Optimizing Evidence Room

Evidence management is defined as the administration and control of evidence related to an event in order for it to be utilized to prove the circumstances of an event. 

Every piece of evidence should be preserved of its integrity before it may be utilized in court or tested by independent parties. Hence, every item in the evidence room should be looked after carefully. 

Despite the fact that every agency is aware of the need for having a pristine chain of custody, it is still frequently mishandled due to the challenges they are facing. We can all agree that an evidence room is not as simple as recording and keeping when dealing with thousands of pieces of evidence and the pressure of maintaining a proper record and safekeeping.

Keeping Evidence Room Under Control

Thousands of crimes are committed each year, resulting in an increasing amount of evidence being held in warehouses. From collecting to documentation to processing and storage, it’s already a tedious process. Keeping the evidence chain of custody and securing it while maintaining it is another challenging task. 

Evidence room inventory checking and auditing are critical to ensuring the integrity and overall process. It depends on the agency’s preference when they conduct the audit, but it is important to do so for various reasons. 

Stories of missing and stolen evidence are common. These are caused by disorganization and low visibility.

One particular reason is to ensure that all evidence is present and properly accounted for. By taking evidence and physically checking them, you can be certain that it is still where it should be. By doing this, you’re not just ensuring that the items you’re looking for are in their designated location, you’re also checking for items that aren’t supposed to be there. 

Auditing inventories can avoid not only misplaced evidence, but also helps in preventing missing items, especially when high-value evidence is involved, such as money, drugs, and guns. 

Best Practices for Evidence Room Management

Another way to keep the evidence room under control is to follow these practices:

  1. Keeping a correct and complete record.
    • Documentation is commonly taken for granted. Evidence technicians, managers, and other parties involved are sometimes unaware of the importance of detailed documentation until something goes wrong. Evidence could be misplaced or lose its value when improperly handled. 
  2. Keeping the evidence’s value and integrity.
    • Documentation is useless if the evidence’s value and integrity are jeopardized. Keep sensitive evidence, such as biological and other high-value evidence in storage that fits its condition. For keeping the evidence’s integrity, there’s no other best way but to keep an excellent chain of custody.
  3.  Automate the process.
    • Most evidence rooms now have a system in place for documenting, preserving, or auditing objects on a regular basis. This is a sensible move for agencies that have transitioned to using an evidence management system. Things can be automated to save time and ensure that the chain of custody protocols are flawless.

Evidence Management Systems

Evidence is categorized depending on its types, such as weapons, biological items, properties, and documents. Each category requires corresponding storage to maintain its value. An evidence room can expand from rooms, racks, shelves, to multiple locations depending on the types of evidence on hand and the inventory level.

With multiple locations in the evidence room, it’s hard to pinpoint where every item is located, especially those ones that have been in store for a very long time. Without proper auditing, these items might also be misplaced or lost eventually. Checking evidence details and auditing is no longer an exhausting process with the help of an evidence management system. These solutions can help with the easy location of items, automated management, auditing, and reporting.

Reasons to Adopt an Evidence Management System

  • Search option and visual map. Evidence management software includes a search feature that makes it simple to locate stuff. Others even have a visual map that shows you what’s going on in the evidence room from a bird’s eye view. There are also indicators that show where items are and the ability to move them between locations.
  • Activity history. It provides an activity history for auditing purposes. Information such as who, when, and why evidence is transferred, checked-in/out, or released is documented and accessible anytime for reporting.
  • Track miscellaneous inventory and supplies. Personnel can track not only evidence, but also miscellaneous supplies and inventories, such as lab supplies, equipment, forms, and packaging kits, that they need to conduct their jobs.

Visibility is crucial when controlling a large number of important items. You can’t just rely on a list that provides only basic information. By adopting a centralized system like this, agencies can keep the evidence room under control and preserve the integrity of each piece of evidence at the same time.

