Segs4Vets, which is primarily run by volunteers, gives Segway personal transportation units to veterans who suffered sustained injuries during their tour and are now permanently disabled. Segs4Vets needed asset tracking software that could help them manage thousands of Segways and their associated parts according to non-profit regulations.
To date, Segs4Vets has given away more than 1,000 Segways to men and women across the U.S., and they hope to award an additional 2,500 over the next five years. Founder and CEO Jerry Kerr realized the organization needed new technology that would automate and streamline the tracking and management of their inventory from any location in the country.
“We were having issues tracking our inventory manually,” says Allon Rodin, the It expert who advises Segs4Vets. “Imagine, every three months we’re presenting 40 or so individuals with new Segways. We have to track thousands of units and their associated parts.”
Rodin says that Kerr wanted a barcode–based tracking system that would allow volunteers to simply scan and record information remotely as they handed a Segway to each veteran recipient.
At any one point, Segs4Vets is challenged with knowing exactly where each unit is located and in what condition it is in. Segs4Vets also services each Segway, and so needs to track each unit’s parts, condition and general maintenance schedule throughout its lifetime. This means the team is managing thousands of data points for each Segway that is in commission.
“We also need to know at any moment where we are as an organization— Where are we shipping from? Where is each unit being stored? Who are we shipping to?” says Rodin.
This information is essential for audit purposes, because Segs4Vets is a tax exempt 501(c) (3) non–profit corporation and their Segways are not simply loaned to vets, but are jointly owned by the recipient and Segs4Vets.
With just two full–time employees and more than 40 volunteers, Segs4Vets faced some unique logistical challenges during implementation.
For example, the nonprofit hadn’t set up internal policies for naming systems, categorization, etc. — this was a particular challenge because of the large number of volunteers that rotate in and out of the organization. Having a consistent policy is essential to ensuring everyone understands what’s being tracked and enters data correctly.
“It’s very important for companies to plan ahead and decide how they want to divide and categorize the assets and inventory within their organization,” says Elie Jean Touma, CEO of ASAP Systems. “This is where a lot of companies struggle. For example, how granular do you want to be with naming conventions? Do you want to track just a Segway unit? Or, do you want to track a Segway unit and its major parts? Or perhaps all its parts?”
Rodin says the support ASAP Systems offered throughout the first year was essential to their success. It gave the organization confidence in the software and helped them determine what they needed to do to get the most out of it for their needs. Rodin also says that Passport’s Web–based guides and online videos were very useful in augmenting the one-on-one technical support.
“The training resources are very informative and helpful,” he explains, “but it’s always nice to be able to talk to someone when you need to.”
One of the key benefits of using Passport to track Segs4Vets inventory is the organization’s ability to quickly generate reports that give detailed information about their inventory status at any given time.
With Passport, volunteers and employees can generate reports on the fly that show inventory levels, depreciated values, locations, etc. Prior to implementing Passport, Segs4Vets did all of these calculations manually. Today, their process is more efficient and accurate.
Passport can grow with Segs4Vets. Because Segs4Vets is such a fast–growing organization, they need to be able to make changes to their tracking and management program as they evolve.
Passport allows Segs4Vets to configure data collection fields as needed, molding the system to fit their culture and processes. For example, they can modify data fields to use terminologies their volunteers are accustomed to, as well as assign user permission levels that ensure employees and volunteers are looking only at the data that is relevant to their work. Ultimately, because Passport is so malleable, the long-term cost of ownership is lower than other comparable software.
Rodin says Segs4Vets is looking forward to even more robust growth in the coming years, and as their needs evolve as an organization, he’s confident ASAP Systems’ Passport is flexible enough to grow with them. And ultimately, this gives their team more time to focus on what’s important — getting Segways into the hands of those who need them.
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