Tag Archives: barcode scanner

Surprising Uses for RFID

4 Surprising Uses for Industrial RFID Technology

Have you read the glowing praises of industrial RFID and barcode technology, and wondered just exactly what the hype was for? What the applications could possibly be that would lead to such adoration?

Like any tech, the promises tend to outweigh the practical uses — that’s just the downside of hype. However, RFID and barcodes have been implemented in extremely innovative ways, not only for inventory management, but for customer engagement, customer satisfaction, advertising, emotional support, and just quality-of-life improvements for their users.

We’ve seen RFID bracelets at hospitals and in a warehouse, but what other uses do such accurate tracking chips have? Could your business find a use for an RFID system that you just haven’t thought of yet?

And if so, is your business or industrial computer setup able to integrate smoothly with RFID tech?

1) Ditching Lost Luggage

It’s the dreaded (and entirely reasonable) fear that all travelers possess — the certain knowledge that your luggage isn’t going to make it to your destination alongside you. That somehow, some way, your bag is going to end up on a one-way flight to Kuala Lumpur while you’re landing in Dublin.

And of course, there is some cause for worry: according to SITA, 24.1 million bags were lost in 2014. However, some airlines have already switched to RFID tracking systems for all of their luggage, hoping to curtail those losses.

In 2016, Delta invested $50 million dollars to implement RFID tags, RFID scanners, industrial tablets, and the training required to use them. They saw a marked jump in baggage check and delivery accuracy, going so far as to boldly claim that “99.9% of all those bags will now be correctly identified.” Since then, over 60% of airlines have implemented similar systems.

With RFID technology, airlines have even been able to implement bag notifications too, sending texts or notifications through an airline app to passengers. This pings the passenger right when their bag has been loaded into the plane. It also confirms that it was the correct plane, and the correct flight, offering anxious passengers true peace-of-mind.

2) Saving the Rainforest

The rainforest isn’t what it used to be — in Brazil alone, home of the Amazon rainforest, 19% of the rainforest has been lost to logging since 1950. And considering that the Amazon provides for 20% of the oxygen on Earth, that’s a sobering statistic.

Liberia (and other countries) have begun using barcodes to discourage illegal logging. The trees in legal logging areas — determined by sustainability — are stamped with barcodes. These barcodes can be tracked during the entire logging process, allowing those in the supply chain to know exactly where each log came from and when it was cut.

This full-accountability makes illegal logging extremely difficult: when logs show up without a barcode, the nationwide system and those operating it know the person in possession of the log has likely either committed a crime or been sold or offered contraband goods by another party.

The system has not only helped the environment, but it also helped the economy — since the EU prevents the sale of logs that can’t be proven to be legally harvested, Liberia can now sell lumber to a far larger market than ever before.

Other countries and municipalities have even upgraded from barcodes to RFID tags for their logging as they become less expensive and more widespread.

3) Preventing Casino Heists

That’s right — next time you get pushed a stack of winnings at a Vegas casino, those chips will have their own chips inside of them.

Using RFID chips embedded within, casinos can track poker chips wherever they go. Who has them, where they are, how they’re spent, and how often they change hands, just to name a few uses. This kind of data gives casinos a deep well of information about how customers are spending their money, what their win rates are, how fast chips circulate, what the popular tables are, what the hot or cold tables are: all the customer demographics and use patterns a casino could ever want.

They’ve even been used to prevent a $1.5 million robbery at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The perpetrator stole a huge amount of chips, with intent to sell them to a third party who could then redeem them back at the casino.

However, the RFID chips inside the stolen chips were flagged as stolen the instant they disappeared, and thus rendered completely unusable should they ever return to the Bellagio. The perpetrator also tried to sell the stolen chips to undercover cops, which didn’t help his case either.

4) Motivating Marathon Runners

An RFID bracelet in conjunction with high-frequency scanners has a host of applications for targeted messaging. While “advertising” is the most talked-about (and feared) use of this technology, other industries have adapted targeted messaging for unique purposes.

The New York Marathon, partnered with Japanese footwear and sports equipment company ASICs, offered RFID shoe tags to runners. While RFID tags for tracking marathon racers is hardly a new idea, these chips came with a unique feature: the ability to see personalized, timed messages from the racer’s loved ones right to an LED screen near the runner.