Managing the Inventory for Search and Rescue Supplies and Equipment

Rescue workers and emergency responders are the first to arrive on the scene after a disaster, often in unfamiliar surroundings and in inclement weather, ready to save lives and secure the environment to help protect the lives of those who come after them. Around piles of rubble, other debris, or collapsed structures, rescue workers and emergency responders may be involved in emergency medical operations involving victim rescue or body recovery.

Search and rescue (SAR) operations are extremely difficult. It has different sub-fields that can be deployed depending on the situation or geographical location, such as ground, sea, natural disaster, aerial, and mounted search and rescues. 

Due to the complexity and varying requirements of different operations, SAR teams require different supplies and equipment, which can be difficult to manage at times, particularly for those that are being moved constantly from one location to another.

Specialized vehicles, equipment, and supplies must be purchased and maintained (all are expensive tasks), and the logistics of managing these assets can be complex. Still, the constant demand and meticulous management for these supplies and equipment must be met in order for the SAR teams to function effectively.

Search and Rescue Supplies and Equipment

During operations, there are a lot of important things to consider but one of those is to make sure that the team is fully equipped with the essential supplies and equipment. There are items that come out from a storeroom and stay outside for a long time such as an individual response kit that is carried by the responder all the time and other items that come out only when needed. 

Personal protection and specialized equipment are the things that help the operations become successful. These items must be managed carefully and should be available immediately specially for operations where rapid response is necessary to maximize positive outcomes.

Ways to Manage SAR Supplies and Equipment

SAR  equipment consists of five types of equipment: medical, rescue, communications, technical support, and logistics. Task groups require certain allocation and the quantity depends on how small or big the groups are. 

It is essential to record the equipment’s maintenance history. To know if equipment requires maintenance, the SAR team should keep track of how the assets were used, for what purposes, and by whom. There are ways to keep track of this information, these are:

  • Manual tracking. The manual tracking process is often paper logs that can be easily crumbled and misplaced. This process usually misses detailed and important information which results in just guessing equipment’s required maintenance.
  • Automated Equipment Tracking. Automated tracking uses software or a system that records important information such as cost, location, movement, historical use, and maintenance details, as well as expiration dates for some items.

Improving Search and Rescue Inventory Management

Search and rescue has a dynamic inventory. It has varieties of assets and multiple locations designated for every emergency and operation. The SAR team’s primary job in every operation is to assist citizens who are in distress. When there’s an emergency, every responder is so focused on providing assistance, and oftentimes, they don’t even think about keeping track of the equipment that comes in and out of the storeroom.

Nowadays, manual tracking of assets is no longer recommended. It makes it impossible to record everything accurately and swiftly and usually results in a lack of efficiency in equipment tracking. 

Automated tracking or tracking using an equipment management system is the key to improving data records. Every supply and equipment is labeled with a barcode that can be quickly scanned during check-out or check-in. The team will no longer have trouble locating assets thanks to automation, as it will have records of who has them and when they were last used in the activity history. The team can also easily make a report by downloading the recorded information in the system. 

IT Asset and Inventory Management

What is IT Asset Management (ITAM)

ITAM is also known as IT inventory management. It ensures the organization’s resources are used efficiently to support the needs of users and business functions. Its process involves gathering detailed hardware and software inventory data, which is then used to make purchasing and asset utilization decisions. 

Having an accurate IT asset inventory allows businesses to make better use of their assets and avoid unnecessary asset purchases by repurposing existing assets. IT asset management also allows businesses to reduce the risks and costs associated with unknowingly launching new IT operations on outdated infrastructure foundations.

Traditionally, businesses have relied on spreadsheets when organizing IT inventory. This is a time-consuming process. The inventory catalog alone includes a lot of information such as product numbers, quantities, users, locations, and other information. It takes a long time to fill out a spreadsheet every time there is a change in inventory. This problem resulted in the birth of IT asset management software (ITAM) which provides automation that is more convenient and beneficial.

