QR Code Asset Tracking – From Basics to Expertise

QR code asset tracking

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Asset tracking challenges have long hindered operational efficiency across industries, prompting the need for innovative solutions. QR code asset tagging emerges as a standout solution, combining the straightforwardness of QR codes with the depth of sophisticated asset management systems.

Integrating QR codes into asset management allows organisations to unlock a treasure trove of data through a mere scan—facilitating real-time tracking, bolstering accuracy, and yielding considerable cost reductions. This method simplifies the tracking process and elevates precision and access to information to new heights.

This guide aims to clarify QR code asset tagging for individuals aiming to enhance their asset management strategy. The article provides detailed insights into its deployment, advantages, and practical applications, equipping readers with the knowledge to effectively implement this technology in their operations. 

Before delving deeper into the nuances of QR code asset tagging, it is beneficial to have a foundational understanding of asset tagging and QR codes. Consider reading our articles on What Is Asset Tagging? and What Is a QR Code? before proceeding. 

What is QR Code Asset Tracking?

What do mean by QR code asset tracking

QR code asset tracking is a digital asset tracking method that uses QR codes (short for Quick Response codes) to label, manage and track assets efficiently. 

This technology leverages the unique ability of QR codes to store a vast array of information in a compact, easily scannable format. When attached to assets, these codes can be scanned using a smartphone or a dedicated barcode scanner, linking directly to digital records of the asset’s details, history, and status within an asset management system. 

QR code asset tagging represents a bridge between physical assets and digital data, offering a seamless, efficient, and accurate method for asset management. By simplifying the process of tracking and maintaining assets, organisations can achieve greater control over their resources, reduce costs associated with asset mismanagement, and improve overall asset utilisation. 

What are QR Code Asset Tags?

Definition of QR code asset tags

QR code asset tags are physical labels that contain QR codes, designed to be affixed to various assets for tracking and management purposes. These tags are encoded with data specific to the asset they’re attached to, such as identification numbers, location information, and details pertinent to maintenance and operation. 

A key feature of QR code asset tags is their versatility and flexibility. They enable applications ranging from tracking office equipment, machinery, and inventory to facilitating sophisticated logistics and supply chain management tracking solutions. 

QR Code asset tags are durable and generally made from. 

  • Polyester: Ideal for indoor and outdoor use due to its water resistance and durability against environmental conditions.
  • Metal: Used for assets exposed to extreme conditions, metal tags can withstand high temperatures, chemicals, and abrasion, making them perfect for industrial settings.
  • Polypropylene: A cost-effective choice for environments with moderate conditions, offering good resistance to chemicals and moisture.
  • Vinyl: Known for its flexibility and durability, vinyl tags are suitable for indoor and outdoor applications, especially where abrasion resistance is needed.

What is the Best QR Code for Asset Tracking?

Two types of QR code

Choosing the best QR code for asset tracking involves understanding the unique needs of your asset management system and the specific requirements of the assets being tracked. 

QR codes for asset tagging come in two main types: static and dynamic.

  • Static QR Codes: These QR codes link to a fixed information set. Once created, the data encoded in a static QR code cannot be changed. This makes them ideal for assets that require consistent identification information and do not need updates to their digital records.
  • Dynamic QR Codes: These QR codes are flexible, allowing the information they link to be updated without changing the QR code itself. This feature is particularly useful for assets that undergo frequent status changes or require regular updates to their information. Dynamic QR codes also offer the ability to track scans, providing valuable insights into asset usage and interactions (such as the scanner’s location, the number of scans, and the time of each scan).

The choice between static and dynamic QR codes depends on several factors, including the nature of the assets, the frequency of information updates needed, and whether tracking interactions with the code are valuable to your asset management strategy. 

For assets requiring minimal updates and straightforward tracking, static QR codes may suffice. However, for assets with changing information or those that benefit from scan analytics, dynamic QR codes offer a more versatile solution.

For a more detailed exploration of the differences between static and dynamic QR codes and how to determine which is best suited for your specific asset tagging requirements, visit our comprehensive guide, Dynamic vs Static QR Code.

How Does QR Code Asset Tagging Work?