Friends, colleagues, and loved ones were able to sign on to “Support Your Marathoner,” an ASICS program that allowed them to draft messages of love and inspiration for their marathoner of choice. Then, as the runner hit different milestones, nearby high-frequency scanners read the RFID tags and dished up one of the messages of encouragement to the beleaguered racer.

That’s the promise of more tech and connectivity, the one we all want to believe in — as a tool to bring us all closer, to let us hear the messages we need when we need it, to spur us on to greater heights.

Knowledge is Power

While RFID has been put to excellent use in the medical and manufacturing fields, it’s important to remember that almost any industry and endeavor could benefit from increased accuracy and connectivity.

Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination and a bit of inspiration.

To find out more uses for RFID and barcoding technology, and how to integrate them with medical, business, or industrial computers, contact Cybernet today.

improve asset tracking

How to Streamline Asset Tracking with Industrial Grade Tablets

Whether you’ve never fully embraced asset tracking, are looking for a new method, or just want to save on paper, it’s time to look into a digital asset tracking system for the most important equipment in your facility.

Asset tracking is different from inventory tracking, though they are commonly confused. Inventory tracking is the tagging and cataloging of the products moving in and out of your warehouse for sale. Asset tracking, on the other hand, is about keeping tabs on the machines, tools, and vehicles that allow your business to keep running.

But how can an industrial grade tablet make all of this possible? And, most importantly, how necessary is asset tracking?

Why Do I Need Asset Tracking?

Asset tracking is, in some ways, more important than inventory tracking — a missed product can be an inconvenience, a cost-of-doing-business bit of shrinkage. A missing propane tank, pallet jack, or welding machine — or the breakdown of a forklift that hasn’t had regular maintenance tracking — can bring operations to a complete standstill.

A system of RFID asset tracking tags, barcodes, and industrial tablets PCs can track equipment from the moment it arrives and gets deployed, to cleaning and maintenance, up to its final retirement and replacement.

Regular asset tracking reduces theft and increases safety — when equipment is proven to be regularly serviced, there’s less chance of the kind of sudden breakdowns that could endanger staff members near (or using) the machines.

Asset tracking also improves hazardous material handling, ensuring that all waste materials, biohazards, radioactive elements, or dangerous fuels and chemicals are always stored in the proper place (and for the correct amount of time between inspections).

RFID Tagged Tracking for Vital Assets

RFID tags are small plastic cases that contain a tiny computer chip and radio antenna. They use radio frequency and a unique, individual bit of programming to store data about the asset: type of equipment, location, maintenance schedule, age, use hours, and more.

Then, a worker with an industrial grade tablet containing a built-in RFID reader can scan assets whenever they use them, are looking to clean or maintain them, or are simply trying to find the right tool for the job at hand.

When to Use RFID Tags

Big equipment like trucks, forklifts, sweepers, mowers, pallet jacks, and the like — especially particularly mobile equipment — are great candidates for RFID tagging. They’re expensive, they’re vital, and they often require regular maintenance, three things RFID tagging is best at.

RFID tags can be used to create a check-in/check-out system for important tools, a system that records when tools were taken from storage. With individual worker IDs, the system could even record who took the tool, how long they used it, and when they brought it back.

Agriculture uses RFID tags to track and label livestock, while research labs use those same tags to keep an eye on lab animals like monkeys and guinea pigs. When a vital component of your operation has four legs and a mind of its own, that’s a smart thing to keep tabs on it.

When Not to Use RFID Tags

RFID tracking isn’t perfect for every piece of equipment, or for every situation. Naturally, radio interference can affect the scanning process. Most background radio won’t be a problem, but if your business involves a lot of EM interference it could present a problem.

RFID tags are also more expensive than barcodes, so it isn’t wise to slap one on every wrench and trash can in the facility. Instead, stick to using RFID tags for vital equipment, and gear with a value that far exceeds the cost to tag it. A lower threshold of around $300-$500 might be a good starting place for RFID tagging.

Another pitfall to watch out for — if RFID-tracked equipment is stored in very close proximity, it may be difficult for the industrial tablet to get a solid, accurate read. If the items are stored close enough, it’s possible to accidentally grab the next item over. For most uses — big machines, vehicles — this doesn’t really come up, but it’s still an important tip to remember.  

Barcodes for Asset Tracking

Barcodes were invented over 60 years ago, but are still the most popular form of digital identification for objects in the world. It’s not hard to see why – they’re cheap, they can hold a lot of information, and they’re totally universal.

Barcodes are useful for inventory, but they can also make asset tracking much simpler.

