There are two key factors in an emergency medical response in a hospital: equipment and staff training. This is true whether dealing with victims of a plane crash or responding to a single person with an infectious disease. However, many healthcare facilities are better equipped to respond to the obvious trauma of dozens of accident victims than to the rare admission of a person who is possibly highly contagious.

The current Ebola scare like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak a few years ago drives home the need for preparation. All staff need to understand the protocol and regularly practice the procedures for dealing with patients who present with even possible symptoms of the particular disease. The response usually begins with immediate isolation before a full diagnosis and treatment. Any contact with the patient puts the healthcare staff at risk.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the first line of defence for medical staff involved in treating the patient. There are many hospitals in North America currently scrambling to order the basics such as:

  • Respiratory protection with full face shield, helmet or headpiece
  • Single use impermeable gowns
  • Single use nitrile gloves with extended cuffs
  • Single use boot covers
  • Single use impermeable aprons

Hospital administrators are also checking to make sure they have an adequate store of consumable supplies, including anti-viral drugs. A recent audit of Department of Homeland Security pandemic supplies uncovered quantities of supplies and drugs close to expiry dates.

Inventory Management Challenge

It is easy to see the need for robust inventory control in such an emergency. There is no time to be searching for PPE that is used only occasionally and no one is quite sure where it is stored. Essential supplies might be expired. Equipment might be on loan to another unit.

Hospital administrators and clinical managers want to be able to access all the necessary equipment and supplies immediately. They want to be confident everything is in adequate supply and ready to use. Such as response requires an inventory system that is accurate, complete and up to date.

There are three aspects to inventory management of hospital emergency equipment and supplies:

  • Fixed assets such as specialized equipment that is used over and over again, including some of the PPE components
  • Consumable supplies such as the single use gowns, gloves, boots and surgical hoods for emergencies and the usual thermometers and bandages
  • Shared equipment such as laptop computers and bariatric wheelchairs

IntelliTrack Inventory Solutions

IntelliTrack has web based software packages that eliminate the guesswork about the state of readiness, location and quantity of essential equipment and supplies. The technology uses barcode labels to track every single piece of inventory. Not only is there a reading of location, the data capture can includes descriptors about condition, expiry date, serial number, maintenance requirements and user. All this information can be accessed on mobile devices.

The three main IntelliTrack software products are:

  • IntelliTrack Fixed Assets provides detailed tracking of each piece of equipment and can even monitor age and value and calculate depreciation
  • IntelliTrack Stockroom tracks the usage and levels of consumable stock and manages reorder alerts as requested
  • IntelliTrack Check In/Out helps manage shared equipment, collection and allowing easy access to information about user, location, maintenance on equipment or any other report that is requested.

These software options make inventory management more accurate, efficient and cost effective. There is also a degree of accountability built in when the users, condition or equipment and duration of use are tracked. IntelliTrack software solutions can be customized for a perfect match to the needs of any healthcare provider.

The primary purpose of inventory management in a warehouse or distribution center is to identify and track each item from receiving to shipping. At any given time, you want to know the level of the stock, where each piece is located, and even its condition, serial number or expiry date. However, when you are considering purchasing new inventory management software, there are two other features that are strategically important.

Integration

Look for an inventory control system that can be integrated with back office functions, including:

  • Accounts receivable for invoicing
  • Purchasing for processing re-ordering alerts
  • Sales for pre-empting customer complaints
  • HR for support in performance management and schedules
  • Owner or senior management for business planning and budgeting
  • Shipping services for faster delivery to correct address
  • Financial reporting of inventory value for annual reports and tax returns

You can customize reports to ensure the cost effectiveness of your inventory management program. Accurate invoices will be generated immediately.  An informed purchasing officer will not be paying premium costs for rush orders to fill stock shortages or paying the cost of carrying surplus stock. Longer term planning and budgeting will be based on customized reports. Financial reports will have real time integrity.

Integration also helps with the human factor in your business. Your sales staff can be alerted if there are unavoidable delays in filling orders so they can negotiate with the customer. HR solutions for issues of employee productivity will be based on recorded facts, not just casual observations or feelings.

Scalability

You also want to consider inventory management software that is scalable. This means the system has the existing capacity to handle a growing amount of work or it can easily be expanded to accommodate such growth.

This key feature will serve you well in various situations, including when you:

  • Are ready to expand your warehouse operations
  • Want to sell your 3PL services to more clients
  • Have discovered a new product line you want to sell

For example, you are going to lease another facility two blocks away or even in another town. This means hiring eight more staff who will be using the inventory management system. The number of items in the inventory will double. A scalable solution such as the IntelliTrack Warehouse Management System (WMS) has no difficulty handing more product with more users in two or more different locations without compromising the integrity of the data.

