Know Your Flow

I’ve written before about the nifty machine we have here that allows people to check in their own books from the drive through, and then after the machine checks them in it sorts them into one of nine bins. I love it.

Thing is, over the weekend, it seems to have this hiccup. It’ll take an item, but sometimes it won’t read the RFID and it’ll shunt it down to the exceptions bin for manual processing even though the item is ours and should sort into one of the other bins. I have no idea why it does this. I’m inclined to blame BP, but I think it’s becoming more fashionable to blame Republicans. I think I’ll just blame that Justin Bieber moron. He looks like the type who’d break my machine.

celebrity-pictures-tina-fey-smart-sexyAnyway, there’s one sunny side of this whole problem and that’s that I know about the problem in the first place. Seriously, it sounds cliché, but the first step to dealing with a problem is knowing of its existence. While I can’t really solve the problem in a mechanical way, because I’m not going to take the machine apart, I can deal with it via a workflow.

I’m usually on check in every morning and I’m here an hour before the library opens to the public. This is good because I’ve only got one drop to deal with and not the walk in drop in the lobby. So if that exceptions bin is pretty full, I wheel it over to the staff induction unit and I feed the exceptions back into the machine again. I’m going to have to handle everything in there anyway because I have to check it all in manually to find out why the machine didn’t take it. So there’s no extra handling involved in doing this.

The staff induction unit doesn’t misread any of the tags because it’s not as forgiving as the drive up unit. The staff side is based off the idea that you know what you’re doing, and it’ll take as long as it needs to read the tag properly. Most of the time, it only takes a second to get that tag information and then you can shove it onto the conveyor for sorting. This morning I had a very full bin of exceptions and, after sending them back through the machine I wound up with half of what I had at the beginning.

And I knew for a fact that all of those items in the exception bin were either on hold, going back to their assigned branches, or transiting out to fill a hold. Everything else wound up in the proper bins for shelving.

If you need to check stuff in twice, you may as well make it as easy on yourself as you can.

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