Inventory Software Solution for HealthcareWhether it is an acute care hospital, long term care facility or community clinic, your healthcare facility can benefit from installing an integrated inventory software solution. All too often, the focus on primary patient care neglects the tools, equipment and supplies needed to support that direct care. Such inventory includes both consumables and fixed assets.

If there is not an organized way to track and manage these items, the result is often a delay at the point of care for the patient. The result could be a scramble to locate an important piece of equipment such as the portable x-ray machine needed in the emergency department. Perhaps a machine is down for repairs so the nurse who needs it has to try to borrow one from another unit. The wound care specialist realizes the stockroom is out of specialized dressings. The list of possibilities is endless.

IntelliTrack Inc. has an easy, effective solution with it barcode or RFID technology. You decide exactly what information you want to collect about your equipment and supplies and who can retrieve it, by query, search or report. A barcode label or RFID tag is affixed to every piece of equipment or furniture and every package of supplies that comes into the facility. The label is scanned with the information transmitted for storage in a central database. Anywhere in your facility, employees who are authorized can track each item through a desktop or mobile device.

1. Improved Quality of Patient Care

There is immediate, real time information on the location, operational status, condition, and availability of equipment and supplies needed for patient care. Healthcare professionals can coordinate their schedules and the availability of equipment, resulting in timely patient care. Also, equipment can be located and moved quickly when needed unexpectedly. It might be as simple as locating an air bed to relieve a severe pressure wound or as critical as accessing a blood bag for an accident victim in emergency.

2. Increased Productivity

Healthcare workers do not have to delay testing or treatment procedures while waiting for equipment and supplies. Up to date information about the availability of these essential items allows them to make informed decisions about whether or not to wait or to move on to other work.

 

3. More Efficient Use of Medical Equipment

Medical equipment, such as imagers and scanners, is expensive and usually requires highly trained technicians. In order to increase the return on investment (ROI) of such equipment, it is useful to have data about usage and technician availability. Such information helps you, as an administrator, plan for maximizing equipment use. Many hospitals now operate this equipment day and night to limit patient backlog.

 

4. Equipment Lifecycle Management

Your healthcare facility probably has many kinds of equipment, from imaging machines and dialysis units to wheelchairs, office computers and floor cleaners. No matter how sophisticated or expensive, all these pieces of equipment eventually have to be replaced or upgraded. It is easier for you to manage the lifecycle issues with detailed information ranging from the procurement date, price and vendor to maintenance schedules, repair records and disposal plans. Depreciation information can be built into calculations.

 

5. Planning

With inventory software on a central database, you and your management team are able to plan more effectively as you can access:

  • Real time operational information about demand for equipment and supplies, stock levels, maintenance issues and even staff availability to use the items
  • Aggregate data that shows emerging trends; e.g. changes in demand for equipment and supplies resulting in stock surpluses or shortages
  • Equipment and furniture lifecycle info for budgeting replacement pieces

 

IntelliTrack can work with you to review your operations and recommend the best inventory software for your needs. Our experienced IntelliTrack specialists can design a barcode or RFID technology solution that includes their excellent software systems and reliable, state of the art hardware from trusted partners.

 

IntelliTrack is not completely off the shelf. We do produce standard inventory packages such as:

  • Fixed Assets for equipment and furnishing
  • Check In/Out for shared equipment and tools such as laptop computers
  • Stockroom Inventory for maintaining medical, administrative and cleaning supplies at an optimum level

However, all our inventory software can be customized so it is the right solution for your specific operations.

 

Contact us to start the discussions about the right inventory software solution for your healthcare service.

Inventory-SoftwareIntelliTrack Inc. is proud of the range of technology solutions it can provide to streamline your inventory management operations. Whether you run a warehouse, distribution center, hospital or emergency response service, this industry leader can provide customized software and the best hardware available for you to track and manage both your consumable inventory and fixed assets. Over its 20 years corporate history, IntelliTrack has developed partnerships with proven, reliable manufacturers of scanners, printers, mobile computers and other tools that support its excellent inventory software.

