The University of Hawaii Saves Time & Money by Implementing a Barcode Inventory and Asset Tracking System
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UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII-MAUI COLLEGE
Located on one of the most pristine islands in the world, the University of Hawai'i (UH) Maui College offers unique and diverse programs ranging from business, oceanography and psychics.
Due to the expansion and construction of a new 26,000 square-foot facility, which has nine dedicated teaching labs, ranging from chemistry and microbiology, to a number of other disciplines, the university was faced with a significant increase in the number of acquisitions of both assets and consumable inventory which needed to be properly tracked.
The addition of six teaching facilities required a new and more efficient process for the disposition of assets, as well as the way inventory was accounted for and valued.
"One of the first things we had to overcome, as far as a challenge, was how we were going to track and organize our entire inventory, especially our central preparation and storage areas", said John Pye, Professor at the University of Hawai'i.
UH was faced with challenges of tracking and managing thousands of inventory items and assets. On the inventory side, difficulties included inventory disposition, quantifying inventory on-hand, and inventory disposal. On the asset side, it was difficult for UH to track assets that were checked out-in, designated to shelves and racks, and that required calibrations or repairs (i.e. industrial tools, machine shop equipment, and other education resources).
With the increased amount of inventory and assets in the newly built science building, it was no longer feasible to routinely administer physical inventory or equipment audits manually for programs and labs. It was also extremely important for the university to specify which chemicals in their inventory needed to be properly disposed of, and confirm they were disposed using a third party waste management company. Without an intuitive inventory system, there was no way to distinguish or report on what chemicals required disposal or replenishment.
FINDING A SYSTEM TO FIT THEIR NEEDS
An automated system to organize asset preparation and storage areas
In order to successfully tackle these prevailing challenges, the ideal inventory management system would need to establish a centralized database to track items received in the inventory preparation and storage area and then moved throughout the campus. The school also required a solution that could grow with the university and adapt to program changes.
A check out-in system was mandatory to determine who had which assets and their up-to-date classroom or storage location. For quality assurance, scheduling and preforming maintenance was a key feature needed so that future students and programs could use tools and equipment time and time again.
"In looking at a number of different inventory systems, we were really looking for a few things in particular, and one was the fact that it could grow with us and would be scalable over time," said Pye.
After reaching out to ASAP Systems and participating in an informative and free online demonstration with one of ASAP Systems technical engineers, UH decided to purchase ASAP Systems' inventory and asset tracking system, Passport. Passport allowed UH to track both assets and stock inventory in the same system with easy-to-use functionalities, enabled by barcodes to tag each item and mobile barcode scanners for data capture.
"ASAP Systems, from everything that we saw when comparing to other systems, not only met that challenge, but in our minds exceeded it", says Pye. With the support of ASAP Systems, the university quickly set up the appropriate modules (i.e. specific licensed options within a system) in Passport they wanted to use and tagged everything from racks and shelves to equipment and inventory materials.
Reporting Provided Insight
The reporting wizard immediately became one of the most relied upon features within the Passport inventory system for the UH. Reporting provided the ability to easily configure which categories to report on and further streamlined their inventory auditing process from several hours to under one hour.This functionality empowered John Pye to configure any type of report and easily share it among department members via email. This not only increased inventory visibility for all faculty involved, but provided intelligence on when to calibrate university equipment and instruments.
The university also saved time, money and improved efficiency among the disposal of stock inventory. By choosing the appropriate categories to report on, UH was able to see whether a hazardous chemical was ready to be disposed of, and when it was optimal to reorder or replenish their inventory. This know-how prevented any potential stock outs or shrinkage of consumable resources, and helped identify expired items.
Improved Asset Maintenance Protocols
Passport made Pye's life easier by giving him the power to consistently meet scheduled maintenance days. For example, since it's significant that equipment in the machine shop be maintained and calibrated at all times, Passport could notify Pye every 6 months that a lathe needed to be oiled for high quality performance. UH received this added convenience, which ensured that each asset was taken care of and that each asset retained value throughout its usable life.
Configurable and Scalable Through Growth
With the configurability of Passport, UH has the power and flexibility to grow within the system. As the university's needs become more sophisticated and expand, Passport adapts through the availability of add-on modules. The tools are easy to implement and provide further operational efficiency and automation.
"We didn't really want to be limited by something that was too simple because our needs and requirements are becoming more sophisticated. And we needed something that would actually be able to handle the changes that we go through as we evolve as a department and in the various disciplines", says Pye.