TechSperience Episode 117: Optimize Manufacturing Operations with Asset Tracking Technologies

Asset Tracking Technologies

The aftereffects of COVID-19 have brought new challenges requiring new ways of thinking. Most manufacturers leverage asset tracking technologies to minimize loss, but real-time location or asset tracking can identify operational efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain lifecycle. Asset tracking gives you the data needed to make informed decisions and uncover opportunities for process improvements. Experts from Zebra and Connection share example use cases in manufacturing and describe how you can gain new insights to lower costs, maximize resources, and stay competitive.

Host: James Hilliard


Terry Price, Senior Sales Engineer at Zebra Technologies

Ryan Spurr, Director of Manufacturing Strategy at Connection

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Show Notes:

[1:40] What are some creative use cases? Asset tracking can be used in so many ways to discover inefficiencies. It can be used to improve workplace safety, enhance employee productivity, identify manufacturing process improvements, and discover ways to get goods to customers faster.

[7:50] Employees are the most critical asset in the manufacturing space. How can location or asset tracking technologies keep them safe? The integration of asset tracking technologies can help identify process gaps or improvements. Let’s say an operator accesses a terminal, but for safety purposes, you want to make sure that specific operator is authorized to access that terminal. Or perhaps an employee needs to have the appropriate certification to be able to access a certain area in the warehouse. By using asset tracking, you can understand what additional safety training is needed or if processes need to change. And if there is a safety incident, asset tracking can help make sure employees have vacated a zone or building. 

[15:58] How can asset tracking help minimize other risks? Some industries have strict compliance with the materials or products used in their processes. For instance, if an adhesive used is expired or has a recall, asset tracking can help identify whether it is being used in production so that teams can adjust immediately. 

[25:30] What is your advice for those interested in asset or location tracking technologies? Start with practical applications that can deliver an immediate ROI. For most, that’s minimizing loss or wasteful practices or ensuring you’re meeting compliance requirements and passing audits. But the sky is the limit. There are so many ways asset tracking can bring value. The data can bring insight and even identify process gaps. 

[28:17] What are some new asset tracking features from Zebra? Zebra recently launched MotionWorks™ which is an asset management connector to ServiceNow. Manufacturers can turn data from tracking tags or sensor networks into real-time insights through a comprehensive dashboard with powerful reporting capabilities.

[32:30] What should manufacturers look for when it comes to asset tracking technologies? You want to think about whether RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or RTLS (Real Time Location Systems) solutions will be the best fit for your organization. Integration with your existing technologies is also critical; OEMs and partners that have integration expertise would be ideal. In manufacturing, you also want to look for ruggedness. Employees are essential so picking an OEM that offers ergonomic and purposeful design can further enhance productivity and reduce fatigue. 

[35:15] What do you want the audience to take away from the podcast? Real-time location solutions have evolved. If you can’t measure or monitor your assets as they move through your warehouse, you can’t optimally manage your business. There are so many use cases. It’s best to start on opportunities that have an immediate ROI. Then use that to expand to other initiatives such as workflow processes, inventory usage, supply chain processes, and even IT Service Management (ITSM). Another thing to consider is that your first use case may not recoup the full upfront investment. The investment should be seen as a long-term goal. For more information about asset tracking solutions, visit or reach out to your Connection Account Manager.