However, the IntelliTrack specialists also understand there is more to a solution than first class technology. The efficiency and cost effectiveness of any barcode or RFID solution is determined by the users at all levels of the organization. That is why the IntelliTrack team is prepared to work closely with you and your employees, from decision making about the best products through to installation, training and follow-up support services.

You probably do not want your employees to become barcode or RFID experts. However, both front line users and the management team need to be comfortable using the technology. Only then will they be able to give useful feedback and explore ways to maximize the functionalities of the system. How do you make this happen?

Front Line Users

There are few people who immediately embrace change in their routine. In order to overcome any employee resistance to using barcode or RFID technology, you might want to consider and plan for:

  • Participation in System Design

Provide as much opportunity as possible for the front line users of the technology to be involved in decision making around the design. It might be as simple as providing feedback on the ease in holding various devices or the format on a screen or as complex as critiquing the efficiency of data capture. An IntelliTrack specialist can advise you on how to involve these essential employees.

  • Ongoing Communication

Make sure all employees know the status of the process from initial consultations with IntelliTrack to the implementation schedule.

  • Training

It is usually useful to provide various modalities of training, from manuals to online instructions and group sessions. The content should include not just the “what to do” and “how to do”, but also the rationale for the procedures. If employees understand how the steps they take affect the workflow, company planning and customer satisfaction, they are more likely to have a positive attitude.

  • Opportunity for feedback

Do not just provide opportunities for feedback after implementation. Actively solicit employee comments and suggestions. Show that you take their input seriously.

  • Ongoing support

Make sure you have ongoing technical support that is available at all times the employees are working. This is especially important at the beginning of implementation and for new employees.

Management Team

Anyone on the leadership team, from front line supervisors to managers responsible for departments such as IT, finances, HR and purchasing, needs to be involved in the process of planning for and implementing barcoding or RFID solutions. The primary factors are the same as those of the front line users; the scope is usually larger and more integrated:

  • Participation in System Design

Whether your business is one small warehouse, a large hospital or a multi-site distribution operation, you will want a technology design that coordinates and integrates all the data capture. To achieve successful integration, you need to involve the key personnel for each function from the beginning. Their decisions are not just around devices and software, but also identifying the interfaces of the functionalities and the kinds of reports that are needed for monitoring and planning operations. If there is already a larger ERP system in place, this new technology might be incorporated easily into it. The people actually using the systems are the ones to provide input into the design.

  • Training

Not everyone needs the same kind of training but everyone who will use any part of the new technology has to at least understand the basic process and the information that can be entered and accessed. Again, it is important that everyone understand the rationale for the overall barcoding system and for the way it works to everyone’s advantage.

  • Opportunity for Feedback

Feedback from the management team is important to the overall success of a barcoding or RFID solution. These are the people who will see the more strategic impact such as trends in increased customer satisfaction, decreased employee turnover and increased profitability. When they make suggestions about changes, they deserve to be taken seriously.

Installing an effective barcoding solution depends on much more than state of the art technology. IntelliTrack certainly can provide you with the best in customized software and hardware. However, they are also prepared to spend the time with you to develop a solid implementation plan that involves all company stakeholders. With IntelliTrack expertise and your employees’ active involvement, your barcode or RFID solution is sure to be successful.

Although today’s economy can be a very risky place, it can also be very rewarding. However, in the logistics industry, operational risks, such as nature, can definitely derail your supply chain. Having the right infrastructure is crucial to succeed during times of crisis. See how your organization can position risks to leverage game-changing opportunities by simply being prepared.

Read the full article: Supply Chain Resilience: Turning Risk Into Opportunity

inventory software wizardWithin the major companies, there can be disagreement among the procurement and logistics teams about how best to procure air and ocean freight transport.

Problems stem from the two groups’ inability to see things from each others’ point of view. Often, one side may act unreasonably, but fault usually lies with both for not justifying their viewpoints clearly enough. Ultimately, arguments should be evidence-based so that the facts can be unearthed, compromises can be made and understanding can be reached.