IT Asset Management (ITAM) softare

ITAM is in charge of the IT infrastructure. By tracking the status of each asset as it depreciates over time, it helps businesses in maximizing the value of IT equipment and software.

ITAM tool is very common nowadays, especially to companies that use numerous IT assets that can be challenging to monitor manually. What an ITAM tool

does is automatically detects and records the hardware and software information of computers and other devices on a network for management and compliance purposes. It’s a very powerful tool and fundamental in IT asset management. Whenever management requires computer or network data for an audit or even regular asset management, they can simply pull out information from the ITAM software.

In the past, people who manage IT assets used to spend their time on-site. They would walk around manually counting everything and looking for a spreadsheet that had the information they needed. Because of the arrival of modern technology, they do it a lot less now. They can now simply pull out the software that contains extensive and accurate asset information and filter out the items they need to inspect or report on.

ITAM Challenges

Despite the fact that ITAM tools can easily detect all devices and software connected to your network, there are still loophole in the process. What makes ITAM complicated nowadays is the fact that most employees now work from home. IT people monitor not only the devices they have but also how these devices are spread across multiple locations and users. They should maintain the right allocation of devices and make sure every asset is being useful to its assigned user. 

It’s crucial to be able to track down where your company’s assets are at any given time, not just the computers, but also the peripherals such as keyboards, mice, monitors, and headsets. Only then will you be able to effectively allocate and manage your company’s resources as well as make informed decisions about IT asset optimization and management.

What makes ITAM complicated nowadays is the fact that most employees now work from home, making tracking every asset practically difficult.

Increasing Inventory Visibility

With the current situation where most people work remotely, having inventory visibility is undeniably tough. Where your assets are located and who’s using which device are the common questions you may have. Whenever you need information about the quantity and location of each asset you have in the entire network, how confident are you that you’ll be able to locate them easily and make an accurate report about them? The following items might help you.

The Map

Inventory visibility plays a major role in a remote work environment. Making a visual drawing, a visual map that allows seeing the assets and their location is one of the things IT technicians would do to get more visibility. A map gives a comprehensive view of all assets in the IT bubble. It makes things easier and not confusing to look at because assets are placed on the map as they were in real life.

The Map

IT infrastructure can have multiple locations such as rooms, shelves, bins, vehicles, and remote users that require constant monitoring. Having a birds-eye view over your resources, knowing the quantity and who’s using them can help you better allocate assets to meet business needs. 

How it works is that all the IT assets discovered by the ITAM software in the network are automatically imported and synchronized to the inventory map. This way, you can track and organize them based on how they are assigned or moved in real life. 

When your inventory dashboard is a map, you can transfer or assign items by dragging and dropping them between locations. To ensure the asset counts are accurate and distributed properly, you can do quick cycle counts at any of the locations by looking at the location on the map.

Activity History

People that work at home, require multiple items to perform their job. Hundreds of employees multiplied by the number of assets can be cumbersome to monitor when moved between locations or users. To make things easier, a record of who has which items and documentation of activities and changes is a must-have. 

Having an activity history is great for a company that requires accountability to every asset they have. Activity history has a record of every change made including who made the changes, the date and time, and the assets involved. 

The Takeaway

Every business has IT assets that need to be monitored, hence, accurate IT asset management should be aimed. With numerous assets an organization has, it is important to consider the best way to minimize effort and errors as it affects the overall financial situation of the business. 

Automation is highly beneficial in capturing, analyzing, and reporting asset information. It allows operational processes and decision-making to be established based on accurate data. 

Like common inventory management, IT asset management requires a high level of asset visibility. 

Asset mapping is an emerging feature an inventory software can offer. It is like having a birds’ eye view, it helps to easily locate and count assets in multiple locations.

Activity history is another catch. It records information in every change and movement of assets within the organization.

Inventory in the Field

Field operations often cover large geographical areas, they also have remote warehouses, and trunk or van stocks. This type of business requires a meticulous way of managing the inventory. With multiple locations and a variety of small and large products, manual tracking is beyond difficult.