Technical workflow about how QR code asset tagging work

The operational efficiency of QR code asset tagging hinges on a seamless integration of QR technology with asset management systems. This approach fundamentally alters traditional asset tracking by digitising the identification and monitoring processes. Here’s an insight into the technical workflow:

  • QR Code Generation and Encoding: At the heart of this system is the generation of QR codes, each uniquely encoding data such as asset identifiers, specifications, and relevant metadata. Sophisticated software tools such as BarTender Software create these codes, ensuring each asset’s digital signature is unique and comprehensive.
  • Physical Tagging: The generated QR codes are then printed onto durable materials suited to the asset’s environment—ranging from polyester and vinyl for general use to metal and polypropylene for harsh conditions. These tags are affixed to the assets, making each piece of equipment or inventory item individually recognisable and trackable.
  • System Integration: Each QR code is linked to a specific record in an asset management database. When a code is scanned using a smartphone or dedicated barcode scanning device, it queries the database, fetching the asset’s detailed information. This setup necessitates robust software that can manage the data retrieval and updates and modifications made over the asset’s life cycle.
  • Operational Tracking: Scanning the QR code with an appropriate device retrieves real-time data from the system, allowing immediate access to the asset’s details, such as location, status, and maintenance history. This process enables dynamic tracking of assets across locations and uses, providing a comprehensive view of asset utilisation and management.
  • Data Update and Maintenance: The system allows for real-time updates to the asset’s record in the database for dynamic QR codes, which can be reflected immediately upon the next scan. This capability is crucial for maintaining accurate and current records of asset conditions, locations, and other changeable attributes.

By leveraging QR codes’ technological capabilities in asset tracking, organisations can achieve a high level of efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility in their asset management practices. Integrating physical tags with digital records through QR codes not only simplifies the tracking process but also provides a scalable solution adaptable to various operational needs.

What are the Benefits of Using QR Codes to Track Assets?

Ten advantages of using QR codes to track assets

QR codes revolutionise asset tracking, offering unique advantages over traditional methods. Here’s how they enhance the management process:

Immediate Access to Information

The adoption of QR codes in asset tracking significantly accelerates the retrieval of asset information. QR codes’ design allows for omnidirectional scanning, meaning that they do not require alignment for scanning, unlike traditional barcodes. This feature is critical in operational environments where time efficiency is paramount.

The ability of QR codes to be scanned from any orientation, coupled with their quick readability, facilitates instant access to a wealth of asset information, thereby enhancing operational efficiency and reducing time spent on manual searches.

Dynamic Data Management

Dynamic QR codes stand out for their ability to allow updates to the linked asset information without the need to physically replace the tag. This flexibility supports real-time data management, making it easier to maintain accurate records of asset status, location, and history, thus enhancing the overall efficiency of asset tracking systems.

Please note that dynamic data management is not available with static QR codes. 

Ease of Deployment and Cost Efficiency

QR code asset tracking systems are characterised by their low barrier to entry in terms of cost and technical requirements. Generating and printing QR codes is a straightforward process that does not necessitate significant investment. The widespread availability of smartphones and devices capable of scanning QR codes eliminates the need for specialised scanning equipment, further reducing the costs associated with deploying an asset-tracking system.

This cost efficiency makes QR code asset tracking an attractive solution for businesses of all sizes seeking to implement or enhance their asset management processes.

Universal Compatibility and Accessibility

Unlike proprietary barcode systems that require specific hardware, QR codes can be scanned using any modern smartphone, enabling businesses to leverage existing devices to access asset information. 

This universality also ensures that asset tracking via QR codes can be easily adopted across different departments, locations, and even by external partners without the need for additional hardware investments. Such compatibility facilitates the integration of asset tracking into daily operations without needing specialised training or equipment.

Enhanced Data Security

QR codes significantly bolster the security framework for asset tracking. They can be encrypted and linked to databases that require authenticated access, ensuring that sensitive asset information is protected against unauthorised viewing. This encryption is crucial for assets containing confidential or operational-critical data. 

Furthermore, the utilisation of dynamic QR codes introduces an additional security layer. These codes facilitate controlled, real-time updates to the linked data, allowing for stringent management of who has access to modify or view asset information. This dual approach to security—combining encryption with dynamic data control—safeguards against potential data breaches, thereby securing the integrity of the asset management process.

Customisable and Scalable

QR codes are inherently flexible, allowing for encoding a wide range of information types, from simple identification numbers to URLs that link to detailed asset profiles or documentation. This customisation capacity makes QR codes adaptable to various asset-tracking needs. 