Logistics teams may argue that procurement teams’ obsession with cost-cutting is the main factor which leads to low-quality service and subsequent rising of carrying costs and lead times. However, procurement is a multidisciplinary business element and the best value for money will be attained through collaboration.

Clear strategy and a structured process are two key factors collaboration that are effective. This process must consist of data-supported quantifiable claims. Everything must be evidence-based, so logistics teams must be precise with arguments in favor of better-quality services. Non-price objectives must be addressed using a total cost-of-ownership model. When cost elements are clearly broken for procurement teams, they can form a better understanding of logistics teams’ rationale.

With regards to supporting negotiations between procurement and logistics teams, sourcing optimization tools provide the most effective basis because they have the ability to easily handle data in its various dimensions. Having such tools is essential as they allow flexibility when modeling cost inputs. Decision-makers can also test different ‘what-if’ scenarios and subsequently compare potential outcomes. The incentive for executives is that these tools banish spreadsheet analysis and simplify the procurement process.

Optimization bridges competing objectives of quality and cost, while transparency builds trust and opens the door for open dialogue.

Collaborative agreement comes as a result of well-reasoned trade-offs between non-cost and cost objectives. By using optimization tools, procurement and logistics teams can make these trade-offs with better understanding and consideration of eachothers needs.

Instilling simple methodologies that focus on cost modeling, scenario analysis and rich bid information is crucial for management consultants and beneficial cargo owners. For organizations that seek efficient, high-quality services, this is the only way forward.

Find the right software to help your organization succeed.

 

3plTechnology is the most important aspect of logistics and has always been—it became especially true after the transportation industry was deregulated and third party providers provided technological solutions to their customers. Since the beginning of history, people have been looking for ways to move more goods, faster and more efficiently. The greatest leap forward was the invention of the combustion engine and the technological advancements it brought such as trains, planes and automobiles. The second revolution was digital, and technologies related to computers became the brain of the logistics industry. Now, there is a third revolution on the way.

The emergent technologies of today are focused on speed, security, accuracy and efficiency. They are comprised of drones, 3D printers and the Internet of Things (IoT). Here is a brief explanation of how each of these technologies will affect third party logistics (3PL) in the future.

3D Printing Will Make the Supply Chain Shorter

While the technology has been around for a long time, it is only really coming to the forefront now. It makes it possible to create products and parts from most materials including metal & plastic. It will be applied as additive manufacturing and will democratize manufacturing processes, as manufacturers will be able to print objects on demand. This will shorten the supply chain in many cases and also mean that it is unnecessary to hold as much inventory in warehouses.

IoT Will Make Journeys More Visible

Visibility is one of the biggest problems facing transporters of goods. The emergent IoT technologies, combined with cloud-based GPS help, makes products more visible as they pass through the supply chain. Each crate or product can be equipped with an RFID chip that will communicate to each other using radio frequency technology and provide a variety of information including temperature, ID humidity and pressure. So, there is less capacity for things to get lost or damaged in transit.

Drones will Speed up Delivery

Drones are unmanned aircrafts that can be operated by remote control or programmed along a journey. They are an inexpensive way to transport goods and can also get to locations which were previously unreachable. Third party providers haven’t adopted them yet, but there is a good chance they will be important in the future to deliver small packages efficiently, especially in urban and remote areas.

Looking for 3PL software? Learn more.

stratus_webWe recently announced that updates were being made to our Stratus applications. These updates are now complete and updates for Stratus can be found in the Stratus web applications.

