Quartermasters can have a complicated job when it comes to receiving equipment. Sometimes the shipments come in waves, other times they come one right after the other, and even still there can be times where they don’t arrive when they’re supposed to, leaving them with a void in their pre-determined workflow. Sure, there’s always something else that can be done, but these types of moments are frustrating. Conversely, quartermasters get stuck trying to remove items that are being taken out of service. Maybe they’ve run their course and are being trashed, maybe they’re going to auction, maybe another agency purchased them, regardless of the circumstances, between these two types of tasks, your quartermaster can be inundated quickly without an efficient way out. You can’t fix a shipper’s service, or an abrupt change in your agency’s infrastructure, but you can make life easier for your quartermaster if one simple tool: bulk entry and removal.
The concept is simple: the ability to enter items in bulk, whereby the quartermaster can apply one scan of the item, confirm the quantity, and all data arrives in the entry. The quartermaster confirms the entry a final time, and moves on to the next items to be entered. Believe it or not, many asset management software offerings out there don’t provide this. The few that do, don’t make it this easy. The reasons for that vary, but that does not matter. The focus of any asset management software should be to get your products confirmed quickly, stored and organized smoothly, and available for deployment immediately. Whether it’s “new budget” season, and everything from your uniform vendor came in at the same time as a shipment of shotguns, 40mm CS grenades, and reflective vests, your quartermaster should be able to bulk enter these items much quicker than the task suggests, and then all that’s left is getting the items to the proper storage location. Manual labor is always the tough part of the job, but some asset management software out there would lead you to believe that it’s not. That’s not right.
In similar fashion, when it’s time to remove lots of equipment, your quartermaster needs to have the option of bulk removal. True, there will be single items here and there that simply don’t afford this option to them. But in many cases, equipment gets replaced wholly, and as such, the ability to remove items in bulk is very helpful to your quartermaster. In the entry process, it’s easier to think of this task, like the example given, multiple like items come in, so naturally scanning them in once is an easy thing to do and realize, even for the untrained. When it comes to bulk removal, it’s the same process. But there are other tricks to getting it done that entry doesn’t afford. In another article, we’ll discuss the idea of kits and how they work, but for the purposes in this article, we’ll suggest some ways of reducing labor that utilize bulk removal. Kits are a simple concept in the world of a quartermaster. They are a grouping of items that serve as a “standard issue” to a new officer, or evidence technician, or any other defined personnel that requires issuance of equipment. While bulk removal can be accomplished by simply scanning one item and entering the quantity, there may be times where it’s easier to group items into kits and scan them out as kits. As an example, let’s say you have 17 pairs of uniform pants, nine mobile radios, 13 flashlights, and 11 patrol first aid kits. Your quartermaster could make nine sets with one item each of the four products, and scan that once as a kit, and then make single kit with the remaining items. This means they scan two times, confirm the kits leaving their storage, and the job is done. They should be able to set individual destinations for the items (disposal, auction, etc.), and still minimize scanning and handling. It turns a job that may take an hour into 15 minutes. And for every 45 minutes of labor saved, means your quartermaster has more time to do the job of managing the stores of equipment your agency has, which in turn leads to greater accuracy of reports and accountability.
This is a simple explanation of bulk entry and removal. Over time, we plan on expanding on the use of this feature in everyday functions by your quartermaster. But as you can see, it’s a quick way for your quartermaster to get items in and out of your agency storage. And the quicker they can handle external transfers, the quicker internal ones can be done, and that makes the most error-prone part of the job easier to manage, and more accurate.
Be safe out there!