Storeroom Investment Pays Off For Weatherford

The city of Weatherford, Texas, is one of the foremost Storeroom users of the Cityworks community. Before Cityworks was in play, Weatherford was utilizing a home-grown system housed on old hardware that was due for retirement. Their inventory was located in a SQL database and viewed in Microsoft Access on the front end. The work order section did not speak to the warehouse section, and they housed over 210,000 work orders and more than 2,000 materials in legacy systems.

 

The database was managed by the IT Department, but there was really no one managing the front end. Consequently, the data had become outdated and provided a poor representation of materials and how they were being issued, tracked, and so on. To sum up, there was a severe lack of functionality.

Before beginning their upgrade, Weatherford employed NewEdge Services LLC to do an extensive system review to clean up the historical database. The stock was narrowed down to what had been purchased in the last three years. Weatherford used this as a master list to check each item, stock code, cost, stock on hand, and so forth. This allowed them to map each field to the corresponding Cityworks Storeroom table and move the data from the legacy systems into Cityworks.

The City then performed a second review to evaluate both current workflows and their workflow wish list, along with potential workflows that would directly impact the warehouse. Once all these items were addressed, there were more than 200,000 historical work orders that were pushed into the new system.

Once Cityworks Server AMS was configured, Storeroom was set up alongside the old warehouse system for one month. This allowed the warehouse supervisor to compare the systems side by side for accuracy, and also allowed workflows to be improved and for any kinks to be worked out. This test phase was extremely significant and provided the time needed to work through the entire warehouse process, purchase items, and place them in the field.

From the beginning, Cityworks Storeroom has provided a single, central solution for the entire City. It allows the work order system to connect to Storeroom and provides open lines of communication between field crews, the GIS, and the warehouse. As a digital solution, it has improved workflow and allowed the City’s assets to be more adequately maintained.
After a full year of using Cityworks, the annual inventory had its best variance in eight years—more than six divisions within the City can actively communicate and contribute on all phases of asset management. The variance in the stock on hand went from +0.17 annually to -0.00164 annually.

Cityworks Storeroom is a one-stop solution to combine asset management and warehousing. Because it’s based in a web application, upgrading and distribution are much easier. It’s more efficient for maintaining controls and permissions via the warehouse staff, and ultimately provides an easy line of communication for a given asset and its management.

Weatherford uses a Crystal report from Server AMS called “Materials Below Minimum” to show what materials need to be restocked. The City then issues a requisition (built in Storeroom and printed in Server AMS) and emails vendors to request bids. Once bids are received, city staff chooses the desired materials and issues a purchase order (PO) to that vendor. The PO is also created using a Crystal report in Server AMS.

When the materials arrive, they are entered into Storeroom using the Requisition feature. The City uses this feature instead of “Receive” because each requisition may include POs for several vendors. This also allows the City to receive partial shipments. Once POs are completed, they are sent to the Finance Department for payment. Weatherford uses weighted averages on all purchases, which is calculated by dividing all the costs for the material by the number of units on hand.

Once the material arrives, it is ready to be used. A work order is created in Server AMS by either a dispatcher or a field crew member and the status is set to “Materials Needed.” It is then emailed to warehouse personnel so that they can locate the material and get it ready to be picked up. Work crews can also issue to work orders from the field using Freeance, which automates almost the entire function.

Warehouse personnel use an iPad to transfer the material from “Estimated” to “Actual” on the work order. They then send an email notification to the warehouse office, where the work order status is changed to “Materials Complete” and materials are removed from “Estimated.”

For larger orders, warehouse personnel usually print the work order and work from a hard copy because there are new items added almost daily, and it is easier to track in printed form. If new items are added while they are in the process of pulling material, the employee transfers the material from “Estimated” to “Actual.”

In the next year, Weatherford wants to set up cycle counts throughout Storeroom so that each item is counted throughout the year. They are currently doing weekly cycle counts by manually choosing the material to count. Integrating automatic cycle counts will help automate the process and ensure all items are counted prior to physical inventory and hopefully reduce variances.
Weatherford also wants to upgrade to Storeroom 2014 in the next fiscal year, and provide more training for warehouse staff. Since they are comfortable with the day-to-day operations of their current Storeroom deployment, they want to branch out and learn how much more they can accomplish in Storeroom. They want to link Storeroom and GIS tables in order to better track assets throughout their life cycle. This will enable city officials to easily access information about assets from the time they are delivered to the warehouse to the day they are retired and disposed of.

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