The following changes have been made to the Stratus web application:

  1. Check In Return Report: this new Asset report shows each asset and/or item returned during a Check In order. For each item returned, the quantity, unit of measure, serial number, lot, and expiration date are shown, as applicable.
  2. Check Out Issue Report: this new Asset report shows each asset and/or item issued during a Check Out order. For each item issued, the quantity, unit of measure, serial number, lot, and expiration date are shown, as applicable.
  3. Delete a Custom Report and Custom Label from the Report Designer: a custom report or label that was created in the Report Designer may be deleted from the Report Designer application. Once it is deleted, the report will no longer appear in the list of custom reports or labels in the Stratus web application. In order to delete a custom report or custom label from the Report Designer, the user license must include the Design Report feature and/or the Design Label feature and the Delete Reports feature and the role of the logged-in user must include the Design Report feature and/or the Design Label feature, and the Delete Reports feature.
  4. Custom Titles Page: this page has been redesigned for ease of use. The default titles are now organized by a Stratus category, which makes it easier to find the title that you want to customize.
  5. Asset Pictures: The ability now exists to upload an image to an asset’s record. Each asset may have its own unique picture. This gives the user more flexibility with implementation of the assets feature.
  6. Assignee Pictures: The ability now exists to upload an image to an assignee’s record. Each assignee may be associated with a picture; thus improving assignee identification.

Please be sure to update your user roles in order to employ the new features included in this release. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by downtime during the update.

If you have any questions about the latest Stratus release, please contact us.

On Sunday March 1, updates will be applied to the IntelliTrack Stratus products. The updates will take approximately one hour, during which time, the site will be unavailable.

If you have any questions regarding the update, please feel free to contact us.

Once everything has been successfully completed, we will provide a detailed explanation of what to expect with the latest Stratus update.

 

trainIt’s still as true today as it ever was—in the logistics industry, time is money. This is evident at American shipping ports, where so much work is put into speeding up processes and making them more efficient, and it affects everything the price of all consumer goods.

At the port of Georgia, workers are as aware as anyone about the importance of fast and efficient shipping, and this is the reason they are looking into the possibilities of shipping freight via the rail networks.

The Baltimore to Ohio railroad was incorporated in 1827 and is still in operation, lines such as the Norfolk Southern and CSX are more recent, but all of them play a crucial role in shipping goods to outlets nationwide. Rather than becoming less important over time, the railways are gaining importance.

In 2014, the Georgia Ports Authority have documented that they moved 340,000 containers via the rail network, representing an increase of 5% over the previous year.

A representative of Georgia ports has said that the expansion of railway shipping operations has been central to their budgeting plan for the last ten years or more. As part of this, they are working to improve the speed and efficiency of land shipping with Norfolk Southern and CSX.

There are many benefits of this strategy—rail is the most fuel-efficient way to ship freight. Companies can ship approximately a ton of freight over 500 miles using only a gallon of gas. There is also the added benefit of preserving the road network, which would suffer some wear and tear from road shipping, as well as an extra element of safety that the railway provides. In addition, there are obvious environmental benefits to be gained from shipping by rail, where the carbon footprint is much smaller.

Some of the investments made can be seen at the Mason Intermodal Transfer Facility, which is part of the Norfolk Southern network, which opened in 2001, and also Chatham Yard ICTF, which is part of the CSX network, opened in 2008. When the Mason facility opened it was the 7th busiest port in the country per container handled, today it is the 4th behind the Port of New York / New Jersey. Most shipping experts agree that the Mason and Chatham facilities have played a major part in the growth of the dependence on railways for shipping, owing to their capability for seamless and efficient transfer of containers from sea to the railways.

Warehouse OperationDo you fit the profile of business owners who want larger warehouses? Seventy-one percent of respondents to a 2014 study by Motorola wanted either to acquire another facility or to increase the size of their current building. There are usually a couple of obvious reasons:

  • The volume of your business is growing, and/or
  • You are expanding your product lines

If you are confident this growth is sustainable, you need the extra space so warehouse expansion seems like a good idea. After all, the economy appears to be turning around with an uptick in consumer spending, resulting in an increase in manufacturing. Also, e-commerce is enjoying a huge popularity with no end in sight. Huge warehouses are a staple for online businesses which must be ready to respond instantly to customer demands.

Technology Considerations for Warehouse Expansion

However, there’s more to warehouse expansion than leasing another building and buying product to fill it. Do you have the technology solution in place to manage that extra product, especially if it is located at several sites? Handling more products usually means managing more personnel too. At IntelliTrack, we have a team of specialists just waiting to discuss your particular situation and see how we can help you.

