Customer Success: Bay Area Air Quality Management District

"What used to take hours now requires less than five minutes. Technicians avoid the frustration associated with hunting for parts. Plus, they can spend more time on high value tasks."
- Bryan Bibeau, Sr. Air Quality Instrument Specialist, Bay Area Air Quality Management District
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The Client

Bay Area Air Quality Management District

At the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, accurately measuring air quality is a top priority. To provide accurate data, the district’s Ambient Monitoring group measures air quality at 30 monitoring stations around the San Francisco Bay area.

The Challenge

With no formal inventory process in place, the Ambient Monitoring group struggled to keep accurate counts of its replacement parts. The group relied on an Excel spreadsheet, which was supposed to list all of the parts housed in a central supply room. The spreadsheet was rarely accurate and did not account for parts housed at each field station. Instead, the parts stored in the field were tracked on a clipboard at each monitoring station.

“When a technician needed a replacement part, he would spend between two and three hours calling around to the various field technicians looking for it,” said Bryan Bibeau, Senior Air Quality Instrument Specialist at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “Since we replace between four and five parts a week, as a group we were wasting between 500 and 750 hours a year just tracking down parts.”

Because there was no central tracking method, the group frequently ran out of needed parts, which then had to be ordered from a supplier. This delayed the repair time for critical equipment. Also, parts that were overstocked languished on the shelf.

“Each year, we budget for $100,000 in replacement parts, in addition to $250,000 that is available to buy new equipment,” Bibeau said. “Yet when management asked how our budget was being used, we could not provide an accurate answer.”

The Solution

Bibeau purchased Wasp's inventory management software, which offered the extensive features of an enterprise-level inventory management product without a hefty price tag or complex implementation. He began implementation by relocating all parts to two central supply rooms, which were neatly organized with shelving and bins. Each part has a barcode that can be easily scanned.

Bibeau established the organization’s initial inventory levels by scanning in the replacement parts already in stock. When the barcodes were scanned, the Wasp inventory management software was automatically updated with the data, including quantity, supplier and location.

The Result

Now, technicians can instantly search for available stock using any PC, relying on Wasp's inventory management software for accurate inventory counts. “What used to take hours now requires less than five minutes,” Bibeau said. “Technicians avoid the frustration associated with hunting for parts. Plus, they can spend more time on high value tasks.”

Stock replenishment now takes a fraction of the time. Bibeau can review parts on hand from his desk, rather than manually sorting through the stockroom. He can quickly scan new parts received into the system.

Bibeau now has visibility into the quantity of each part he uses every month. He can use this information to negotiate better prices for inventory items. Best of all, customer service has improved, since technicians are able to immediately find the parts they need to complete a job more quickly.

After successfully improving the inventory tracking process, Bibeau is now looking to improve the purchasing process. Using Wasp's inventory management software's purchase order capabilities, he is anticipating additional cost savings and efficiencies.

“When I joined the group and saw the current manual process, I just couldn’t imagine how anyone could track inventory using Excel,” Bibeau said. “Now, using Wasp's inventory management software, life is a lot easier for me, and the whole process is better for everyone involved.”

Since implementation, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has saved $30,000 annually, 750 labor hours annually, and experienced a positive return-on-investment in three weeks.

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