University & Cadet Profile
Today, there are more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the U.S. offering ROTC programs to prepare young adults to become officers in the U.S. military. Many of these universities are among the top in the country, offering up to 400 different degrees attainable across their numerous branch campuses, in both graduate and post-graduate studies. Some of these educational institutions opened their doors as early as the late 1800’s.
At this University in particular, one of the largest in the United States, with more than 45,000 enrolled students, one of the most popular student groups is the Corps of Cadets. This leadership training program contains over 2000 students and helps prepare these cadets for jobs in the public and private sector, as well as military involvement. Though they are not officially commissioned by any specific branch of the military, around 40% will receive a military commission after graduation.
The Challenges of Tracking Assets on Campus
At the beginning of the year, all cadets arrive on campus early to begin preparations for the school year. This includes preparation for the many activities the Corps undertakes such as drill team, marching band, and honor guard. Each cadet is assigned a uniform at the beginning of the year and they are responsible for wearing and maintaining it throughout events and the entire year.
Trackable items include assets such as shirts, pants, and coats which are rented out at the beginning of the year, and inventory items consisting of hats, footwear, uniform ornaments, bedding, and other less costly items that are purchased by the cadets. Each cadet is billed for items they purchase, as well as billed for uniform assets they lose or destroy. With each new cadet going through a new rental process, and the existing requirements to track uniforms and purchases for each returning cadet, the organization and tracking of specific uniforms quickly becomes an overwhelming and confusing process.
Additionally, when the Corps sends uniforms out for cleaning or repair, it becomes difficult to remember what uniform belongs to which cadet. Furthermore, uniforms that are nearing the end of their lifespan need to be disposed of, and when this process isn’t tracked in its entirety, replacing retired assets becomes a much bigger problem.
In total, this institution is tracking around 60,000 uniform assets ranging in value from $50 to $400, and several thousand more inventory items valued at $50 and below. With such high totals of trackable items, it becomes difficult to maintain accurate counts and assignments.
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The Solution: Apptricity Asset Tracking, Inventory & RFID Technologies
The Apptricity Education Asset Management solution contains several interchangeable modules that can be configured to uniquely address the challenges faced by this Corps of Cadets. The Asset Management module contains a system of assignment, meaning that the Corps can assign a specific uniform to a Cadet, associating the different pieces along with their sizes and condition. Each asset contains a fully detailed asset history, allowing Officers the ability to see who has the uniform, how long it has been owned, and any previous owners or “service” history. Additionally, the Corps can track all equipment purchases and rentals, allowing for total accuracy in the billing process that takes place outside the asset management solution.
RFID Approach To Inventory and Property Warehouse Management
Embedding washable RFID tags in each of the assets and associating the RFID tags with an existing asset in the application, allows the Corps to scan each asset when it is assigned to a Cadet, enter in the custodian of that asset, then scan it again to unassign the item if it is going out for cleaning or being returned to inventory. Since Apptricity’s solution works with any RFID tag and any reader, the Corps does not have to purchase anything specific to integrate with the software solution. Also, due to the increased availability of low cost RFID tags, the Corps can now outfit each asset for less than $1, keeping prices low and visibility high.
Moreover, the Apptricity Inventory Management module allows the Corps to keep an accurate count on inventory stock available for purchase. When any item’s stock falls below a user-defined threshold, Officers are notified that it is time to make a purchase to replenish stock. Further, all of these transactions are recorded for each user, which makes the billing process unified and easier to recall.
Finally, the standard out-of-the-box reporting capabilities found in both Inventory and Asset allows system administrators to query the data. Asset reports include queries for criteria such as the educational asset’s location or useful life remaining. Educational inventory reports provide analytics such as Location, or Inventory Replenishment by Month. These reports, along with many more allow the University to gather important analytics from their data, informing all, about decisions for asset replacement, billing, and inventory replenishment.