We understand the complexities of a warehouse operation. There are many points where human error can be a problem in receiving and storing product and processing customer orders. An IntelliTrack barcode or RFID solution can minimize, if not eliminate mistakes in labeling, storing, accessing and shipping your inventory.

The larger you grow your operation, the more opportunity there is for making mistakes. In order to plan for foolproof inventory management, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you handle consumable inventory, fixed assets or both?
  • Consumable items come into your system, are processed and move out. This includes products that are stored or manufactured, then shipped to customers.
  • Fixed assets are part of your property inventory, are used or deployed and then returned. This includes your own equipment, tools and supplies and items that are sent out, perhaps leased to customers and then returned.
  • What information do you need about the product in the warehouse, including lot and serial numbers, vendor, expiry data, condition, size and color?
  • Do you need to validate shipping against predefined orders?
  • What information do you need about stock levels, including re-order alerts and data on surpluses?
  • How often do you do physical counts?
  • What do you need to know about employee performance, including equipment usage and time taken for receiving, storing, picking and shipping?
  • Do you need to track assets or equipment that is deployed repeatedly?
  • Do you require real time data in order to monitor operations?
  • What kind of reports do you need to make management decisions for planning operations and financial management?

All this information will form your decision about a warehouse management system. The best technology in the world is ineffective if it does not meet your particular needs. 

Technology Solutions for Managing Warehouse Inventory

There are many software solutions available for managing your warehouse inventory. A sampling includes:

You are probably looking for a mobile solution to increase the productivity of your warehouse workers. Issue each one with a mobile device for capturing data for storage in a central file and accessing picking and shipping orders and any other information needed to keep product moving.

Scalability is an important feature of a successful software solution. If you are considering expansion of your warehouse operations, you want to be sure any technology will be able to accommodate the increase in product, vendors and customers.

Integration into larger information systems is also important to save time and duplicate work. Link a WMS solution to an accounting system such as QuickBooks, to shipping providers such as WorldShip and even to your security information system if there are concerns about inventory loss.

Decision Making Process for Warehouse Technology

Whether you are making the leap from a manual or spreadsheet inventory system or upgrading your current electronic system, you will probably need expert help in considering the options available. The IntelliTrack team can walk with you through the decision making process:

  • Review of current operations and plans for expansion
  • Identify points where technology can support the operations based on answers to the questions about your consumable and fixed inventory
  • Discuss benefits of incorporating a warehouse
  • Review with you the pros and cons of various warehouse management technology solutions, both software and hardware
  • Recommend solutions and support your decision making
  • Facilitate installation, training and implementation of warehouse management solutions
  • Arrange for ongoing support services

Benefits of Expanding with Warehouse Management Technology

An attractive ROI is important when considering expansion of your warehouse operations. Even when you know the market is there and the product is available, you do have to consider how quickly you can amortize the upfront capital expenses such as:

  • Buying, building or expanding a facility
  • Customizing the building design including dock and yard
  • Purchasing/leasing additional warehouse equipment
  • New or additional technology hardware and software for inventory management

IntelliTrack reps would be pleased to show you the kind of savings you would realize if you move from a pen and paper inventory to WMS technology. For example, a small warehouse operation can save 90% in labor cost using barcode technology instead of manual inventory counts.

The procedures you are following in your warehouse now might not work as effectively in an expanded operation. It is important to have a WMS system that allows you to monitor the entire end-to-end process. Such technology is efficient and accurate, increasing productivity, reducing picking and shipping errors and increasing customer satisfaction.

Contact our IntelliTrack team to help you plan for a WMS solution to be built into your warehouse expansion plan right from the beginning.

IntelliTrack Warehouse Management SoftwareManaging the inventory of a warehouse or distribution center can be an exercise in frustration. There are many points where errors in labeling, storage location or stock levels can leave employees frustrated and customers very unhappy. Working in multiple locations can add complications.

