At James Bowie High School in Austin, TX, administrators have successfully aligned with their motto, “Pride in Performance,” with the implementation of an instructional material inventory management system that has greatly increased both efficiency of process and loss prevention. Managing inventory at Bowie High School is no small feat. As part of the fifth largest school district in Texas, Bowie H.S. serves over 2,800 9th -12th graders, and has over 200 faculty and staff members.
One of the chief struggles the school faced was their reliance on a successful turnout on book issuance day. It typically took a parent or student about three hours to get through the process of checking out textbooks for the school semester. This frustrating and lengthy process caused many parents to abandon the procedure altogether, which meant their students were not prepared for class when school started, and teachers were forced to spend valuable instructional time ensuring their students had the correct textbooks.
Getting materials in the hands of new students who enrolled after the beginning of the school year also presented a significant challenge for the school. The process of identifying which book titles the student required and then pulling those books from inventory was time-consuming, and it meant that students often did not have their textbooks during their first (or second) day of class.
Putting further strain on a student who is already playing catch up due to a change in schools was something Nick Weismantel, Management Assistant to the Principal who oversees textbook inventory, wanted to address.
With these issues in mind, Weismantel began researching options that would support and address the school’s needs for greater efficiency, decreased loss of inventory, and increased inventory visibility. He came across Hayes Software Systems’ instructional materials management software, and immediately saw the potential for leveraging TIPWeb-IM to tackle the inventory struggles at Bowie High School.
TIPWeb-IM software was implemented in the summer of 2011 and Weismatel took this opportunity to address process changes that transformed the way the school kept inventory. One of the biggest timesaving functions the TIPWeb-IM system was able to provide was the barcoding and scanning capability of textbooks, resulting in full visibility of the school’s assets. Bowie High School coupled this feature with the implementation of a new station-oriented check-out process, wherein students and parents progress through several locations that each complete a unique assignment function, rather than a single person attempting to accurately and quickly accomplish all of the key issuance tasks.
Knowing that inventory management has an impact on every student, teacher and faculty member in a school, Weismantel decided to involve those outside his department to help in the development of some of the new procedures, even calling on a local eagle scout troop to build custom-sized pallets that fit easily through doorways and are used to move textbooks for bulk deliveries. “Our students got to be a part of the changes we were implementing, which makes celebrating the success of the program all the more fun,” says Weismantel.
To address the delay in getting instructional materials to new students after the semester has begun, an inventory of textbooks was provided to the library, and the librarians were given access to TIPWeb-IM. Now, when new students enroll and are assigned a schedule, they go to the library, where the librarian is able to see and adjust inventory in real-time and check the needed textbooks out to students with a simple scan of a barcode. Students are able to attend class on day-one in a new school with textbooks in hand.
Implementing new processes along with Hayes Software Systems’ TIPWeb-IM software has decreased loss rates at Bowie High School, and decreased the amount of time it takes students to receive their instructional materials at the beginning of the semester. Prior to adoption of these new tactics, loss rates were at 22%. 1 year after implementation, they were 15%, and a year after that loss rates decreased even further to 7%.
“It has been wonderful to see the improvements in our inventory accuracy and efficiency over the last three years,” says Weismantel. “We’ve seen our loss rates decrease from $22,000 to $7,800, and our check-out process has gone from taking several hours to taking about 30 minutes. ”