Field inventory is commonly associated with items that are always close to customers. These items are immediately available, either for sale or paid service, and are dispersed in multiple locations.

Field Inventory Management Challenges

1. Having the right product at the right time

When a business offers a type of service that relies on what the customers or the circumstance require, the availability of the correct items at the right time is highly valued. However, businesses sometimes overstock because of the fear of running out of supplies.

2. Excess stock

Some businesses tend to overstock because they have very little, to no way of looking at what they have in stock. They would repurchase even though the items they currently have are moving slow. This would cause the said items to expire and/or become scrap.

3. Too many small value items 

Small items with small values can be cumbersome. Optimization of every single inventory unit with small values, multiplied by several locations would require a lot of time and effort.

Beneficial Way to Manage Field Inventory

Inventory is one of the largest business assets. Traditional techniques of inventory management are effective, but that alone is no longer efficient, given the sudden changes in the environment and the different customer preferences.

The image above shows the WAREHOUSE, the FIELD 1 (yellow) that represents overstock, and the FIELD 2 (red) that represent stock out (these fields can also be company vehicles or mobiles that carry inventory for sales or services).

The traditional way to resolve this problem is to transfer some products directly from FIELD 1 to 2, or transfer items from the WAREHOUSE to FIELD 2, then transfer overstock items from FIELD 1 back to the WAREHOUSE or to other locations that require them. The traditional way is often forgotten because of the pressure to have the right product in stock at the right time, and not having inventory visibility

The key to inventory visibility is to have a very keen eye that oversees the locations and inventory levels in the overall operation. It would also help to have a centralized inventory management system that records all the changes made including the username, date, and time. All of these will help in inventory optimization and will lessen the cost of missing and lost inventories.

An introduction to technology such as an inventory management system is a great investment. It serves as the eye that oversees the entire operation. It also helps greatly in resolving common challenges, especially when the industry in questions requires detailed information of daily operation from multiple locations.

Hospital Inventory in Time of Pandemic

The healthcare industry has constantly been receiving a high volume of patients since COVID-19 began. On the peak of the virus’s spread, hospitals had shortages in almost all aspects: inventory, rooms, and staff.

When several countries started vaccinating their citizens, COVID patients started to decline. Everyone thought the pandemic was finally about to end, however, new variants of the virus started to emerge, such as Delta and Omicron. These variants showed extremely high infection rates. Governments and the healthcare sectors started fearing for another wave of chaos in hospitals. 

Hospital inventory management during a pandemic is inevitably challenging. There are shortages with hospital beds, staff, and in the backend, PPEs, cleaning supplies, and ventilators. These things are all important and very much needed by hospitals in order for them to conduct tests and take care of their patients and staff.

The Challenges

Maintaining Capacity for Patients 

It was very difficult for almost every hospital to keep up with the demand. Hundreds, if not thousands of patients were in line, waiting to be admitted in the hospital, meanwhile, the COVID survivors inside the hospital can’t be discharged without testing negative for the virus. Some hospitals had to set up tents to accommodate more patients.

Keeping Sufficient Staff

Staff shortage is very common in hospitals and testing centres. Most staff are often asked to work double shifts, and because of this, the chance of them getting infected by the virus increases, and when they will be infected they will have to be treated. The remaining staff will then be asked to cover more shifts. This is a vicious cycle and a seemingly unending nightmare for hospitals.

Shortage of Hospital Supplies

  • Testing supplies. Many hospitals were unable to keep up with COVID-19 testing requirements because of the need to test not only the patients but also the staff. Not only that, hospital staff are also required to be tested every week or so, which makes sense.
  • PPEs. PPEs are very important for hospital staff, everyday they face COVID patients and it’s the only thing that protects them from the virus, so it’s only proper that they should be required to wear PPEs whenever they are at the hospital.
  • Critical Supplies and Materials. Hospitals, especially smaller ones, had shortages of critical supplies and materials such as IV poles, linens, cleaning supplies, medical gas, ventilators, thermometers, and even food. Even if these hospitals had space to accommodate new patients, they wouldn’t have the supplies or materials needed to take care of them.