Warehouse management technology is a good solution and even better when part of an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. IntelliTrack, an industry leader in inventory management products, offers several technology solutions for successful inventory management of all sizes of warehouse operations. They also have the experience and expertise to recommend options for integration with ERP.

Warehouse Management Inventory Solutions

IntelliTrack WMS is a robust, cost effective solution for managing inventory through the warehouse and distribution system. It is available in three versions:

Depending on the operational needs, available features include:

  • Physical inventory, shipping, receiving and picking system
  • Terminal messaging
  • Pallet tracking
  • Cross dock notification
  • Sequenced pick and put away
  • Wave and zone picking

The entire inventory can be managed from one dashboard, including product search by item description or location, browsing and generating reports.

ERP Integration

Warehouse employees and supervisors know their work is the primary focus of their warehouse/distribution operations but they do need the support of many other business functions to run a successful operation. An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system facilitates the flow of information among all the business units and can even manage contacts with external stakeholders.

How ERP Works

An ERP solution is really a suite of applications such as WMS that are managed through one common database. It can support various hardware and applications even for mobile devices while maintaining a consistent look and feel for the user. For example, data is transmitted from a warehouse worker to the centralized database where it is processed and any net changes, orders or reports sent back to the user and/or on to other support services and management.

IntelliTrack WMS has the capacity to be integrated into a full feature ERP system which might use a common database for:

  • Supply chain management, including inventory info that triggers purchasing, promoting specials on overstock or moving stock to different location
  • Processing orders from receiving, cross docking and generating picking orders and shipping labels to sending a re-order alert to purchasing
  • Accounting functions, including processing payments for product received, invoicing for product shipped, managing cash flow and preparing financial statements; e.g. WMS can connect with Quickbooks
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) from sales and marketing to customer service
  • Human Resources function which includes recruiting, training, managing payroll and benefits and performance reviews
  • Self-service access to information for suppliers, customers and/or employees

Benefits of ERP Integration

Although the ERP concept was originally developed for large companies, it quickly became obvious that any size of organization can benefit from system organizations. There are two primary focuses for reviewing the benefits of integrating IntelliTrack WMS into a larger ERP system.

  • Operations

A well designed ERP solution increases efficiencies and productivity such as:

  • Eliminates entering data more than once in various information systems such as purchasing or generating shipping labels, allowing employees more time to communicate with each other about operations
  • Provides real time data including location, stock levels, expiry dates and status of product
  • Allows every authorized person access to the same real time data
  • Management

Having WMS integrated into an ERP system with one central dashboard is cost effective and efficient as it:

    • Provides up to date info for monitoring operations
    • Provides info for performance management of individual and work teams by providing reports on time spent and cost of each activity
    • Identifies inconsistencies and potential problems such as stock shortages that are not triggering re-order alerts, all affecting customer relations
    • Maximizes the capacity of all the company technology, decreasing dependency on several information systems, each with its own capacity and maintenance issues
    • Decreases the amount of IT support needed
    • Supports quality assurance initiatives which can lead to improvement in the routine operations and the overall business process
    • Provides comprehensive reports to support any expansion plans for the business; the more complex the business, the more important it is to have a coordinating function
    • Produces customized financial reports to reflect the various business processes and allow for more specific financial management decisions

Overall, the data available from having IntelliTrack WMS integrated into an ERP system allows employees to be more productive and management to be more strategic. An integrated information system is more flexible and responsive to change than an organization with compartmentalized processes. Management can plan and even test operational changes. As soon as the implementation goes live, they receive immediate feedback on how those changes impact the work and results across the entire operation.

Management decisions about operational changes, budgets and staffing models will be evidence based. This increases the feasibility of moving in a certain direction. The integrated model also allows for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of changes which leads to problem prevention or early intervention.

IntelliTrack WMS solutions are available for any size and kind of warehouse. However, their effectiveness can be greatly enhanced if they are attached to a company-wide ERP system.

Contact the IntelliTrack team of specialists to start the discussion of installing or upgrading your warehouse inventory management system.