Tag ArchiveReports


The 2017 Annual User-Group Meeting



Yesterday’s Annual User-Group Meeting was a great success – thank you to everyone who managed to get there. The attendance was the highest we’ve ever had with users travelling from as far afield as Dublin and Truro, with a sizeable cohort from Scotland. The day was unusual, not only in the large attendance, but also with the exceptional weather and the varied mix of users. The meeting is usually predominantly attended by engineers but yesterday we had a planner/equipper, a nurse trainer and a contract manager.

A lot has happened since last year’s meeting. We have a new office in Stafford where Phil & Sarah are based, and they have been joined on the Help Desk by Jack Foulkes.

We started off with a review of the user-base. We had around a dozen new new customers joining us over the last year and e-Quip is now being used in over 90 hospitals.

Next, Graham went through the developments that were completed last year (in versions 3.5 and 3.6). You can see a full list here: http://www.e-quip.uk.net/blog/version-3-6-0-will-be-released-this-week/

Phil then did a presentation of the 2 new web applications: a completely revamped version of the ward users app and a nurse training & competence app that nurses and their trainers can use to update their training records. You can see a demo of the ward users app here. That will give you an idea what it can do but Phil’s presentation highlighted its flexibility, both in terms of how it can be configured for individual users and also in how it responds to being run on different platforms. It looks great whether you run it on a phone, tablet or desktop. One of these days I’ll see if I can get Phil to put up a blog article about it.

The nurse training & competence app allows virtually the same functionality as the desktop system, even down to being able to produce cross-tab TNA reports. Phil or Sarah will give everyone a link to a demo version as soon as they have published it, probably in the next couple of days. There were some useful suggestions from the floor about how training managers can be more easily identified for nurses based on work location, so we will be adding those into the system shortly.

The next presentation introduced the new interactive dashboard. First, the design goals were introduced. The dashboard is intended to be:

  • A reporting tool
  • A navigation facility
  • A KPI generator

Starting with PPM compliance we demonstrated each of these features:

First, the dashboard is a reporting tool. It shows similar data to other reports within e-Quip it just shows it in a more graphical way.

Second, the dashboard is a navigation tool. We can see above that there are 278 PPM compliant high-risk devices. Double-clicking on the gauge opens the equipment screen and shows those 278 assets. Similarly, when you move the mouse over the high-risk PPM non-compliance pie chart you can see that there are 43 high-risk devices which are more than 60 days overdue for PPM. Double-clicking on the red wedge in the pie chart opens the equipment screen and displays them. This applies to virtually every gauge, graph or chart in the dashboard.

Finally, the dashboard is a KPI generator. Whether 68% compliance for high-risk equipment (i.e. 278 out of 408) is good, bad or otherwise is determined by local policies. If you look at the gauge you will see that it has 3 sections:

Red: 0 – 33%

Yellow: 33 – 67%

Green: > 67%

Both the values and the colours can be set for each gauge (as you may well have different KPI’s for medium- and low-risk devices). This is done on one of the Settings screens.

Changing these setting won’t change the position of the gauge needle, but it will change the appearance of the gauge.

Having shown the basic idea we then went on to show all of the dashboard screens that we have created so far. Naturally these reports can all be saved as PDF documents. Click here for a copy.

There are too many to show all of them here (the PDF shows all of them) but here are a few samples to give you the general idea. Each one is configurable and can be used for navigation.

The new dashboard was extremely well-received by the users.

Next we went on to demonstrate the new procurement functionality of e-Quip which has been moved from the old e-Quip PM (Procurement Management) system. Having shown the basic ideas, Colette from Dublin then gave a presentation to show how she is using this new functionality in the new-build project at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire. We got some good pointers from Colette and will be adding her suggestions to e-Quip as soon as we can. By the way, Colette was the first ever e-Quip customer, back in 2009. This was when the only screens that e-Quip had were equipment, brand, model, category, location, site and service and provider. We’ve certainly come a long way, with your help, since then!

So, that’s it for another year. We ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to show all the other things that we have planned for this year. If next year’s meeting is as successful as this year’s, we’ll have to look for an alternative location.



