DeSoto County, FL is home to 34,894 citizens and has 28 buildings managed by a Facilities Department of five. When the department took on the task of maintaining supplies for the entire county, they chose to implement InventoryEdge to streamline their operations. Richard Metzger, Facilities Director, tells us how InventoryEdge has made their inventory management process simple, and how productivity has immensely improved in the department.
Here is their story:
The county began buying supplies in bulk and had our department start managing all materials in order to standardize the process. So we took on the responsibility of administering the total inventory supply for our county whereas we had previously managed only our own supplies. It was time-consuming for us to develop processes to manage all of the stock, especially with a team of only five and 28 buildings to look after. I had been considering FacilityDude software as a way to help us streamline our operations and we ended up buying MaintenanceEdge and InventoryEdge. We implemented InventoryEdge first because getting a handle on our inventory processes was a priority.
I put off my decision to purchase FacilityDude software for about a year and my main reason for delaying was that I didn’t think I’d have time to implement. I’m not just the director of this department: I’m the purchasing manager and bookkeeper and anything else that needs to get done, so implementation would fall on me and I didn’t think I had time for it. Turns out, I managed to get set up really quickly in the system because I already had a list of our inventory and I just shut the door to my office and entered it. I started weekly trainings and by the second training, I had most of our inventory entered. The customer support was great—they made sure we got going in the system. So even though we didn’t have an administrator to help us set up our account, we still managed to do it pretty fast.
Managing inventory for the county means we need to be on top of our order schedules and stock levels. For instance, paper products are delivered on Monday so I need to place orders by Thursday or I won’t get what I need. If I don’t keep up on supply levels, I spend extra time and effort getting what we forgot to order. Maintaining proper stock levels used to be a problem before implementing InventoryEdge. Sometimes, I’d go to fill an order and realize we didn’t have what was requested in stock because whoever took the last of it forgot to tell me to order more. I’d have to call the supplier and see if we could get more rushed to us. Then, I’d have to contact the department that requested the items and let them know that we were out. We would track and enter all this information by hand and make all these follow-up calls, and it was a lengthy process. Occasionally, we would run out of an item that a department absolutely had to have right that moment. In those cases, I’d have to find the closest supplier and try to get a speedy delivery. In one particular case, we were short items that our convention center absolutely needed for the weekend. Luckily, our sales person from that supplier was nice enough to meet me halfway with a couple boxes. (Being in a small town, we’re not close to the big cities with major commercial suppliers, so it was a bit of a drive.) InventoryEdge has been a great help in all of this. The biggest benefit we’ve seen is that we no longer realize we’re out of something when we’re in the process of filling an order. It’s been a huge help for me to be alerted when we’re low in supplies—that has been worth its weight in gold to me.
Because of InventoryEdge, I was able to promote one of my Maintenance Techs to Warehouse Controller and give him a raise. Before we started using the system, one of the guys had taken on the job of running the warehouse manually. Once we implemented, I showed him how to use the system. He caught on quickly and has done a great job with everything we need him to do. I told my boss how many new duties he had taken on and how proficient we had become at tracking inventory—now we know where everything is going and how much it costs. They approved a promotion and raise! That same warehouse controller took a vacation to the beach recently. He was sitting on the beach and his phone alerted him to an inventory request. He brought up the order on his phone and processed it—all while sitting on the beach with his family. I was happy to see such a dedicated employee; I told my bosses the story and they were impressed as well.
Now, I can keep better track of our inventory expenses. We bill departments when they receive supplies from us and the finance office manages payments between all the departments. We now print a list that goes with our supply deliveries to show what was ordered and the cost. Before, all I had was a file of paper requests in no particular order. It was hard to keep up with who owed what and whether or not we were recouping all of our payments. Now, I have electronic records so I don’t have to worry about a bunch of papers thrown in a folder. I can run reports on how much various departments have ordered and check that we’re recovering the funds we’re due.
We’ve also been using MaintenanceEdge. I was willing to wait on that for a while after we got InventoryEdge up and running, but my customers were clamoring for me to get this system up and running too. They love the ease of submitting inventory requests online and wanted to be able to do it with work requests as well. Since my customers were asking for it, we shifted gears and started working on getting it going. With MaintenanceEdge, our productivity has increased immensely. Before, people would fax work requests or call our office. There was hardly ever anybody in our office because we were all out in the field, so we kept having to drive back to check for new tickets. Now, an email comes to me and my operations supervisor as soon as someone enters a request. By the time I check the email, my operations supervisor has usually already assigned out the work or even completed the request. We’ve been able to respond to work orders so much faster with MaintenanceEdge. Also, the requestors love getting an email telling them their work request has been assigned or completed.
The combination of MaintenanceEdge and InventoryEdge has dramatically improved our department’s efficiency. The budget has been cut so much that there’s no way we will get more staff, so we have to be as productive as possible with the people we have. FacilityDude’s tools help us do just that!
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