As businesses grow, QR code asset tracking systems can quickly scale to accommodate an increasing number of assets. The digital nature of QR codes means that adding new assets to the system involves generating and tagging new codes without significant increases in complexity or cost.

Environmental Resilience and Error Correction

QR code tags are made from materials that can withstand harsh conditions, including extreme temperatures, moisture, and chemical exposure, ensuring their durability across various environments. 

Moreover, QR codes have built-in error correction capabilities, which allow them to remain scannable even if partially damaged or obscured. There are four levels of error correction available: Low (L), Medium (M), Quartile (Q), and High (H), which can restore approximately 7%, 15%, 25%, and 30% of the code’s data, respectively. This feature is particularly beneficial in challenging operational conditions where tags may be prone to wear and tear.

Holds More Data

Compared to traditional barcodes, QR codes can store much more information. Specifically, a QR code can accommodate up to 2,953 bytes of data, 4,296 alphanumeric characters, 7,089 numeric characters, or 1,817 Kanji characters, as defined by the JIS X 0208 standard.

This robust data capacity allows for embedding detailed asset information directly within the QR code itself. This can range from basic identifiers and location data to comprehensive maintenance records and detailed operational guidelines. By doing so, QR codes diminish the dependency on external database systems and streamline accessing vital asset information.

Virtually Eliminates Human Error

The digital nature of QR code scanning for asset tracking minimises the risk of human error associated with manual data entry and record-keeping. By automating data retrieval and updates through QR code scans, asset information remains accurate and up-to-date, enhancing the reliability of the asset management system.

Advanced Analytics Integration

QR code asset tracking systems can be integrated with analytics tools to provide detailed insights into asset utilisation, maintenance needs, and operational efficiencies. By analysing scan data, organisations can identify patterns and trends that inform strategic decision-making, optimise asset use, and predict future asset requirements, thereby enhancing the overall management of assets.

How to Implement a QR Code Asset Tracking System?

Adopting a QR code asset tracking system can transform how you manage and interact with your assets. Here is a thorough understanding of the equipment required and a step-by-step process for implementation.

Equipment Required

Five equipment required for QR code asset tracking

Implementing a QR code asset tracking system necessitates specific hardware and software to efficiently create, manage, and scan QR codes. Here’s what you’ll need:

QR Code Generation Software

QR code generation software is the foundation for creating unique QR codes that will link to your assets, making the selection process critical for the success of your tracking system. 

Here are key considerations for choosing the correct QR code generator:

  • Integration Capabilities: Opt for software that seamlessly integrates with your existing asset management systems, ensuring a smooth workflow from QR code creation to asset tracking.
  • Scalability: Ensure the software can handle the volume of QR codes you plan to generate, both now and as your asset inventory grows.
  • Security Features: Given the potential sensitivity of asset information, security features within the QR code generator are a must. Look for options that offer encrypted data capabilities and secure access.
  • User-Friendliness: The software should be intuitive, allowing users to create, manage, and print QR codes without extensive training.
  • Customisation Options: A good QR code generator should allow for customisation of QR codes, enabling you to include logos, choose colours, and select the size, enhancing brand visibility and scan reliability.

While free QR code generators are readily available, they often lack essential features required for a robust asset tracking system, such as advanced security, customisation options, and comprehensive integration capabilities. These limitations underscore the importance of investing in professional-grade software.

For a comprehensive solution, Seagull Scientific’s BarTender Software stands out as the world’s leading label design and printing software. BarTender facilitates the creation of QR codes and enriches them with graphics, text, and RFID tags, offering a versatile tool for any asset management requirement. Its capability to automate and manage the entire labelling process makes it indispensable for efficient asset tracking.

BarTender Software supports various QR code types, enhancing its utility across diverse asset tracking needs:

  • GS1 QR Code
  • iQR Code
  • Micro QR Code
  • QR Code
  • GS1 Digital Link QR Code


These options ensure that you can select the most appropriate QR code type for your specific asset tracking requirements, whether you need a compact code for small items or a more data-intensive code for comprehensive asset information.

Triton is a proud provider of Seagull Scientific’s BarTender Software, offering all four editions—Starter, Professional, Automation, and Enterprise—along with the latest BarTender Cloud at competitive prices. Our range ensures that businesses of any size and with various needs can find a solution that perfectly fits their asset-tracking requirements.