GS1 and Data Matrix Labels

With the increasing popularity of GS1 data matrix equipment labels seem to be becoming more common. GS1 doesn’t mean that you have to use data matrix but I suppose that moving to GS1 makes people focus on things like equipment labelling. GS1 allows you to use whatever symbology you choose, but data matrix is a very popular choice. It is now possible to print GS1-compliant data matrix labels directly from e-Quip.

The first thing to bear in mind when designing labels is that there are two main parts to the label: the bits designed to be read by humans and the bits designed to be read by machines. The human-readable part is there for your convenience and can pretty-much contain whatever you like, although there will be some GS1 rules about what must be included in order to be officially compliant.

The machine-readable component needs to encode the entire GS1 GIAI (Global Individual Asset Identifier). If you’re familiar with GS1 you will know that this is made up of several pieces:

GIAI Identifer – The fixed text “8004” which tells software that the data which follows is a GIAI.

GS1 Company Prefix – an 8 digit code assigned by GS1 which identifies your organisation. For example, the GS1 prefix for the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is 50552071

GS1 Sub-Prefix – An organisation is free to sub-divide itself into as many divisions as it chooses using a sub-prefix. The length of the sub-prefix depends on the size of the organisation. A length of 1 digit allows up to 10 sub-divisions (0-9), 2 digits allow 100, and so on. It is the organisation which decides the size of the prefix that they need.

Don’t confuse sub-prefixes with locations. In GS1 these are called GLN’s (Global Location Numbers)

The Equipment No – the code that your organisation uses to identify the device.

Putting all of these together gives you a GIAI: 8004505520710125452

This must be encoded into the machine-readable portion of the label, which is commonly a bar code or a data matrix code. You might also want to present some of this information in the human-readable part of the label.


Here’s an example of a GS1 data matrix label printed from within e-Quip. Note that the human-readable part of the GIAI has been formatted with dashes and brackets to make it a little more readable. The dashes allow the GS1 prefix and sub-prefix to be seen. In this example I have used the Addenbrooke’s prefix and assumed a sub-prefix length of 3. The original Equipment No is also included. The data matrix does not include any of this formatting – when you scan the data matrix all that is read is “8004505520710125452”.

Below you can see a real label from Addenbrooke’s. They use very clever labels with built-in passive RFID tags.


So, how did we print our label in e-Quip? You will probably be aware of the Microsoft Word reports which e-Quip can produce. Well, a bar code label is just a Word equipment report, albeit a very small one. There is an example from an earlier version of e-Quip below.


How you design these reports is explained in the documentation. It is very simple and simply involves creating a Word document with mail-merge tags to identify which values should be taken from the database. This is what the document for the label above looks like.


The item of text that says <<EquipmentCode>> is Word mail-merge field. The value EquipmentCode tells the report to replace this text with the Equipment No from the database (i.e. 25452). In Word the font for this text is set to “C39P24DlTt 20 point”. This is a free Windows bar code font. The way that this font works is that every character between “*” and “*” will be displayed as a bar code. It’s all fairly straightforward.

Unfortunately things aren’t quite so simple when it comes to data matrix. It’s not possible to format a data matrix encoding just using a font or to control its size by simply setting a font size. The Word extract below shows how to design a data matrix label.


I have used a Word table to help me lay the label out. There are a few things to notice here:

<<EquipmentCode>> – As before, this means “replace this text with the Equipment No from the database”

<<GS1_GIAI{32,32}$DM>> – This is a bit more complex:

GS1_GIAI – This is a database field name (just like EquipmentCode). You can see it in the e-Quip Column Chooser just like any other field. It contains the full GIAI for the device, i.e. 8004505520710125452. It is built dynamically from the Healthcare Provider GS1 Prefix and sub-prefix, with 8004 at the beginning at the Equipment No at the end.

