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Minho University's Social Services Department Tags Its Assets

SASUM is using handheld RFID readers and passive EPC Gen 2 tags to track and store data regarding the conditions and locations of 20,000 pieces of furniture, computers and other items.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 17, 2012SASUM, the social services unit of Portugal's Minho University, is tracking its inventory of furnishings, electronics and sporting goods for the college's 15,000 students, using a radio frequency identification system provided by Creativesystems. SASUM is responsible for managing the university's dormitories and other campus residences, as well as food service, sports facilities and the student union building. In this role, SASUM is in charge of furnishings, such as tables, beds, laptops and devices used by students at the school.

SASUM has traditionally sent staff members to conduct manual inventory counts on a periodic basis of the furnishings and equipment within its dorm rooms, restaurants and lounges. This task could take days to complete for a large fleet of employees who must record room numbers, along with serial numbers or descriptions of the items within those rooms. If anything appears to be missing or damaged, that detail must be manually recorded as well.

SASUM's Maurício da Costa Queiroz
If an item such as a lamp or desk is discovered to be missing, locating it elsewhere could be difficult or impossible.

The university's IT department asked SASUM to optimize this process, in an effort to reduce the risk of errors, decrease labor costs associated with inventory checks, and make it easier to locate missing items. "As we knew the concept of RFID, we were seeking companies that offered the desired service," says Maurício da Costa Queiroz, SASUM's IT director.

According to da Costa Queiroz, SASUM informed Creativesystems that it required a solution that would be easy for workers to use, and that could be integrated with its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Ultimately, he says, it decided that Creativesystems' Creative.Inventory solution would meet its needs. During this past summer, the university tagged 20,000 assets with adhesive paper labels containing Alien Technology Short passive EPC Gen 2 tags, measuring 3 inches by 1 inch. It then began tracking the assets in September, says Pedro França, Creativesystems' innovation director. The Creative.Inventory software resides on SAMSUM's back-end system, managing read data and then sharing that information with the ERP inventory-management system.

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