When To Use Barcodes

When it comes to asset tracking, barcodes are perfect for smaller or less expensive items.

Slapping a barcode on all of your frequently-used tools and storing them next to an industrial PC with an integrated barcode scanner is a great way to have employees check the tools in and out. The worker uses the industrial PC to log in, grabs the tool or tools they need, scans with the same computer, and goes to work. This process would then repeat when they went to lunch or left for the day, checking those same tools back in again when they clocked out.

A process like this not only helps to minimize theft, but it also keeps track of use-hours for each individual tool, which can aid in maintenance, cleaning, and replacement schedules.

There could even be a cleaning, oiling, or maintenance area for the tools, and the tool’s barcode is scanned afterward to create a maintenance log.

Consider using barcodes for replacement parts. Spare tires, filters, gaskets, blades, drill bits — barcodes can be slapped on all of these items so the company knows exactly how many replacements they have and when its time to order more. This is doubly important for when replacement parts for a particular machine or piece of equipment are custom, expensive, or take a long time for delivery.

Barcodes can also help eliminate some of the loss typically associated with incidentals like returnable packaging. Racks, reusable pallets, large containers, drums, sleeves, and other forms of returnable packaging don’t always come back, and it can be impossible to figure out where they went without some kind of tracking solution. Barcodes are quick and cheap, so if the item in question does get lost the company isn’t out the price of an RFID tag (or the price of several).

But, the barcode (when scanned as it leaves the facility) can point the company to where the pallet or gas cylinder was sent and subsequently never returned.

When Not to Use Barcodes

We’ve already discussed why RFID tags are better for larger, more expensive equipment. However, that isn’t the sole benefit.

Barcodes require a physical line-of-sight between the barcode and the scanner on the staff member’s industrial tablet (or other barcode scanner). If the item in question is something like a crate, box, or other bit of packaging that is ever flipped on its side or turned around, that could present a problem. A barcode on the top of a crate that’s been stacked three high isn’t helpful. In these cases, an RFID tag would be far superior.

Barcodes can also be easily damaged. Placing a barcode on a wrench and then tossing it into a bucket of other tools could easily scratch the barcode off. A pallet that’s being constantly grabbed by a forklift could lose its barcode, as could any item with a paper barcode that is stored outside during inclement weather.

Barcodes also require good lighting to read, which is not always available in a storage room in the corner of a warehouse.

Do You Know Where Your Assets Are?

Did you know that 55% of small businesses don’t track assets at all? Or, if they do, they’re still using a manual pen-and-paper method? Researchers have also discovered that up to 65% of the asset data that is being tracked is either inaccurate, incomplete, or entirely missing.

They even estimated that 10% to 30% of the assets that do show up on the report are no longer even owned. There are called “ghost assets,” and they can be a massive drain on any company.

Keep your budgets accurate, your replacement parts accounted for, and every piece of vital equipment properly maintained on a regular schedule.

Contact Cybernet today to learn more about the industrial grade tablets and industrial computers that can integrate all of your tracking needs into one tidy package.

 

ERP Software with business tablet PC and mini computers

How ERP Software is Changing Industrial PC Demands

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a product that operates on several different business operational levels to streamline and unify processes such as project management, accounting, manufacturing, customer resource management, and others. As technology and software development grows, ERP software complexifies and requires stronger computer hardware in order to operate without hitches. It’s necessary to have sufficient hardware—running an office without powerful computers can quickly flip an office into turmoil (pretend your own office has broken accounting computers and you’ll get the idea). The software is so highly complex that it takes implementation teams to install the software and ensure all managed processes are functioning properly, and implementing software on underpowered, old computers doesn’t bode well for business. Granted ERP software has turned more user-friendly than in the past, but that still dictates what’s necessary for computers today. Here are some ways that ERP software has changed for the better and what’s necessary for a business to stay on top of the growing software model that ERP uses.

Advances in ERP Software Require a Touch Screen PC

Even with decades of development efforts, ERP is still incredibly complex software requiring implementation teams for different-sized projects. However, there’s been a higher demand for more user-friendly support.  ERP software has trended towards a more visual look instead of a text-based appearance, increasing the demand for larger screens with touch screen capability. Some ERP software has developed a model that’s touch-screen friendly, and naturally those software product models need an industrial touch screen pc. For instance, a company called Software 21 has upgraded their ERP product, Flexgen 4, to integrate touch screen controls so that their data collection operations are more efficient. Another company called Forge Technology Partners recently developed a touch screen application that manages timesheets, tracks job performance, and keeps employee information updated. Combining this technology with an industrial pc is vital. You need a computer capable of surviving the harsh environment of a shop floor and manufacturing plant. But it also needs to have the advanced functionality of commercial grade PCs. Resistive touch screens might be an older technology, but with the safety requirements in most industrial setting, a touch screen that works with a gloved hand is likely required. Industrial PCs are designed to marry functionality with rugged components, something you simply don’t get with a Tier 1 computer manufacturer.