To explore how BarTender can transform your asset tracking system, visit our BarTender software web page or contact us via our live chat widget for personalised assistance. Our team is dedicated to helping you streamline your asset management process with the world’s top label design and printing software.

Printers and Durable Labels

The durability of your QR code tags is paramount. Printers should be capable of producing high-resolution QR codes on labels that can withstand your operational environment, including factors like weather, chemical exposure, and physical wear. Materials such as polyester, polypropylene, vinyl, or even metal tags are recommended for different conditions.

Thermal printers are best suited for printing QR code labels due to their high-resolution output, efficiency, and capability to produce labels that withstand various environmental conditions.

Unlike inkjet or laser printers, thermal printers work by selectively heating coated thermochromic paper or using a thermal transfer ribbon, making the printouts resistant to smudging, fading, and water damage. This quality is essential for asset labels that need to remain scannable throughout their lifecycle. 

Refer to the guides below to compare thermal printers with inkjet and laser printers. 


Scanning Devices

While modern smartphones equipped with camera functionality can scan QR codes using dedicated apps, environments with high-volume scanning or specific industrial conditions benefit from specialised QR code scanners. 

Specialised QR code scanner devices offer superior durability, enhanced battery life, and improved scanning capabilities, even in diverse lighting conditions or when codes are partially obscured or damaged. Their robustness and advanced features make them essential in scenarios where speed, accuracy, and reliability are paramount. 

Asset Management Software

The cornerstone of QR code asset tracking is the software that manages the digital records linked to each QR code. This platform should support QR code integration, allowing easy scan-to-access information capabilities, real-time updates, and comprehensive reporting. 

Cloud-based solutions offer the advantage of access from anywhere, ensuring that asset data is always up-to-date and accessible.

Reliable Internet Connectivity

A stable Internet connection is especially crucial for cloud-based asset management systems. It ensures that data synced from scans is immediately updated in the system, which is essential for real-time asset tracking and management.

Implementation Process

Five step implementation process of QR code asset tracking

The implementation of a QR code asset tracking system is a structured process that requires careful planning and execution:

Step 1: Asset Inventory Assessment

Begin with a comprehensive assessment of your assets. Identify and categorise which assets need tracking based on type, location, and specific tracking requirements. This initial step is crucial for defining the scope of your QR code asset tracking system and ensuring comprehensive coverage of all assets within your organisation.

Step 2: QR Code Generation and Customisation

Utilise your selected QR code generation software to create unique QR codes for each asset. At this stage, decide whether to embed static information, such as asset IDs or opt for dynamic QR codes that link to online profiles or databases. 

Dynamic QR codes are recommended for assets requiring regular updates or for tracking user interactions, offering flexibility in managing asset information.

Step 3: Label Production and Application

Print the generated QR codes on durable materials chosen to withstand the operating environments of your assets. Ensure each label is clearly visible and placed in a standardised location on the asset to facilitate easy scanning. The application method may vary based on the asset’s surface and the chosen label’s adhesive properties. Additional securing methods, like cable ties, may be necessary in some cases.

Step 4: Software Integration and Database Setup

Integrate the QR codes with your asset management software, assigning a digital record to each asset that corresponds with its QR code. This process involves manual data entry for each asset or bulk importing asset information, depending on your software’s capabilities. 

Ensure that each asset’s digital record includes all necessary fields, from basic details to maintenance schedules and usage logs.

Step 5: Staff Training

Train your staff on the newly implemented asset tracking system. This training should cover the essentials of scanning QR codes, accessing and updating asset information, and following new procedures. 

Support this training with user-friendly guides or instructional videos to enhance understanding and adoption.

How Does QR Code Asset Tracking Compare to Other Asset Tracking Methods?

Asset tracking is pivotal for operational efficiency and asset management. QR codes, barcodes, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), and NFC (Near Field Communication) are popular technologies used for asset tracking. 

Each technology has unique features and applications, making them more or less suited to different tracking needs. The table below compares these methods across various factors to provide a comprehensive overview.