Such an inventory software program can also be used for 3PL services increasing the number of clients using your distribution center and/or encouraging them to expand their customer base. Or, perhaps you want to expand your own product line. This means you will need not only more physical space, but also an adjustment to the inventory management software. Scalability is strategic in inventory management as no successful business is static.

From just these few examples it is easy to see that the capacity for integration with other business functions and scalability are two important features for inventory management. Click here to contact the IntelliTrack team to discuss the technology solutions just right for your business.

On October 26, we updated IntelliTrack Stratus products to include the launch of the IntelliTrack Integration Services for Stratus. In addition, we improved the sorting functions for the Customer, Vendor, Carrier and Shipping Method lists.

Integration Services for Stratus
Since the updates, Integration Services have automatically been added to the Stratus application. The IntelliTrack Stratus Integration Service is an interface for third party application data integration that can be used to transfer data between Stratus and a third party system, or, to import and export data to and from Stratus.

Lists Automatically Sorted in Ascending Order by Name
Previously, the Customer, Vendor, Carrier and Shipping Method lists were not automatically sorted in ascending order by name. Now, with the automatic sorting in ascending order by name, entries within a list are much easier to find.

We apologize for any inconvenience the maintenance may have caused, but hope you enjoy these new features. If you have any questions regarding the latest Stratus updates, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

On Sunday, October 26, 2014, updates will be applied to all IntelliTrack Stratus products. During this time, the site will be unavailable. The updates are estimated to take approximately an hour and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding these updates, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Stay tuned for more information on these new updates and how they will improve your business processes!

Happy-5th-Birthday-Intellitrack-StratusHappy 5th Birthday to the Stratus line of cloud based inventory software from IntelliTrack!

Recognizing the increasing demand for web based solutions and building on feedback from satisfied customers, IntelliTrack has worked tirelessly to design excellent technology systems for tracking inventory. Stratus solutions have been at the industry forefront since the beginning of cloud based activity.

The Stratus portfolio has expanded to the point IntelliTrack can say with confidence that every organization from a warehouse or fire department to a hospital or university can benefit from a convenient, hosted Stratus solution. This web based option provides all the necessary tools for managing inventory in an efficient, cost effective manner and produces reports to prove its value.

Integration is a signature element of IntelliTrack technology. Stratus software works easily with accounting applications such as QuickBooks, MAS90 and Great Plains and with shipping software such as ShipWorks. IntelliTrack is now taking Stratus integration services to the next level.

“We are currently investing in developing ways for Stratus to talk to external applications,” said Ron Pawlowski, COO at IntelliTrack. “We know the enhanced capacity will significantly increase the value of Stratus to our customers.”

Currently, there are seven Stratus versions available:

  • StratusInventory for fast efficient physical counts with serial and lots numbers, expiration dates and other identifying information
  • StratusStockroom for physical counts, tracking and receipts, popular for customer managed inventory services
  • StratusCheckOut for collecting and processing all data on consumable and fixed assets including reordering alerts and checking in and out
  • StratusAssets is a full service solution for all data on all inventory, even in multiple locations, reported within customized parameters; ideal for asset audits for accountability
  • StratusVMI is particularly useful for its real time data on which to base the efficient restocking of vendor managed inventory
  • StratusFirehouse for managing equipment and supplies used by fire departments often in life or death situations where there is no room for error
  • StratusISRP wraps up all the data about inventory, shipping, receiving and picking in a small to medium sized warehouse

Each Stratus application can be customized to meet the particular needs of any business concerned about efficient, cost effective inventory tracking and management. IntelliTrack excels at taking time for in-depth front end consultation so the Stratus installation is absolutely the best option available.

With more than two decades of experience responding to the needs of 20,000 customers around the world, IntelliTrack specialists are the go-to team for successful inventory management. Stratus is a stellar software solution with capacity to increase the productivity, customer satisfaction and bottom line of any business.

Pawlowski says the IntelliTrack team is looking forward to the next five years of Stratus success and encourages any business with consumable or fixed assets to come along for the ride. IntelliTrack inventory management professionals are available at 1-888-583-3008 or marketing@intellitrack.net to discuss the Stratus options.

In a recent report from Global Intelligence Alliance’s (GIA) Business Perspectives on Emerging Markets 2012-2017, it was revealed that transportation and logistics professionals expect emerging markets to contribute to 36% of their global revenues by 2017—over double what it is today. The logistics professionals surveyed surmise that China, Brazil, India and Russia will remain the top four emerging markets over the next five years, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Chile.

