For preparedness towards that call that “it’s go-time”, response teams need to track their equipment accurately.
Manually tracking equipment with pens, paper, and spreadsheets generates accountability issues; mostly when poor records provide inaccurate details about the level of preparedness, and the safety of equipment being used.
Once you have a unique numbering system in place, barcoding is a simple technology that can be implemented for a quick and reliable equipment tracking solution.
The benefits of barcoding
As each item of equipment is labeled with a unique barcode, scanning it will bring it up on the screen of a mobile device or tablet to allow you to record action.
Using a barcoding technology has many benefits for your emergency response organization:
1- Provides greater mobility and flexibility: enabling the equipment manager to use their mobile devices to scan barcodes wherever they are.
2- Decreases data entry errors: barcoding technology decreases data entry errors, from manually typing in the wrong number.
3- Saves time: equipment managers can quickly and easily scan the barcode on an item of equipment rather than waste time typing in the unique reference number.
4- Improves productivity: As time is cut down, more time can be spent working on equipment.
What is needed to implement a barcode system within your response team?
Barcoding systems typically consist of barcode labels, printing equipment to produce the labels, a barcode reading equipment, and most importantly an effective, robust system to track equipment.
Barcode printers: are ideal for the equipment labeling needs. Available in various sizes and print capacity. Although a professional label printer is recommended, there are also services available to order barcodes delivered to you (E.g. myassettag.com)
Barcode scanners: For scanning barcodes, you can choose a variety of brands that offer quality dedicated scanners that connect by Bluetooth or USB to your laptop. But many systems allow the use of mobile devices to scan equipment barcodes with their built-in camera. This option could be more convenient at times.
Barcodes need a dedicated equipment management software solution to be able to look-up the item in. An effective equipment management software for response teams like D4H, allows you to access real-time inventory reports, and to compile and analyze essential data.
How to use barcodes
Step 1 - Scan Barcode
D4H offers native iOS and Android equipment management apps with built-in barcode scanning. Just tap the Scan button to pull up the camera on your mobile device and scan a barcode. After the barcode is recognized by the camera, the barcode string will automatically be recorded.
Step 2 - Take Action...
Create a repair, complete an inspection, add as used at an activity, or mark an item out of service.