Conclusion

Hospital supplies and equipment have become even more important in the last 2 years. The healthcare industry had such a hard time trying to keep up with so much demand. Even PPEs that were previously not very common have become in-demand. Some hospitals are saying PPEs would last for only a few days/weeks and replenishments are hard to come by because the public purchases them as well.

Challenges in these difficult times are inevitable, so the small things we could do to make everything a little easier are very important. 

When inventory level would reach their minimum thresholds, it’s good to have an indication so that you’ll know when to reorder supplies and avoid shortage. Hospitals have a lot of busy departments. Managing inventory in multiple locations can be cumbersome at times, and an inventory management system can greatly help in making this task easier. Systems like this can help with optimizing inventory and getting accurate, real-time information of inventory levels in multiple locations, and it’s definitely one of the few ways to make managing hospital inventory easier.

Inventory Visibility at an Industrial Construction Site

There are multiple departments in a construction project and the thing that connects all of them is ensuring the materials are purchased, delivered, and properly managed all the time to avoid delays.

When the business grows and gets multiple projects simultaneously, managing materials can be cumbersome. Scheduling both orders and the reception of materials can be complicated at times.

Maintaining accurate and streamlined information is crucial throughout the project execution. Problems and challenges may arise when inventory management is not done properly. When construction is delayed, it’s cost increases.

What’s in it for you to have good inventory management?

Inventory management is beneficial in every business. However, keeping track of the equipment and materials used on each job site can be complicated. This can be done with the help of new technology such as an inventory management system. It’s also easy to use and is accessible via a computer, laptop, or mobile phone.

One of the many causes of project delays is a shortage of materials, and this usually happens because of poor inventory management. These project delays will ultimately result in unsatisfied clients and a bad business reputation.

Achieving an optimized inventory will not only avoid delays but also avoid damage to the reputation of your business. The following are ways to minimize problems in material management:

Make a Suppliers List

Problems with materials are inevitable, and these problems will require prompt action. Any problem with inventory management can easily result in delays and affect the project financially. This is why you should have a list of all the suppliers and their contact information in case there will be a shortage of materials.

It would also be a good idea to have an on-call supplier that has no problem processing rush orders. They may charge a little more but you will only be purchasing from them in special cases, and they can be a big help with inventory problems.

Regular Audit of Existing Materials

This can be a tedious task, but a regular audit of materials is very crucial to ensure smooth business operations and continuity. Keeping tabs on materials is a necessity in every project, this helps prevent unforeseen shortages and losses. Fast-moving items such as nails, drill bits, and rivets are commonly overlooked, but if left unchecked, these may cause significant loss in the long run.

You have to be sure that the information you have about all your equipment and materials are always accurate.

Consider New Technology

It’s an obvious fact that the construction industry is well-versed in technology regarding engineering and architectural designs. But the thing is, these are not the only important aspects when considering construction, the execution is also part of it. Getting accurate information on inventory levels is essential for an industry that handles numerous amounts of materials for every project. The “Old School” method of monitoring inventory, which is with the use of spreadsheets, is very prone to human errors. A single mistake in tracking may cause shortages of materials, delays, and ultimately increase expenses.

Everything that contains a supply, material, or equipment is a location, that includes vehicles.

When managing inventory, we treat everything that contains a supply, material, or equipment as locations. Monitoring everything that’s going in and out of these locations is exhausting, especially when you have to do a physical audit every time you require information. Using an inventory management system is the key to simplifying this tedious process. With this software, you will have a system that can increase inventory visibility and help you manage multiple locations effortlessly. You will get streamlined and centralized data in each location. You should also consider a tool that is accessible anytime, anywhere; whether you’re in the field, office, or even at home.