$DM – Tells the reporting system that this is a data matrix code, not ordinary text

{32,32} – The size that you want the data matrix code to be

<<GS1_GIAIPreamble>> – This is another new field which we have added to e-Quip (and is available in the Column Chooser). It formats the first part of the GIAI into a human-readable format: (8004)-50552071-001

<<EquipmentCode>> – This appears a 2nd time to show the fully-formatted human-readable identifier: (8004)-50552071-001-25452

<<ProviderName>> – This is another field name to be substituted from the database. There are hundreds of fields available. For example you might want to add:

<<SerialNo>>, <<LocationShortName>> or <<ServiceShortName>>

How does the data matrix code get printed? As soon as the report processor spots the $DM marker in the Word document it calls an internal routine to create a data matrix image of the GS1_GIAI (read from the database) with a size read from “{32,32}”. It writes this bitmap to a temporary file. This file is then inserted into the Word Document.

We hope that you find this new functionality useful. As always, any feedback is always welcome










Coming Soon – Version 2.14.0

Version 2.14.0 is just about to be released, with improved support for location-based PPM Scheduling, automated job & delivery emails, tighter links between spare part consumption and replenishment, along with an editable & searchable device-user TNA plus new reporting features .

1. Automated EMails – New Feature
a. The ability to send preformatted emails has been added to the job property page.

Note the integration with the job details microsite in the email above. When the email button is clicked the email preferences screen is displayed.

Notice that there are two blocks of standard text. One is intended to be used when the job is first created and the other when the job is updated. The checkboxes allow you to automatically copy the email to the caller, the call contact, the technician and/or the job contact. These checkboxes are only enabled if the appropriate job fields have been completed. For example, the caller checkbox is only enabled if the Caller EMail field has been completed.

The format of the email can be manually edited and standard text can be defined in the system options utility.

b. The ability to send preformatted emails has been added to the delivery property page. The email mechanism is similar to that for jobs (see above). One slight difference is that emails are sent automatically when a delivery is saved: there is no need to click the EMail button. The button is there to allow emails to be resent.

Delivery emails have a variable length depending on the number of lines in the delivery and the number of jobs which are awaiting the parts which have been delivered.

2. Spare Parts, Jobs and Order Enhancements

The link between the consumption of spare parts (via jobs) and the re-ordering of spare parts has been improved.

a. The spare parts tab on the job property page has been enhanced to improve the interface with stock orders.

A Status column has been added, which may have any of the following status classes:

– Fitted
– To be Ordered
– To be Ordered Urgently
– Ordered
– Arrived

Another column has been added labelled Rec. Stock. This is a check-box to indicate that it is recommended that this part should be stocked.


b. These two columns have also been added to the spare part job link screen. On this screen the status column (described above) is labelled as “Use Status”. Filter support has also been added for these new columns (including Look For).

c. A new job status class of Parts Arrived has been added. When a delivery is received, if a job has been specified in the appropriate order line, then the job status is set to the first (ordered by status code) job status which has a status class of Parts Arrived.

d. On the line-item tab of the order property page, the behaviour of the Job No lookup has changed. This is used to associate an order line with a specific job. Previously this lookup used the CONTAINS search method. i.e. when searching for Job 123 the system searched for all jobs which contain 123 in their job number. This is a very slow search option and forces the system to examine every job. This has now been changed to STARTS WITH, which is a much faster search.

The previous behaviour can be restored by setting a system option.

e. On the line-item tab of the order property page, the behaviour of the Auto-Fetch Line Items Utility has been enhanced. Previously it analysed the current stock for all items available from the specified supplier and compared each with its minimum stock level. If a part is below its minimum then the target stock level is used to calculate the quantity which need to be ordered. This behaviour is unchanged, but a new feature has been added which automatically generates order lines for parts which have been specified on uncompleted jobs.

Note that only spare parts which are flagged (on the job screen) as having a status class of To be Ordered and To be Ordered Urgently are added to the order.

3. Commission Requests

a. On the requested for tab of the commission request property page, selecting a location now copies the branch and healthcare provider from that location to the provider and branch lookups.

b. It is now possible to commission multiple devices from the commission request property page. An additional tab, labelled Multiple Items has been added in which you may enter any number of Equipment and Serial numbers.

c. The technical tab of the commission request property page now uses the Preferred Week field of the PPM schedule to suggest the first PPM date. 

4. New Feature – Decommission Requests

a. A new data entity, Decommission Request, has been added. This provides a formalised way of decommissioning an asset and consistently removing it from contracts, PPM schedules etc.



a. A new reference data entity, Decommission Request Status, has been added.