ERP Software Needs Mobility

Technology has shrunk to a point where a large population of individuals carry around fully-functional computers in their pockets. Naturally, the ERP market changed with the advent of smartphones and tablets and their integration into business enterprises. In order to stay relevant ERP developers aren’t just limiting themselves to strict desktop software. The development of mobile apps and the adoption of those apps among end-users has become common place. The ability to access ERP software in the field while on an industrial tablet can be invaluable. Imagine a salesperson being able to remotely access inventory data or project accurate lead times in order to close more sales. Or a foreman on a job site being able to order materials and access project workflows from their mobile device. All of this is possible with mobile applications provided you have the hardware necessary to run them.

ERP on a Business Tablet PC for Warehouse Operations

A common use of ERP is inventory tracking. That’s not always an easy task, especially if the mobile tablet you’re running the ERP software on doesn’t feature a barcode scanner. Tablet PCs without barcode scanners suffer problems of higher inventory costs, possible human error problems, lower tracking rates for documents and products, and decisions from management with incomplete data samples.  When tablets include barcode scanners,  employees can scan barcodes to track a wealth of information. Plus, the good news is this technology has spread into all sizes of enterprises as tech has evolved into smaller, cheaper solutions. Management can keep tabs on low inventory, count discrepancies, reduce shipping problems, manage materials inventory, track labor hours and rates, and other important business metrics. A business tablet PC with an integrated barcode takes ERP systems to higher functionality.

However your ERP has evolved, it’s clear that ERP drives what’s necessary for hardware. With visual enhancements, ERP requires a more touch-screen oriented design. Mobile and cloud-based ERP systems are becoming the standard for use on business tablet PCs and similar devices. Stay ahead of the curve with business and see what options you have when upgrading to a robust system of computers to support your ERP system. For more information you can visit the Cybernet website or contact us here.

5 Key Aspects of Running An Effective Mobile Inventory Solution in Retail

Supply chain companies now face more challenges in tracking and expediting their inventory than ever, as the multichannel retail landscape shifts from “I-want-it-now” to “I-need-this-yesterday.” In order to stay competitive, retailers need to have an up-to-date knowledge of where things are, in what quantities, at all times. They need to be able to rebalance inventories, redirect shipments, and respond to whatever new demand arises immediately.

Among the most important trends for retail industry this year forecast by Vend, one of the industry experts, are three particularly important points:

  • Merging online and offline data collection and analysis. As consumers go through different paths to a purchase, retailers need to start analyzing online and offline data combined.
  • Single-view, cloud-based solutions. The modern retail strategy requires a unified view of the multiple channels of sales, inventory, and customer visibility. Cloud-based solutions enable retailers to scale quickly, work from anywhere and execute their multichannel initiatives with more efficiency as they get a timely insight into key aspects of their business. It is important to maintain an up-to-date item file, accurate inventory levels and pricing system across multiple channels. Several years ago, when many retailers went online, they maintained separate systems for online and offline sales, which became an important technical roadblock companies are now overcoming through the adoption of cloud-based IT solutions powered by rugged industrial tablets.
  • Adoption of Internet of Things throughout the supply chain. From barcodes to RFID beacons, retailers are leveraging the IoT in their warehouses and stores. IoT in retail is estimated to have an economic impact from $410 billion to $1.2 trillion per year by 2025. Forward-thinking retailers pioneer the adoption of the smart devices to streamline various business processes from inventory management to in-store shopping.