General Store Inventory Management Problems and Solutions

In an industry where disorganized inventory greatly affects customer satisfaction directly, extra effort is required when managing said inventory. This is because things are moving so fast and there are various products and multiple locations to manage. Having accurate data can greatly aid in efficient decision-making. Streamlined inventory management captures enough information to minimize expenses from overstocks and stockouts.

From the acquisition of products, to their distribution and retail, inventory management is one of the toughest tasks to handle. It requires a lot of time, and is also prone to human error.

Below are the most common problems a general store usually faces and their solutions:

Stock-outs

This sounds really costly and upsetting. When your business suffers from stock-outs frequently, especially with household items, there is a big chance you will lose customers and decrease sales.

Solution: Getting alerts or indications that the inventory in a certain location on your map has reached a certain threshold will help you be aware of the items you should include on your next replenishment.

Expired Items

Overstocking often results in expired items, but it can also be a consequence of inefficient inventory monitoring. This is very crucial, and a keen eye is needed to monitor expiration dates, not only with the existing items in your inventory but also for the incoming products. For General Stores, the First-in First-out (FIFO) process is common in inventory management. Failing to follow this may cause the expiration of old products.

Solution: Similar to the solution for stock-outs, getting alerts for expired items, or items that are about to expire is a great way of knowing the order in which items should be sold, disposed, or replaced. This will help you avoid selling expired items and the costs of spoiled goods.

Data Inaccessibility and Miscommunication

Everyone involved in the business should have access to data that is important to their roles. Information should be available whenever they need it. Lack of access may affect their productivity.

Miscommunication causes chaos in business data and can result in bad decision-making. There are updates that are not being extended to every member of an organization. There are also mistakes that are not accounted for due to a lack of activity records in the store. This can cause misunderstanding and confusion.

Solution: A centralized inventory monitoring can be achieved by having a system that increases the accuracy of operations. With the help of a centralized system and employees having access to it, everyone in the business will know every update in the business. It also holds enough information for employees to identify products and other information about changes made within the business.

Disorganized Inventory

When there are numerous products as well as multiple locations, keeping track of every item and location becomes really challenging. Ineffective inventory management could lead to missing/lost products, low visibility, and poor inventory replenishment decisions. 

Solution: Investing in a good inventory management system that does not offer random features but meets your actual needs will be a great help. Barcoding, product information optimization, centralized inventory management, and inventory visibility are great features you’ll get in exchange for a small price compared to the possible losses you may encounter due to poor inventory management.

Final Words

All the problems above are common and mostly encountered when doing manual inventory management. An inventory management system can ease the trouble of managing a store’s inventory. The system that best fits your needs can simplify your day-to-day operation.

Life at Emergency Medical Service (EMS)

Emergency medical services (EMS) have always been a vital part of any community, and with today’s pandemic, they have become even more essential. For some, they are the thin line between life and death. EMS responders have been working tirelessly since the pandemic started. Some are already used to the workload caused by the increasing number of infected people, while some are still struggling.

EMS Problem

Emergency medical services have two things to be mindful of each time an emergency arises. It is to respond to said emergency immediately with all the necessary equipment, and to monitor what goes out and goes back every time.

Manual tracking and accounting of all equipment and supplies is both confusing and exhausting, to say the least. Even on regular days, EMS are called out to multiple locations to help. Every time EMS responders go out, they will bring supplies and equipment to help them treat patients or to provide first aid before transporting them to a hospital. In situations like this, keeping supplies and equipment is the least of their worries, which sometimes leads them to accidentally leaving essential items on the scene.

Using the traditional way of inventory management, accounting for missing items is difficult. Making use of a tool that can keep up with the fast-paced environment the EMS is facing every day would be very beneficial.

EMS Inventory Management System

There are hundreds of EMS inventory management systems. If you’re tired of inventory problems and ready to invest in an inventory management system that can make everything easier. The common features of an IMS are inventory control, barcoding, accessibility, etc., but you have to look out for certain IMS that has the following features:

  • Centralized inventory management
  • Easy monitoring of expiration dates
  • Inventory movement history
  • Inventory Visibility

Centralized inventory management

This helps keep everything synchronized, especially when there are multiple locations to manage and multiple users that update the system simultaneously.

