Public sector logistics & the art of asset tracking
The results of a recent Granby survey confirmed that one of the biggest challenges for public sector logistics is asset tracking.
One way to keep a handle on the whereabouts and stewardship of an asset is by using a warehouse management system (WMS) that has end-to-end tracking.
It’s relatively simple to put a WMS into place to protect your capital investment. First though, let’s take a look at the specific 3PL challenges / needs the public sector has.
Public sector asset management
Our survey is being prepared for publication, so we can’t say any more right now – we’ll let you know when it’s live.
What we can say is that it’s a piece of research has explored pain points around logistics and warehousing requirements. As a Crown Commercial Services supplier, providing 3PL solutions that meet requirements is a priority.
This Q&A reveals the top reply, clearly demonstrating the public sector’s core frustration.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you believe that your organisation faces when handling logistics and warehousing?
A: The ability to track resources effectively (42%)
On top of this, asset and resource tracking came top for improvements:
Q: How do you feel that your organisation can improve the way in which it carries out its logistics and warehousing?
A: Better asset and resource tracking (39%)
As we said above, it’s simplicity itself to put a system into place to protect capital investment. A good WMS will also help you streamline overall or ongoing costs of a project.
Asset tracking: protecting capital investment
The most common reason for wanting to get control over assets is cost. In large, complex organisations, especially those with disparate or nomadic teams, it’s depressingly easy to lose sight and control of high value items.
Even the loss of smaller value items can have an exponential impact. If assets are being used by field teams – characterised by high churn and attrition of personnel – the never-ending racking-up of unreturned items adds up quickly.
Case study: national government
40,000 people had a mobile device for a campaign that had a defined end date. Our client’s contract with their technology supplier was that, if the devices were returned in good condition, they would receive a partial refund.
We tracked the devices on our warehouse management system using their IMEI barcode. When they were returned by the field teams at the end of the campaign, we quality checked them and recorded their condition.
The comprehensive reports pulled down from the WMS provided the proof the client needed to claim their partial refund.
How asset tracking works as a fulfilment process
You can track anything that has a unique barcode- it’s basically managing stock end-to-end. For most of our clients, this means items for field work, like laptops, phones and lone worker alarms, uniforms and exhibition stands.
How asset tracking works
- You can utilise any barcode as long as it’s unique (i.e. not a batch code), like the IMEI number on a mobile phone or one created especially.
- We’ll scan it into our system and follow it wherever it goes. Carriers are linked to our WMS too, so each time it’s scanned, the system updates its location and status.
- Once the item is due for return, we can see (via the carrier scans) that it’s on its way back to our warehouse for quality checking.
- If an item isn’t returned within the bounds of the contractual agreement, our client has the up-to-date information and can take action.
Case study: national public sector project
40,000 people had a lone worker device for a large-scale task that had a defined end date. Our client’s contract with their technology supplier was that, if the devices were returned in good condition, they would receive a partial refund.
We tracked the devices on our warehouse management system using their IMEI barcode. When they were returned at the end of the campaign, we quality checked them and recorded their condition.
The field workers were contracted to return the devices after 7 days of either leaving their role or upon the agreed conclusion of the project. This SLA of 7 days was set by our client and is tracked and reported upon within the WMS.
We (and the client) were also able to see who had not returned equipment. In accordance with their contracts, they were either billed or had the value deducted from their final salary.
We enhanced our WMS within SCOPe to give clients full, detailed, realtime views of tracked assets. These can be turned into downloadable reports, including:
- A master asset tracker
- Details of a single asset/user
Fulfilment logistics for the public sector
Our fulfilment technology is called SCOPe. It’s unique, designed by us. We invest thousands into it, continually improving it and offering our public sector clients improved, innovative functionality that’s just not available anywhere else in the 3PL sector.
SCOPe has 3 core functions that offer valuable support and opportunity to public sector logistics.
- WMS – e.g inventory (asset) tracking, returns logistics
- OrderSure – e.g. inventory management, campaign reporting
- 3PL process automation – e.g. supply chain integration, KPI tracking
Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash