Industrial and Manufacturing Higher Education Municipalities

Case Study

"Florida State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry chooses eRPortal Software for Scientific Stockroom and Gas Cylinder Management"

Focus on

Higher Education

Customer

Florida State University

Customer Profile

A 150 year-old institution, Florida State University (FSU) was founded in 1851 by Frances Eppes, the grandson of Thomas Jefferson. With more than 30,000 students, 72 doctoral programs, and professional schools of law and medicine, it is among the Southeast’s largest public universities and one of the nations select Research Institutions.

The University’s Scientific Stockroom serves primarily the research oriented Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as other FSU departments, and state and local government agencies. Most of its transactions are conducted over-the-counter, and requests come in via standard paper form, fax, or email. The department’s long term goals have primarily focused on serving its clientele well - smoothly and in a timely fashion. However more recently, priorities have begun to shift to improving inventory control, achieving technology-based efficiencies in the areas of purchasing and customer transactions, and Safety.

A good old-fashioned system, outgrown
The FSU Scientific Stockroom had been using a home-built FoxPro-based inventory system that was no longer sufficient for it’s growing operation. Through considerable research into various types of available inventory control systems, the Department was certain of a number of critical requirements: the new system would be web-based, utilize barcode technology, and offer technology to streamline operations and integrate to the FSU accounting system.

Chris Rodman, FSU Senior Lab Manager, researched approximately 15 different software solutions in the marketplace. He discovered essentially three types of systems: 1) those that were designed for Business rather than Higher Education; 2) those sold primarily by larger companies usually associated with a large chemical company and; 3) those oriented towards safety, rather than control. Rodman also once again considered a custom built application, although he fully understood the costs and risks associated with that option.

eRPortal for Higher Education, by design
“eRPortal was the first company with a system designed for Higher Education,” said Chris Rodman. “It wasn’t a Business inventory model being force-fed into a University Chemistry environment, but one that understood the unique accounting and purchasing requirements of a University scientific stockroom.”

With the eRPortal Inventory Control in place, the stockroom has already begun to realize time-savings in managing its inventory. Evidenced by a faster and stress-free year-end inventory count, bar-coding is proving to improve accuracy and speed.

Customers now arrive at the Stockroom counter and swipe their bar-coded ID upon purchase. The name of the individual appears with all associated chargeback accounts. Unlike most university scientific materials stockrooms, the FSU stockroom supports a large variety of customers that charge to multiple accounts. Through barcode technology, eRPortal captures this information and charges customers appropriately. Inventory information is drawn down as the system tracks current levels.

Into the Future
Now that they enjoy the basic benefits of the new system, FSU’s Scientific Stockroom is turning its attention to other areas, such as lowering inventory levels, improving turnaround, and negotiating more competitive pricing. Another short term project is linking the University’s newly installed PeopleSoft to eRPortal to fully automate the transfer of accounting data.

“We have undergone a lot of transition over the past couple of years; we’ve made improvements, but there’s much more to come,” Rodman concluded. “Another important reason we chose eRPortal is that its technology will support us as we evolve and grow. In this fact alone, there is great value.”

Contact For information on this Case Study, please contact eRPortal.