Easy monitoring of expiration dates

With the expiry date monitoring feature, expired supplies will be a thing of the past. You can prioritize using items that are about to expire and reorder to replenish expired goods to make sure essential items are always available.

Inventory movement history

Stocking each mobile, replenishing low-level supplies, and counting supplies and equipment right after an emergency needs to be tracked each day. With the help of the Activity History, you can also check what comes out and comes back from a vehicle, or anything for that matter, to make sure everything is accounted for.

Inventory Visibility

Lack of visibility is a common problem faced not just by EMS but also other businesses. This is also a feature missing from most inventory management systems.

Inventory visibility is knowing what inventory you have in what location, at any given moment. This is a vital feature, especially for EMS inventory management. In times of emergency, you will never know who took which items from what location or storage, and if something goes missing, no one will be accounted for and will just be assumed as a loss.

Inventory visibility can come with an actual visual map that represents the exact locations of your business. With a map, you can easily drag and drop items between multiple locations. Just a glance, you will see the content of each location, whether it is a closet, a room, a vehicle, or bins.

Inventory visibility allows for accurate information as it relates to inventory levels and locations, accountability, and data-driven decisions.

Conclusion

The EMS industry has been a great support in the healthcare sector but EMS responders are getting over worked and people who manage the resources are exhausted in keeping track of supply and equipment every day. Inventory management is an underestimated but key component to the success of an EMS. 

Whether traditional or innovative approaches to managing inventory, you must consider things that can make everything easier not only for inventory managers but also for the responders. Tracking, monitoring, and accounting in a fast-paced environment without missing anything is simply impossible. You need something such as inventory management software to look after supplies, equipment, and multi-locations.  

EMS inventory management is as important as having enough people and equipment.

Inventory Visibility for Fire Stations

Consider this image: It’s been a while since the last time someone called your station for an emergency. You wake up and proceed with your everyday routine. You get a cup of coffee and turned on the tv, you watched the news and learned about the pandemic. You just found out that hundreds of thousands of people have already been infected and that your country just closed its borders. You were in shock and you ask yourself: “what’s my life as a firefighter going to be?”

Your current ways or techniques in handling problems are no longer efficient these days compared to the regular old days. You may be thinking of new ways to make your job more efficient. Who knows, maybe the things you’re used to in the past can be improved, maybe you just haven’t explored modern techniques yet.

What can you do to make things easier?

There are consumable and non-consumable supplies in a fire station.

Consumables include truck wash, alcohol, paper towels, hand soap, and other supplies, whereas non-consumable items are gears, equipment, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) products.

Even if you’re motivated enough to record and monitor everything manually, there’s still a big chance of you encountering problems or mistakes. To handle these things more effectively and to avoid chaos in the station because of missing and lacking supplies, you need an efficient tool to help you do things perfectly. 

Items in every station move fast everyday, whether there are drills, emergencies, or even on regular days. A powerful tool such as an inventory management software will help you record, monitor, and access data anytime, thus making your job more efficient and accurate. 

How can Inventory Management System (IMS) make things easier?

An IMS requires a little more investment than your traditional inventory management. However, the features and the help it offers far outweigh the cost. It can give you more visibility in the overall movement of inventory. A properly-managed inventory is crucial for a seamless operation and is a big help in responding quickly during emergencies. Organized supplies help the firemen to more efficient during emergencies and prevent the loss of lives and further damage to properties.

What makes everything visible is an actual map of the locations, a visual picture of your day-to-day operations. With a map, you can monitor supplies as they move around the station and during any operation.

Below is a sample inventory map where you can find all the locations in your station:

A visual map makes you see exactly what you have on hand and where each item is located.