5 Key Aspects of Running An Effective Mobile Inventory Solution

  1. Desktop-to-Mobile Compatibility

    Inventory management software increases warehouse and shop staff efficiency when checking inventory, stocking shelves, transferring goods from the central warehouse & vendors. Most retailers have by now adopted an inventory management solution in their networks, and the primary software solution is deployed on Windows-powered desktop PCs. How do you scale that powerhouse of an application to mobile?Many software providers port their desktop programs to mobile operating systems, but that transition often comes at a cost of reduced functionality and crippled usability. So, why change operating systems?Windows-based industrial tablets are compatible with most desktop programs retailers run on their desktop systems, so users won’t run into any learning curves when switching to the mobile version. The functionality and usability are preserved while retailers run the full version of their preferred software on a mobile device.A fully-fledged mobile solution that is completely compatible with your enterprise resource planning system (ERP) cuts down the costs of deploying a third-party mobile inventory solution and integrating it with the ERP, an expensive and challenging process. It’s much easier to deploy solutions that are compatible with your existing ecosystem from day one rather than trying to bridge fundamentally different systems together.

  2. Barcodes and RFID

    Handheld barcode scanners and RFID devices are things of the past now that industrial tablets come integrated with these previously external peripherals. Standalone scanners and readers only capture some type of inventory data. It then needs to be synced with the main retail management program. Such devices tend to be expensive to program, integrate and maintain, and difficult to use.With the barcode reader and RFID scanner integrated into your rugged tablet, your employees collect, sync and create actionable reports on the go. This immediate data availability boosts the accuracy of inventory management.Through the use of RFID technology, your employee’s industrial tablet can be used to recognize where the employee is in the warehouse or in the store, and present the employee with the relevant options and information for the given location.RFID is also used in inventory management solutions to track inventory availability and alert the employees when a product is soon to be out of stock.

  3. BYOD vs Industrial Tablets

    Retailers widely adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy, assuming it’s cheaper and easier to deploy than providing corporate devices to the employees. However, BYOD & poor cybersecurity awareness of users is a part of the reason why the retail industry is plagued by cyber threats. The criminals are after financial data they can monetize, and retail is the industry to hit, with the large databases of vendors, consumers and employee banking data, Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information.BYOD devices add more work to your IT staff when scaling the system for a fleet of different devices running different OS’s, and having to look for a mobile solution that would be compatible with the variety of BYOD assets.Industrial tablets provide robust cybersecurity functionality complete with easy-to-use two-factor authentication with a biometric reader, CAC or smart card reader, full disk encryption, capability to encrypt data on external hard drives, capability to set up a tablet for multiple users with access controls, remote wiping and remote access for the ITs to update software of introduce timely changes.

  4. Ruggedness

    Inventory management requires your workers to be mobile and flexible. Hence, the mobile device has to be easy-to-operate and reliable. Rugged technology comes with a slew of advantages:

    • A carrying handle, strips and light weight simplify tablet handling.
    • Hot-swap batteries, a charging station for 24/7 uptime.
    • Military-grade components with the fail rate of less than 2% under constant use.
    • MIL-STD and IP65 drop protection, shock, vibration, temperature fluctuation and water protection for reliability in any out-of-the-office environment.
    • Integrated barcode, RFID, CAC or smart card reader paired with biometric reader increase the functionality of a single device.
    • Can be mounted on a wall, inside a vehicle, on a desktop.
    • Full disk encryption, capability to encrypt data on external drives.
    • Highly customizable OS, software and legacy ports.
    • Advanced wireless connectivity and support of the carrier of your choice.
    • Easy to deploy, cheap to maintain, low TCO if compared to that of consumer-grade mobile devices.
  5. Cost of Hardware

    Windows-powered industrial tablets do not require any intervention by your programmers, so the deployment cost is the cost of the hardware. When calculating the total cost of ownership of your industrial tablet, take into account:

    • integrated scanners and readers, which eliminate the need for bulky and expensive peripherals necessary to make IoT work;
    • it is rugged and durable, with 5+ years of continuous uptime;
    • hot-swap batteries, charging station for 24/7 uptime;
    • it is compatible with the inventory management software you run on your desktops;
    • failure rates of industrial tablets are normally 4% (it’s 2% with Cybernet’s devices) while the failure rates of consumer devices skyrocket 15%-30% when they are used intensively in working environments where they can fall, be exposed to humidity or fluctuating temperatures;
    • industrial tablets offer better security to maintain your corporate data protected from breaches whereas BYOD devices are looming with malware, spyware and ransomware stemming from poor user cybersecurity awareness and the lack of hardware-level in-built security functions.

Agility and performance in retail inventory management can be leveraged to their full extent when the dedicated software runs on a powerful, secure and reliable hardware such as rugged industrial tablets.