QR Code Asset Tracking
Barcode Asset Tracking
RFID Asset Tracking
NFC Asset Tracking
Technology Used
2D imaging
1D/2D imaging
Radio-frequency identification
Near Field Communication
Scanning Distance
Close range, requires a direct line of sight.
Close range, requires a direct line of sight.
Can be scanned from a distance, does not require line of sight.
Very close range, typically a few centimetres.
Data Update Capability
Dynamic QR codes allow for data to be updated remotely
Static; requires a new printout for data change
Data can be updated, depending on the type of tag used
Data can be updated
Data Capacity
High capacity, 4,296 alphanumeric characters.
Limited, typically up to 20-25 characters.
Medium to high, depending on the type of RFID tag.
Limited, suitable for small amounts of data.
Read Speed
Fast, multiple codes can be scanned simultaneously.
Fast, one code at a time.
Very fast, multiple tags can be read simultaneously.
Fast, one tag at a time.
Low, cost-effective to generate and print.
Low, cost-effective to generate and print.
Higher, due to the cost of RFID tags and readers.
Moderate to high, depending on the NFC tags and readers.
High, especially with durable materials for labels.
Moderate to high, depending on label material.
High, tags are often encased in durable materials.
High, tags are typically durable.
Simple, easy to generate and integrate with smartphones.
Simple, requires traditional scanners.
More complex, requires specialised equipment.
Moderate, requires NFC-enabled devices.
Variable, depends on encryption and access controls.
Lower, due to ease of replication.
High, can include encryption and is harder to duplicate.
High, inherently secure due to proximity requirements.
High, can link to digital content and updates.
Low, static information only.
Medium to high, can store and update data.
High, allows for two-way communication.
Application Range
Versatile, suitable for a wide range of industries.
Broad, but limited by data capacity.
Broad, especially where long-range scanning is beneficial.
Ideal for consumer engagement and secure transactions.

To explore other asset-tracking methods and understand how they can be tailored to meet your specific business needs, we invite you to delve into our detailed articles. 

  • Mastering RFID Asset Tracking: Discover the comprehensive benefits and operational efficiencies RFID technology can bring to your asset management practices. Take an in-depth look at how RFID works, its applications across various industries, and key considerations for implementing an RFID-based tracking system in your organisation.  
  • Mastering Barcode Asset Tracking: Learn about the evolution of barcode technology, its advantages, and limitations, and how to effectively deploy barcode tracking systems for optimal asset management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a QR Code Be Used to Track Inventory?

Yes, QR codes can effectively be used to track inventory. By linking each QR code to a specific item in an inventory management system, you can easily access and update information about that item, such as its location, status, and quantity, simply by scanning the code.

How Do I Make a QR Code Trackable?

To make a QR code trackable, you need to use a dynamic QR code linked to a URL where the tracking information is stored. 

Each time the QR code is scanned, the scan is logged, and the data can be viewed through a QR code management platform. This setup allows you to track interactions with the QR code, including the number of scans, the locations of the scans, and the timestamps of each interaction.

Are Static QR Codes Trackable?

No, static QR codes are not trackable by themselves. A static QR code encodes information directly, such as a text or a URL, and does not change. Since it does not require a database or an internet connection to redirect the user to a website, it does not record scan data. 

To track interactions, you would need to use dynamic QR codes.

Can You Track How Many Times a QR Code Has Been Scanned?

Yes, you can track how many times a QR code has been scanned if it is a dynamic QR code. 

Dynamic QR codes are linked to a web-based service that logs each scan event. This service allows you to access analytics on how often the code is scanned, including details about the scanning devices, locations, and times. This information is invaluable for understanding engagement and the effectiveness of the QR code in your asset tracking or marketing campaigns.

Wrapping Up

QR code asset tagging represents a significant leap forward in asset management, blending efficiency, flexibility, and accessibility into one powerful tracking solution. Through the strategic use of QR codes, organisations can streamline the tracking and management of assets and gain real-time insights, enhance data security, and ensure the durability of their tracking efforts. 

Whether managing inventory, overseeing company equipment, or tracking assets across multiple locations, QR code asset tagging offers a versatile and cost-effective solution. As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of asset management, embracing QR code technology stands out as an intelligent strategy to optimise operations, reduce errors, and make informed decisions. 

With the guidance provided in this article, you’re now equipped to implement and benefit from QR code asset tagging, propelling your asset management practices into a new era of efficiency and precision. 

Thanks for reading! 

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