Category Archives: Asset Tracking

Feature Spotlight – Consumables and Hard Goods

Our ongoing Feature Spotlight series highlights one important tool in the TrackAbout toolbox to help you operate more efficiently and maximize the utilization of your assets.

Consumables and Hard Goods Delivery and Billing

What are Consumables and Hard Goods?  As opposed to Rental goods, which are rented out to customers and then returned to you, Consumables and Hard Goods are items provided to your customers that you don’t expect to have returned.  These could be items such as medical tubing, welding wire, gloves, goggles, etc.  You may not need to track each of these items individually, but you need to know how many and of what type made it to the customer.  You can deliver these, and bill them, right out of TrackAbout.

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TrackAbout Release Notes – May 2016

TrackAbout regularly puts out new features and improves existing ones. Below are some of the changes in the next scheduled software release.

If you have questions about how you can start using any of these new features please reach out to our Support team at support@trackabout.com.

Verification Page – Quicker Report Results

Our Verifications page is a tool to review customer deliveries and how they match (or don’t match) to customer orders.   This page is used daily by clients to keep customer balances in sync between Trackabout and external accounting systems.

VerificationsPage

 

Some clients found the Verifications Page was taking a long time to provide results.  We’ve made two changes to the page to improve the way it runs and decrease the completion time for the report:

  • We have created a checkbox to omit Undelivered Orders from the report output.  Often a user will come to this page to find unverified records based on completed deliveries and won’t need to see those that are undelivered.  Leaving these records out will decrease the time needed for the report to run.

OmitUndeliveredOrders

Please note, this checkbox is checked by default to maintain consistency with existing page behavior.  However, the user can uncheck this box and filter Undelivered Orders out of the report.

  • The option “Only Show Records Marked for Investigation” was  not working properly.  Even when checked,   the report showed all results.  This has been corrected, and so when checked, this option will help decrease     the number of results, thus decreasing execution time.

TAMobile6 Support for Trovan RFID Readers

Some TrackAbout clients choose to track assets with RFID tags.  These require special readers to pick up the electronically stored information.  TrackAbout has long supported the use of Trovan RFID Readers for TAM5 use.  Now, this capability has been added for the TAM6 application as well.

If you’re interested in how RFID technology works and whether it might be an option for your business, our partner, Barcoding Inc, provides some information on their website.

Medical Valve Validation: Full Life vs Half Life

You can use TrackAbout to enforce business rules regarding Medical Valves.  By tracking valve manufacture dates and setting expiration periods, TrackAbout can conduct validation checks when scanning assets with medical valves, and prevent expiring valves from being used.

TrackAbout has expanded this valve verification to work based on both the full life and/or half life of the valve.  Full life is the period of the time the valve can be in service without requiring maintenance.  Half life refers to to the halfway point to that expiration date.

This allows your system administrators to decide if TrackAbout should prohibit the use of medical valves once they’ve past their their half life, or allow them to be used all the way to their full life.

As an example, if validation is set to Half Life, an operator will receive an error when scanning an asset with a medical valve that is more than halfway to its expiration date.   They will not be permitted to add that asset to the record:

HalfLifeError

Improvements to pages for managing Orders

Clients using our Proof of Delivery module commonly use the Add New Order and Order Search pages for Adding and/editing Orders (Pending Deliveries).  However, these pages had interfaces that were outdated and not as user friendly as they should be.  We’ve done a bit of updating to both of these pages.

For example, here is what the old Order Item Table and Item input looked like from the Add New Order page:

Old_Add New Order Items

In this old model, when a user clicked Add new line item to order on Either the Add New Order page or Editing existing Orders, you would have to scroll through the page to find the input table.  

In contrast, the input pop ups will now have an updated look with a more user friendly interface, and appear to the user regardless of where on the screen they are viewing.  Here is a sample of how the updated Table and Item Input look:

New_Add New Order Items

Fix – Signatures appearing too large on Delivery Receipts

From our clients using O’Neil printers along with the Proof of Delivery Module, we received reports that digitally captured signatures were appearing too large on both printed receipts and digital receipts from the website.

We’ve addressed the issue and have been able to shrink down those images.  Signatures should appear more legible on both print out receipts and website pdf receipts (although we can’t do anything about the chicken scratch!)

New “Release Lots for Delivery” Process

How about a brand new feature this month!  TrackAbout now provides a tool, as part of our Palletization module, to release Lots that have been packed up and are ready to be delivered.

This process is used by clients who sort items by lot / batch number into containers in preparation for delivery, who then require a final approval before the items can be shipped off.

Operators will use the Delivery Sort (Palletize Fulls) action to capture specific release information and scan assets being palletized for delivery.

Once the action is saved, TrackAbout Admin will use the new Release Finished Product Lots page to provide a final approval and release the items for delivery.  

Release Finished Product Lots

Check out the wiki for more information on Lot Tracking features.

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Recovering Delinquent Rental Revenue with TrackAbout

General Welding Tracks Down Rental RevenueOne of the industries TrackAbout has found success with is called Packaged Gas. Companies in this particular industry make all types of gases, such as oxygen, helium and acetylene for industry, medicine, manufacturing and research. Gas is placed in cylinders, which are then tracked using TrackAbout. Most Packaged Gas companies charge rent on the containers for as long as they’re with the end customers.