5 Benefits of Using a Tablet with an Integrated Barcode Scanner for Inventory Management

Let’s be honest, inventory control and management is not a glamorous part of the business, but it is the most important factor when it comes to maximizing your company’s profitability. When sales drop and the budget gets tight, businesses begin to desperately seek out ways to cut costs and the options are not always attractive. Cutting employees is usually the first line of fire, but actually there is a less painful, more beneficial way to maintain control of the budget…with inventory.

Considering how much money your business can tied up in inventory, if there isn’t accurate inventory management, it can have a significant impact on the budget. Fortunately, Cybernet has a developed a tablet with an integrated barcode scanner that is the solution for maintaining an accurate inventory management system.

Here are 5 ways your business can benefit from using a tablet with a barcode scanner for inventory management:

Save Time

It only takes a few minutes to scan each barcode, so time spent doing inventory checks are minimized. Using a barcode scanner for your inventory will make the inventory process more efficient by eliminating the need to physically hand enter every item in your inventory.

Decrease Labor Costs

Training employees to manually input inventory data can take weeks, even months, but with a barcode scanner, it usually only takes a few minutes for employees to learn how to use it. This allows your employees to focus their energy on more critical tasks, so it improves productivity, saving your company time and money.

Reduce Errors

Using a barcode scanner significantly reduces the rate of human error. When employees are manually entering data, the possibility of errors is to be expected. When a barcode scanner is used for inventory management, it is not uncommon to notice a significant increase in the accuracy of your inventory.

Better Control Your Inventory

Once a barcode is scanned and added to a specific database, you will have valuable insight into the correct status of your inventory, including quantity, shipping and receiving. This will help you reduce inventory carrying cost by knowing which stock is not moving, and eliminating unused stock will free up space for more desirable stock.

Improve Customer Service

A barcode scanner allows you to know exactly what stock you have available, so you can immediately provide your customers with the items they want as well as let them know ahead of time that an item is out-of-stock. Your employees will no longer have to rely on memory to know where an item is located, what the cost is or how many of the items you have in stock.

Inventory management is good practice for any business. If you do not have a watchful eye on your inventory, you are setting yourself and your business up for potential inventory errors and challenges. The appropriate inventory management can really make or break your business. The use of barcode scanners for inventory management can help to drastically improve the efficiency and productivity of your business.

How Returning a Rental Car Inspired the Use of Barcode Scanners at a VA Facility

Chris Tucker, RPh, Director of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), recently explained that the facility received its inspiration for developing a bar-coding system of its own after one of the nurses returned a rental car. The nurse observed one of the employees of the rental car company using a handheld electronic device to scan a barcode that was located in the rental car’s trunk. This observation gave the nurse the idea to use the same type of application to identify patients and medications.

The Department of Veterans Affairs afforded a start-up fee of $50,000 for the development of a barcode system to help the facility administer medications more efficiently and improve the overall safety of the facility’s patients. The prototype that resulted from these efforts was wireless, real-time, POC technology designed with an integrated barcode scanner to be utilized at twenty-two nursing units inside the VA’s Eastern Kansas Health Care System.

This prototype became the VHA’s catalyst for the creation of a system that could be utilized at every VHA medical center throughout the nation. Its resulting Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) system was created for validating medications, as well as electronically documenting the administration of the medications. The BCMA was specifically designed so that nurses could scan the barcode of any ordered medication and tell:

  • Whether a particular patient received the right medications
  • Whether or not the dosage was correct
  • The scheduled time of the medication’s administration
  • The actual time each patient is given the medications

The BCMA system was integrated into the pre-existing nursing and pharmacy software programs that were currently in use by the facility staff. Historically, these two separate facility departments had not worked together cohesively in addressing patient drug administration and/or delivery problems. Being able to standardize drug order guidelines effectively facilitated a more efficiently coordinated process for ordering and delivering medications.

A pharmacist consultant for the VHA, Ron Schneider, said that a multidisciplinary team made up of pharmacy, nursing and information management specialists was a critical factor in the installation of the BCMA system. He noted that fully understanding everyone’s working conditions, coupled with collaborative efforts, is what improved the implementation process of the BCMA system.

Presently, all VA medical centers are now reaping the benefits of using BCMA. Between 1993 and 2001, there has been a considerable reduction in dosing, patient, timing and medication errors. In 2002, BCMA Version 2.0 was released, which featured a series of checks and balances for IV therapy.

The BCMA project has future goals of interaction with other clinical software systems that contain information on nutrition, vital signs, and lab results.

And to think, it all started with a nurse returning a rental car.