Guest Column | December 20, 2013

3 Things Local Governments Need To Update In 2014

By Brian Sutter, Director of Marketing, Wasp Barcode Technologies

A new year is always a good time to reflect on current processes and determine where changes can be made. Government agencies tend to be fluid in order to accommodate fluctuating needs, but there is always room for improvement. Below are three things that local governments could update in 2014 to help them run more smoothly and efficiently.

1. Document and Record Management

Good records management practices are essential for local governments. These organizations are responsible for managing citizen’s private information — from marriage licenses to youth records, there’s an array of information stored in a variety of buildings at any given time. And though many current records are now stored in computer databases, older files are still located in basements in paper folders. Poor recordkeeping could result in financial or legal problems. In order to help manage the older, paper files, administrators should consider adding barcodes to file folders. Doing so can help to effectively store, keep track of, and locate thousands of records. The use of barcodes allows local governments to use scanners and software to help quickly manage information with accuracy.

2. Grant Management Solutions

According to U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Federal outlays for grants to state and local governments totaled more than $606 billion in fiscal year 2011.” Local governments are responsible for managing that money properly and keeping appropriate records, so information is easily accessible. Otherwise, state and local governments run the risk of losing out on future grant opportunities and may even owe money as a result of not meeting the original grant agreement. One example of a government-funded agency that depended on grant money to serve the community is the Florida Urban Search and Rescue Team Task Force 4. The emergency response team needed to improve records management and reduce wasteful spending, in order to eliminate the threat of not being eligible for future grant funding. According to Manny Washington, FL-TF4 logistics specialist, “Proper records maintenance means the difference between receiving funding and missing out.” Government-subsidized programs and agencies face the same situation and implement a system in order to help them maintain and track their resources and improve the reporting process.  Doing so will ensure that grants are received in the future and that they can continue serving the community.

3. Asset Tracking Software

Although local government spending is estimated to be at 1.8 trillion for 2014, that money is allocated among several areas to take care of a variety of responsibilities. Therefore, local governments typically have to stretch resources. Often times, local governments must rely on current assets. Local governments need to update to reliable asset tracking software in order to manage their valuable assets and keep them in working order for as long as possible. As an example, The City of Dallas relies on asset tracking software to manage more than $5 million of assets for units including the Dallas Bomb Squad, Dallas Police, and Dallas Search and Rescue. Asset management solutions help the City of Dallas track items like armored SWAT vehicles, police radios, GPS systems, and laptops — ensuring that items essential to the city’s security can always be located —  resulting in saved money and accurate audits.

By implementing the above systems, local governments can run more efficiently. Record management systems, grant management solutions, and asset tracking software can help these organizations better manage their efforts and be able to focus on implementing better changes for the people in their communities.