Everything and anything in your office that has items inside it is a location. From small bins to cabinets, shelves, and rooms. Even a fire truck can be considered a location. Every person in a fire station has his/her own supplies, and these supplies have to be monitored to avoid losses. 

Aside from having inventory visibility, the standard features found in an IMS are:

  • Inventory Management
  • Inventory Alerts
  • Barcoding
  • Transfer Management Capabilities
  • Easy Access and Real-Time Updates

Conclusion

Firefighters can’t go inside fires naked, there are necessary equipment that will help them fight the flames and keep them from becoming victims. The job of inventory personnel is to optimize the inventory, to make the jobs of firefighters a little easier. 

Inventory management System (IMS) is worth it, but you have to find a system that best fit your needs. If you have problems with inventory visibility, then you would need an IMS that has a visual map feature.

5 Best Features to Look for in an Inventory Management System

Almost every business out there has some kind of inventory, it can be in the form of supplies, raw materials, and some business even consider human resource as inventory. There are businesses that would benefit more with an Inventory Management System (IMS), some examples would be a manufacturing business, retail stores, distribution business, and warehouses. If you are part of this industry, you might be well aware of the usual problems such as stock-outs, missing inventory, and time-consuming inventory quantity monitoring.

Inventory Management System

Inventory management systems are one of the most acquired applications of today, simply because the amount of help they give to businesses involved in buying and selling products is immeasurable. These systems help businesses supervise the flow of their operations. This ‘flow’ has different stages, namely: acquisition, manufacturing, warehousing, and retail & distribution.

There are thousands of software you can choose from. The following are the top key features to consider when getting an inventory management software:

  1. User-friendly and accessibility
  2. Easy transfer between locations
  3. Inventory level alert
  4. Barcode scanning
  5. Real-time tracking/Visibility

User-friendly and accessibility

Not everyone is tech-savvy. so it makes sense to get a system that is easy to use and understand to avoid costly mistakes and reduced expenses on training. It would also be helpful if the inventory data is accessible on different devices such as laptops, desktops, or even mobile phones. This way you can view information and make decisions anytime and anywhere.

Easy transfer between locations

Transferring items from one location to another is a tedious process, mainly because it also requires different information to be transferred as well. When this task is done manually, you will need to type in a lot of information from both locations, so everything will be accounted for. But with the help of a software, collecting information like this can be done in just a few clicks.

Inventory level alert

To avoid stockouts, having a warning or alert whenever the inventory level reaches a certain threshold is a big plus. This will prompt you to reorder more items to fill in the low-level inventory.

Barcode scanning

With a barcode scanner, you can do pretty much everything. You can simplify inventory management by tracking your products and location with the use of a barcode scanner. By simply scanning a barcode you can transfer items and check them in or out of a location.

Real-time tracking/Visibility

Having visibility over your inventory is a huge time saver. You can find an item and see where it is in the warehouse by simply typing in its details on the search field.  There’s a new and very innovative way to have visibility over your entire inventory, even if you have hundreds of locations, and this is called an Inventory Map.

The Map

Having multiple locations with different systems can lead to poor data sharing and poor decision-making. But by using a centralized map that represents the business, whether you have multiple warehouses, manufacturing facilities, or retail locations, makes everything connected and accounted for. It will also help decision-makers have a better understanding of what’s going on with the business operations by being able to access accurate and timely information.

Aside from the smooth flow of information, having a map greatly helps in inventory visibility. You can easily check items in different locations and find things quickly in just a few clicks. 

Summary

Businesses with an enormous inventory requires more manpower if they will rely on manual inventory tracking. Doing everything manually also leads to human errors, and errors in business are synonymous to costs/expenses.

Relying on an inventory management system can help businesses reduce costs in the long run. Businesses will have less requirement for manpower in the management of their inventory, which means less expenses in salary. Everything can be automated, and you can get all the information quickly wherever you are in just a few clicks. 

Using the Inventory Map, you can get all the visibility you need to locate everything in your inventory. It helps save a lot of time and effort.

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