In the years ahead, emerging markets can expect to see fast growth—a quarter of respondents agreed that current emerging markets will become future large market. Particularly, cold chain logistics in China will greatly expand, due to the Chinese government’s plans to increase food safety.

Potential Threats
However, because of the volatility in many emerging markets, poor infrastructure, bureaucracy and red tape are common threats, particularly in hard-to-access markets.

For example, Indonesia has over 1,700 islands, making it difficult for carriers, especially with crowded ports and shallow waters.

Potential Success
In order to achieve success in emerging markets, localized competitive positioning, access to customers and the quality of products/services will be crucial.

However, 75% of respondents doubted the accuracy and completeness regarding information on emerging markets. It’s clear that there are a log of uncertainties in emerging markets, but understanding the unique characteristics of each local market and partnering with the right companies will allow those in transportation and logistics companies to take advantage of the forecasted growth in emerging markets.

In total, 60% of the over 400 companies featured in the cross-industry study said that decision making is delayed because of lack of information, while 75% doubted the accuracy and completeness of the information they have on emerging markets.

As always, we strive to give our customers the utmost in care and support. In order to ensure our Stratus product line is performing at its best, we plan on making additional upgrades and security enhancements on Sunday, September 27, 2014.

The additional features will be added beginning at 12am on Sunday, September 27 and ending at 11:59pm, during which Stratus Servers will be offline. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause, but look forward to providing you with additional features for maximum efficiency and security.

For questions or concerns regarding the upgrades, feel free to contact us.

Attention IntelliTrack Stratus users—we have some exciting news! We’re doubling our resources for Stratus web and database servers. With double processors and RAM on our servers, that means increased performance for our customers. These changes will allow for an increased performance in page load time and data search and retrieval.

In order to add these additional resources and increase performance time, servers will be offline for maintenance and thus, the site will be unavailable during the evening of Sunday, September 21.

We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause, but once the upgrades are made, customers will be able to instantly enjoy increased performance across all of our Stratus products.

For questions or concerns regarding this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Mobile technology has revolutionized our lives, but from a business perspective, logistics as we know it wouldn’t be the same without it. Mobility is essential for managing the flow of resources throughout the supply chain—it streamlines processes, thus cutting costs and saving time. Processes that once took hours now only take minutes with the use of cloud-based applications.

In conjunction with the mobile revolution is the Internet of Things, or IoT. While first seen as a consumer gimmick, IoT is now gaining a lot of traction in the world of logistics. For example, in food-based supply chains, IoT devices can sense vital information, such as temperature, ensuring food is delivered efficiently and safely.

A recent study by the National Science Foundation (NSF) concluded that if 25% of the U.S supply chains adopted IoT, it would result in $100 billion more in annual profits, 30% less in greenhouse emissions and 75% less trucker turnover.

Learn more about how mobility and IoT affect logistics.

Software as a Service (SaaS) has been gaining in popularity for years, but more recently, “logistics as a service” has been the latest craze.

Smaller online retailers are under more and more pressure to streamline their shipping processes—it’s hard to compete when Amazon sells just about everything and often offers free 2 day shipping.

That’s why Shipbeat, a Denmark-based company currently operating in beta, plans to offer an application programming interface (API) that collects the services of leading delivery companies, such as FedEx, DHL and UPS, to collect bids and solve delivery issues for small to medium- sized e-commerce businesses.

By working with multiple delivery companies, Shipbeat allows businesses to allow their customers to choose the best delivery option for them. Simply offering quick shipping isn’t enough in today’s competitive market—customers need flexibility on delivery options, free return shipping and same day or next day options.

When consumers are ordering goods online, it’s not necessarily because of the marketing—it’s because of the shipping options. If your e-tailer can’t offer cheap and fast shipping, consumers will find someone else who does. That’s why Shipbeat’s logistics as a service makes sense. Small and mid-sized businesses are busy building up their clientele—Shipbeat takes the hassle and confusion out of logistics and allows businesses to offer more delivery options than they would be able to on their own.

Shipbeat co-founder and CEO Kenneth Svenningsen stated that delivery is “critical for the most fundamental problem every online shop has.” In fact, as much as 70 percent of prospective customers will create a shopping cart, but then decide not to purchase due to a lack of shipping options.

So far, Shipbeat has raised $1.6 million in investments, which will be used to expand their offering and hire the necessary individuals for e-commerce software integration.

Learn more about the Shipbeat logistics API.