Asset tracking in the LTEO: Reason to re-visit our QR Code Generator

QR Codes continue to develop interms of the functionality available through the code, while the QR Code readers continue to advance in what you can do with the data you’ve decoded.

At Bath we’ve rolled out a number of initiatives based on a QR Code Generator which was developed over 18 months ago. I’m very keen to keep us at the forefront of functionality offered through the code. Therefore, I’m seeking a new project (service) to push the limits of our generator and look to update it in the future.

The project James and I have got our eyes on is … asset tracking. The LTEO has a large number of assets (desktops, laptops, cameras, monitors, books, magazines, printers, pgcapp submitted work etc.,). These can be characterised by type (see previous sentence), by loan length (long loan, i.e., my allocated desktop, and or short loan a book, a laptop, electric fans, desks, desk lamps etc.,), by shelf life (replacement time), and which budget it came from (team ownership in a shared resources model).

A lot of this is recorded on local systems (excel) and managed by one person. The nature of the beast is these assets aren’t accurately tracked at the moment. The system I’d like to build will enable a Tesco’s self service model (requires a little staff training) for members of the LTEO when they book out short loan items.

The types of reports which could be run include;

  • What do we (LTEO) own?
  • What needs to be replaced this year (by type and long loan) and by Team?
  • Who’s got a specific short loan item?
  • Are the LTEO library resources actually being used?

The aim of the service is the minimum human work as possible, where people can scan a book or item and get a reminder a few weeks later they’ve not returned it.

A service might include the following stages;

1. Populate the asset tracking database

On recent of new equipment (or adding existing equipment) – scan the existing bar code (ISBN etc.,), this will pull details from the web to populate the database. If not possible given the type of equipment the admin person will need to add this manually.

Add additional data to the database, in particular, who owns the asset (by team, with Agresso order number), the type of asset (category), by loan type.

The system will also create a unique ID so we can have duplicates (more than one of the same monitors).

2. Create the QR Codes

After entering the data, run the print QR Code, this will allow you to print a QR Code and stick it on the asset.

3. Associate the person with the asset

They’d start the scanner, scan the associate person key (displayed near the scanner), scan the code on the item, add their username , click submit and walk away.

This will populate the database with an owner and a date of ownership. If a short loan item and they haven’t returned it, then they’ll be emailed a reminder.

4. Un-associating a person with an asset

They’d start the scanner, scan the un-associate the person, scan the qr code on the device and walk away.

This will update the database with the date the item was returned.

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