Occasionally a gas distributor finds itself with a customer that just refuses to pay its rental bill. TrackAbout’s customer General Welding Supply Corporation (GWSCO) of Long Island, NY recently shared the following story.

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Feature Spotlight – Capture GPS Coordinates

Each Feature Spotlight highlights one important tool in the TrackAbout toolbox that helps you operate more efficiently and maximize the utilization of your assets.

About GPS Capture (Smartphone Only)

TrackAbout is excited to announce the following enhancements to our iOS and Android apps.

  • Capture of GPS coordinates during mobile transactions, and
  • Display of maps on the web site that show asset and transaction locations

Get better information about your inventory.  Know where your assets are when you need them.

These features are available to TrackAbout’s iOS/Android subscribers and must be enabled by our Support team. Contact support@trackabout.com for assistance.

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Big Breakthroughs are Transforming the Way Distributors Do Business

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of CryoGas International. It is reprinted with permission.


Doug O'Dell Vice President of Sales, TrackAbout

Doug O’Dell

Award-winning author Thomas Friedman said, “Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/opinion/friedman-come-the-revolution.html) Friedman was referring to the “college education revolution” where advancements in technology made it easier for more people to receive a college degree for a lower cost via an online platform. But history is full of big breakthroughs resulting from innovations that filled a desperate need. The printing press gave greater access to information and set the stage for a transformation of social literacy. The steam engine enabled growth of the railroad and boosted intercontinental trade. Electricity sparked a host of other inventions that account for most of our modern life. And now, cloud technology and mobile computing are changing the way compressed gas distributors operate.

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The History (and Future) of Cylinder Tracking

I was very honored to be asked to write an article on the history of cylinder tracking for the 25th Anniversary Issue of CryoGas International Magazine. I’m proud that TrackAbout has been a leader in developing asset tracking technology for the industrial gas industry for the past 15 years. That experience has given me a chance to watch this technology grow from its infancy.

I am especially excited that TrackAbout, together with our affiliate company Lockhouse, is helping to build the future industrial supply chain. So the article is also about the future of cylinder tracking, and how technology in use now both creates and solves the increasing demands for better information in real time, all along the supply chain.

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of gasworld. It is reprinted with permission.

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52 Reasons to Adopt an Asset Tracking System

Tracking your physical assets with enterprise-class asset tracking software like TrackAbout makes great financial sense. But some people (your boss?) may need some convincing.

Here are 52 great reasons to start tracking your physical assets with the TrackAbout asset management system.

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Real Asset Tracking Stories: An Unusual Request

Asset Tracking Expert Louise Pickett

Louise Pickett Senior Support Specialist, TrackAbout

This story comes from Louise Pickett, TrackAbout Senior Support Specialist.

Every day on the TrackAbout Support Team, we have the pleasure of helping our clients with their asset tracking needs. In the eight and a half years that I’ve been with TrackAbout, I have received a wide variety of requests, from loading data to researching why TrackAbout handled data a certain way, and everything in between.

One particular day a couple of years ago, I responded to a most unusual request. The phone call was from a police officer in a far-away state. He had found a rugged handheld device along the side of the road. Amazingly, it was still functional, and when he turned it on, he could see the TrackAbout mobile application! After some quick detective work, this officer was able to find the phone number for TrackAbout and, voilà, he was on the phone with me! I was able to quickly guide the officer to giving me a unique identifier for the device and was able to put the client in touch with the police officer to recover their lost handheld.

Daily, TrackAbout saves clients money by keeping asset balances correct to minimize lost rental revenue, by helping clients to find unused equipment rather than purchasing new assets, and a whole host of other ways. On this particular day, we saved our client the cost of replacing a handheld.

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Achieving Regulatory Compliance with Asset Tracking Software

Regulatory ComplianceRegulatory compliance is not an easy challenge. No matter the industry or the scale or complexity of business operations, companies throughout the world have to manage an ever increasing number of laws and rulings. This is especially true in the United States where an average of 2,500 to 4,500 new rules are passed each year.  Some receiving the most attention lately include the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the Pesticide Container and Containment rule and the Unique Device Identification rule.

While complying with regulatory requirements is a necessity, it is also burdensome and costly.  In fact, a National Association of Manufacturers report estimates that federal regulations cost an average of $10,000 per employee per year in 2012. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed say that federal regulations are a top challenge for their firm.

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In focus… Tracking, scheduling and telemonitoring

gas cylinder tracking with a smartphoneThis article was written by Stuart Radnedge of gasworld and originally appeared in the May 2015 issue. It is reprinted with permission.

Technology, and the advancement of it, propels innovation – influencing changes for a better, more efficient mode of conducting everyday life. The late, great, co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, once stated, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

This couldn’t be more true a description than that of the humble telephone – or its development into what we now know as the smartphone. Once the wired telephone lost its cabled connectors, boundaries were broken – and a tool for long distance communication between humans suddenly became limitless. It’s only over the last 15 or so years that the smartphone has become the fully integrated companion to our lives.

And in this In Focus… we look into the positive effect that smartphones – and technology as a whole – has had on the tracking, scheduling and telemonitoring sector of industrial gases.

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