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MMW joins M&O

Materials Management Warehouse (MMW) moved under the M&O umbrella organization

This warehouse is not to be confused with the M&O Warehouse that stocks the vast inventory of construction materials, supplies, and repair parts used by the M&O maintenance departments. Formerly accountable to the Chief Operations Officer, the MMW was moved to the M&O division in the spring of 2015. The MMW is divided into three distinctly different functions: 1) purchasing and warehousing school and custodial supplies; 2) storing and transporting special equipment (such as music instruments), textbooks and teaching materials; and 3) managing the District’s surplus items and salvaging old equipment, furniture, and vehicles. Most of MMW’s staff perform tasks within all of the following three functions.

Warehousing

The MMW purchases school supplies in bulk (for best pricing) from APS vendors and re-sales them to the schools at the same dramatically reduced purchase price; the approximately 30–70% in savings over retail costs is passed on to the schools. The purchasing and warehousing aspect of MMW has declined from about 400 to 100 items over the past eight years in an effort to save on workforce costs. The “just in time” practice, whereby schools purchase needed supplies directly from the vendors (at a 10-15% catalog discount) for quick delivery, has replaced purchasing and stocking in large volume, thus reducing needed warehousing space. The MMW continues to handle the materials that purchased only in very large volume saves the District upwards of 70-80%, such as custodial supplies and large volumes of paper. After a pilot test, the MMW is again purchasing and supplying art and nursing supplies to the schools as it is time, effort, and cost economical to do so.

Product deliveries are checked for accuracy, documented in the Lawson inventory database, and stocked. As schools place orders, a “pick ticket” is printed that directs the MMW employee to accurately pick items off the shelf. The materials are then moved to the dock for loading onto trucks and delivering to the schools. Drivers (MMW’s frontline service providers) process the stock from receipt to delivery as well as keep the Warehouse safe and in an orderly fashion. Exactness is their mission and the drivers are proud of achieving that goal with near 100% accuracy. When not collecting or distributing inventory (90% of their job), they help with warehousing, adjusting inventory storage, and picking orders.

House and transport unique school materials and equipment

Largely for use in the District’s Title 1 Fine Arts and Music Program as well as reading programs, the MMW moves equipment and academic materials from the dock to storage and vice versa; most notably items that have to be stored when school is not in session. (Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the nation’s largest federal school assistance program. While all students are eligible to participate in any schoolwide program, the statute requires schools to provide additional services to the lowest achieving students and those at risk of low achievement.)  SPIRE logo In addition to music equipment, these unique materials include S.P.I.R.E. reading materials. (S.P.I.R.E. is a comprehensive and multisensory reading system that integrates phonological awareness, phonics, handwriting, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension in an instructional design that is based on how struggling readers learn.)

The MMW also receives Special Education textbooks and other teaching materials; stores them by grade level (kindergarten – 5th grade); and provides a staging area for teachers to sort out their materials. This includes materials for the visually and hearing impaired student population. The MMW provides an invaluable support service to the large APS student population that might otherwise fall through the cracks if not for merited programs that bolsters their achieving full potential.

Surplus and Salvage

Managing the District’s surplus of materials and salvaging all that has outlived its usefulness is the MMW’s primary responsibility (65-70%). Schools relinquish a great deal of excess and/or no longer needed furniture, computers and other old technology, tape recorders, teaching materials, and more, including vehicles which are disposed of through Bentley’s Auction. When a salvage request comes in from a school, a stock control clerk transfers the information to an SLV (salvage pick up form) if it does not have an inventory barcode. Only barcoded items are listed in Lawson; on the Equipment Transfer Document, all barcoded items are listed. The Clerk then checks the Lawson inventory database to determine if the item has any book value. If it has book value, the clerk informs the school of its value and inquires why they are discarding it. Only a justifiable reason qualifies a barcoded item for salvage. If confirmation is received that the item is authorized for salvage, the MMW driver is alerted to collect and check the item (now for the second time) against the inventoried list of barcoded items. (Capital Fiscal Services tracks the barcodes annually or when an issue arises. Schools are responsible for barcoding their own materials and equipment.) When the driver delivers the item to the salvage area of the MMW, the Surplus Receiving Clerk verifies the item against the barcoded inventory list (the third check). The thrice checked list then goes to Capital Fiscal Services who prepares a report which is forwarded to the APS Board of Education for disposal approval of each item. The MMW has to find a use for any item that is declined for disposal. By law, Materials Management holds the barcoded item for a month in allowing time for schools to reclaim. The Board disposal approval (state law) can take anywhere from one to three months (depending on meeting schedules). Once the Board approves the item for disposal, it is held another month for State Auditor approval. At the conclusion of this process, the MMW clerk sends it to recycling or auction; however, this does not terminate their answerability as they then track the sale of the item. As observing legalities is so cumbersome and protracted, there is little wonder why processing salvaged and surplus items are the primary function of the MMW. Only about 5% of salvaged items are deemed trash and delivered to the city dump.

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