New Barcode-based Tracking System for Participating Trans-Amigos Express/TExpress Courier Service Libraries

Amigos Library Services is pleased to announce the launch of a barcode-based tracking system for participating Trans-Amigos Express/TExpress courier service libraries. The system, which will be implemented at no extra cost to libraries, is scheduled for an October 2011 launch. Unique individual barcode labels will be attached to each of the purple nylon transit bags now used by the Trans-Amigos Express/TExpress program. The reusable barcoded labels will remain on the bags until they are no longer functional due to damage, at which time a new label should be affixed.

Once the tracking system is fully operational, it will allow your library to follow shipments as they enter and move through the courier service. You will be able to see when a shipment has been delivered, how many packages are still in transit, and if shipments are late in reaching destinations. The system will not list the specific destination or contents of a shipment.

Later this month, libraries will be sent sheets of peel-and-stick barcode labels. to attach to all purple nylon bags you currently hold. Please immediately begin tagging all purple nylon bags in your supply. Once the bags are properly tagged with barcodes they may be used as always. When the program is underway, staff should affix barcode labels to any bags that do not have them. Specific bag tagging instructions appear below and will be posted to the courier service page on the Amigos website.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in order for the new tracking system to launch properly, all purple nylon bags must be properly labeled as soon as possible. Please make this a priority when you receive your labels.

Items not shipped in nylon bags will need to have barcodes attached to them for one-time use. Specific tagging instructions for non-bagged items also appear below and will also be posted to the courier service page on the Amigos website. However, to prevent a high frequency of disposal of the barcodes from one-time usage, Amigos urges you to make every effort to ship items in the tagged purple bags.

Courier service drivers will use handheld scanners on each barcoded package and request signatures from staff. Shipments will be scanned at pick-up, at a hub location, and at delivery. This allows the system to track the number of packages in transit, evaluate turnaround time, and minimize loss.

Please remember that packages will still need to be counted and reported to Amigos each month via the website under each institution’s participant page. Amigos hopes to discontinue manual counting once the process is fully adopted and a baseline between tracking count versus manual count is established. Amigos will monitor the system closely and advise participants when manual counting is no longer necessary. Additionally, shipments suspected as missing should also continue to be reported.

Certain institutions will be selected within the next two weeks to participate in a pilot project. The barcodes will be distributed to all institutions and utilized from the start, but these designated institutions will be asked to submit feedback on the tracking process. This feedback will help Amigos refine and polish the system. We realize it will take each library a few weeks to tag the bags, train staff, and adapt to the minor change in workflow. Amigos hopes that all libraries are using tagged bags by October 1st.

Amigos is pleased to be able to offer you the tagging system as a no-cost enhancement to the Trans-Amigos Express/TExpress courier service. As we move forward with its implementation, please contact Trans-Amigos Express Coordinator Erica Owusu, 1-800-843-8482, ext. 2827, or owusu@amigos.org with any questions. We look forward to the successful launch of this much anticipated component of your courier service.

Tagging Instructions

Tagging Bags

  • Upon receiving sheets of barcode labels, please peel and stick a label to the outside, upper-most left-hand corner of the purple nylon bag window (see the attached “BagBarcode” photo as an example). PLEASE DO NOT AFFIX THE BARCODE LABEL ANYWHERE OTHER THAN WHERE SPECIFIED.
  • This barcode will be the only label on the outside of the bag window. All shipping labels will still go inside the bag window as usual.
  • Don’t worry about the barcode covering up the “Date Sent” or “From” location number and hub code. Sorters need only see the “To” location number and hub code. The middle, bottom, and right sides of the window are where this information usually appears on a standard Trans-Amigos Express/TExpress label.

Tagging Packages Other Than Bags

  • Peel and stick a barcode label in the “Date Sent” area of the standard TAE/TExpress shipping label (see the attached “LabelBarcode” photo as an example). Attach the barcode label to the shipping label only and nowhere else on the package.
  • Next, attach the shipping label to the package, taking care not to obscure the barcode.
  • If you choose to reuse the packaging, please retag the label with a new barcode.

Please send questions or comments to:
TAE Coordinator
972-851-8000 ext. 2827
owusu@amigos.org
tae@amigos.org (Trans-Amigos Express)

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