work with near edge (such as TEC and Avery Dennison) and flathead thermal printers
  • Thermal transfer ribbons for portable printers
  • Custom cores for thermal ribbons – 12.5mm or 25mm with or without notches – plastic or cardboard
  • Buy thermal transfer ribbon cartridges for the Zebra ZT420 printer from us
  • Ask us how to use silver or gold foil thermal ribbons to enhance the appeal of your product labels.

Learn how to match the right ribbon to your labels here.

Read more about wax ribbons here.

For prices and more information, visit our contact page

Get Samples
Get Quote

Tracking your assets

Tracking your assets

Scanning asset labels

Tracking your organisations assets is not something many senior finance managers look forward to.  Asset tracking is a side project that typically gets forgotten about and is seldom at the forefront of management’s minds, but for a relatively modest investment, you can unlock the full potential of your organisations assets, eliminate unnecessary spending and really sweat your assets.  

What you don’t have a handle on you can’t manage, and other than the people in your organisation, what’s more important than the assets at your disposal.

What I’ve written here comes from years of experience implementing asset management systems using the Wasp Mobile Asset system, mainly in large schools and public institutions, but the experience is equally valuable in any organisation that has thousands of assets that need to be managed.  

Wasp isn’t the only asset management software out there – but it is built on decades of experience mobile data collection.


  • Having a list of assets effortlessly maintained.   
  • A report of what assets have been bought – and who they are assigned to.  
  • Hold on, this is the sixth tablet Bob has bought this year – what’s going on?  
  • Why are we buying another CAD printer when we already have three of them.  
  • The ‘calibrator’ was used 77% of the time this month – probably time to look at buying a second one.  
  • Van 1 and 7 are due for their annual service this month.  
  • The water boiler in the canteen is broken – who do we need to contact to get it looked at… 
  • The van was only used three times last month and the depreciation is currently at £3,000 this year – do we really need to own a van, could we just rent one when we need it?  Who’s responsible for the van – it’s Bob in sector 4A – I’ll ask him about it.  
  • No, you can’t buy more chairs – we already have 221 of them.  Go find them… 
  • The Ops director puts in a capex request for a particular machine – but it was only used for six days last month.


Setting up your Asset Management System Project

Assign project responsibility.

Define what success looks like. Here’s ours:

  • “A comprehensive shared digital asset register including assets that are of capitalisation value or that are difficult to manage (such as computers which might not be valuable but need management).
  • Relevant data in the database – such as value, purchase date, supplier (if new item with a warranty), service requirements, service history.
  • Assign asset management responsibilities to an Asset Manager.
  • Record of asset utilisation.
  • People trained to enter the data into the asset management system.
  • Data automatically synced to and from the main financial system.
  • Accurate asset loan records created.
  • Regular asset audits are undertaken quarterly and a review of assets undertaken.”

Perfection is the enemy of progress. You can build the database as you go and add functionality. You can choose to identify the most valuable or most important assets first and when you have that process bedded in, go back and record the rest. You’re aiming for 80% of the benefit from 20% of the effort.

Maintaining your digital asset system

Assets in – You already have a purchase order and capital purchase system.  The bulk of that information from those records need to be copied across to your chosen asset database.  Ask us how we can help with that – using Zapier it’s possible to link certain financial systems to a range of asset management applications.  

All new assets need to be labelled and added to the asset database.  That means a process where someone physically checks the asset in and applies an appropriate label or tag.  They need to record where the asset is and who in your organisation is responsible for it.  If this works for your organisation, once a month run an asset purchase report and go on an asset hunt with labels in hand.  

Assets out – This is the most difficult part of the asset management process.  You have a clear asset purchase authorisation process, but likely nothing so strict to cover disposals.  The person responsible for the asset needs to be made aware of their assets being disposed of.  In many cases they won’t.  How do you manage this?  The answer is frequent asset audits.

Loans and returns.  To run an efficient loan and return system, you need a secure store and trustworthy people who record assets in and out.  Practically, you could offer a self record system and undertake periodic audits to ensure the assets are being recorded accurately.  An inexpensive code entry on the door and camera can confirm who is and isn’t recording the loan.  

Do you like what I’ve written here?  I’d love your feedback so I can make it better for new readers.

Undertaking Audits

Auditing assets

This is where barcodes turns a real headache, something you put off, into a well oiled machine.  With barcodes on each asset, the same colour and located in broadly the same place, with the right software, your audit looks like this: 

  1. Scan the room ID barcode.  
  2. List of assets recorded in the room appears on your handheld terminal.  
  3. Go round and scan each asset barcode. 

Assets are checked off your list as you scan them.  Assets that shouldn’t be in the room are reported when they’re scanned and the asset manager can move them from their old location to the new one. 

Eventually you have a handful of items that should be there but can’t be found.  When you know what you’re looking for it’s easier to find them.  Can’t find them?  Carry on with the audit and hope they reappear in different locations.

Dealing with lost or stolen assets

When your assets don’t appear anywhere in your organisation – they’ve either been disposed of without following procedure, they’ve been destroyed or they’ve been stolen.  Review the list of missing items with the person responsible for them. 

After a few reviews, the responsible person will ensure assets are properly disposed of or keep a closer eye on their assets.  If you need to make insurance claims, you have all the information you need in front of you to make a claim in minutes.

For the first time ever, you have a comprehensive list of what’s missing and you can make informed decisions.  

As the head of finance, you need these reports without the time and hassle getting the data.  Following the advice in this article, you can have this.

Choosing the right asset tracking system

Asset tracking device

Choosing the right asset management software makes all the difference.  You’re looking for a system that:

  • Has fields that you can customise for your organisation and purposes 
  • Intuitive and simple so everyone, even temps or contractors can use it – imagine handing us your site plan and having us work through your locations and check your assets.  Leave us to do your audit. 
  • Shared – so your ops manager can see what assets she has at her disposal, or managers can see what assets they are responsible for.
  • Permissions – so the right people can view, but not edit records.
  • Audit trail – so you can see who made what changes
  • Mobile terminals – you need to be able to manage assets at the point of recording.
  • Difference depreciation methods and formulas
  • Cloud based and integrated with your finance system

The strength of your electronic asset register lies in the audit.  If the fixed asset audit isn’t done because it’s expensive, difficult or time-consuming – your asset register, and all the decisions that go with it are flawed.

Expert Labels can help you with your asset tracking

Use us to come in and do your asset audit for you.  We know how the software works and because it’s been properly set up, outside contractors like us can do the work without disrupting your department’s work.

Asset Tracking Checklist

  • Who is responsible for tracking assets?
  • What does success look like – have I defined it?
  • Have I found a digital asset tracking system that meets my needs?
  • Have I got a defined process for booking in assets?
  • Have I got a disposal system for old assets?
  • Have I got somewhere secure to store assets?
  • Have I trained people to check loan assets in and out?
  • Have I scheduled asset audits and planned to review the results?
  • Have I set up useful asset reports?
  • Have I trained my operations colleagues to use the other features in my asset tracking system such as maintenance records?

We are here to help. If you have a question, or you would like a  would like to discuss with us, please get in touch. Email or call us on 01359 271 111, we’d love to hear from you.

Useful Links

Read the ‘8 Tips for successful asset labelling‘ article

Learn about RFID labels here.

Last Updated: 12 Jun 2023


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