5. Device User Competences

a. A Save (as distinct from Save & Close) button has been added to the competence group property page.

b. Excel-style column filtering has been added to the people and models tabs of the competence group property page.

c. QBE has been added to the competence matrix summary screen

d. Support for Bulk Update has been added to the competence matrix summary screen.

e. An additional column, Service, has been added to the competence matrix summary screen. In the near future the Branch field throughout e-Quip will be renamed to Service. As this particular screen is more likely to be used by clinical users (as opposed to engineering users) the term Service is used here in preference to Branch.
6. Equipment

a. The fields Site Path, Model Path & Branch Path have been added to the equipment summary screen.

b. The Asset Finder has been enhanced to allow site, location, model, category and branch children to be included in the results.


7. Jobs

a. The Team field has been added to the Quick Job screen.

b. A utility has been added to the work done tab of the job property page to allow hours to be entered in hours and minutes rather than decimal fractions of hours. When editing a job record a small stopwatch icon appears next to the following fields:
– Technician Hours
– Assistant Hours
– Supervisor Hours
– Overtime Hours

Clicking this icon will show the screen below:

c. The audit viewer has been added to the Technician field of the work done tab of the job property page. This allows technician changes for a job to be viewed without using the audit viewer utility. 

8. PPM Schedules

a. A new field, Preferred Week, has been added to the scheduling tab of the PPM Schedule property page. This field is used by commission requests to suggest the date for the first PPM for a device.


9. Location-Based PPM Scheduling – Device Relocation

a. Location-based PPM Scheduling is a very common practice, whereby particular locations are visited at specified times and all devices in that location are then serviced. This results in an administrative overhead when devices are moved. If, for example, 50 devices are moved from one ward (where they were previously serviced every February) to another, which will be serviced in April. Although it is a trivially simple task to bulk update the equipment records to change their location there remain other things to be done, such as:

– Remove the devices from the February Schedule
– Add the devices from the April Schedule
– Find all of the outstanding February jobs and change their schedule and planned date

A new Device Relocation utility has been added to simplify and automate this process as much as possible.

The screen below shows how 50 devices from Larch Ward (currently scheduled in week 40) can be moved to Larch Ward, and then rescheduled for week 40.
First, the 50 assets are selected on the equipment summary screen and the relocate utility is run. Initially the grid shows the scheduled PPM jobs for the selected devices. The Original Planned Date column shows that these devices have been scheduled for Week 40. When the user selects the new location (Holly Ward), if that location is associated with a PPM schedule then the schedule is selected automatically. If the location has a maintenance week value then this is displayed and the corresponding new PPM date is shown.

The user can now choose to a) reschedule the jobs for the specified date (naturally the date can be changed) and b) to change the schedule associated with each job.

The Delay column is used to show the time period between the last PPM for a device and its new scheduled next PPM date. The value is displayed in weeks. If this value is greater than 52 the row is displayed in red to alert the user that the next planned maintenance is more than 1 year since the last. This is a clear limitation of location-based scheduling: when devices are moved maintenance will either be done early (which is wasteful of resources) or late, which introduces an element of risk.

When the user clicks the Relocate button then each device will be:

– Removed from the Holly Ward PPM schedule
– Added to the Larch Ward PPM schedule
– Relocated to Larch Ward (with the move audited and added to the location history)
– The planned date for each PPM job will be changed
– The PPM schedule for each job will be changed

Note that you may also change the branch of the device when relocating it.

It is important to note that this relocation mechanism is designed to be used in organisations where location-based scheduling is regular use. The jobs shown in the grid above are only the jobs which are on a location-based schedule for the current location. In this example, the location “Holly Ward” is associated with a PPM Schedule called “Holly Ward” and each of the jobs is also associated with that schedule. Jobs that might be on other schedules will not be shown. Also, if there is no scheduled PPM job for the device then the device will still appear in the list but the Job, Schedule & Planned Date columns will be blank. For these devices, clicking Relocate will change the location (and possibly the branch) but will not affect the PPM scheduling of those devices.

10. New Reports

a. A new reporting option has been added to the dashboard screen. This report produces a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which shows performance information over a specified period. By default this period is the previous calendar month, but this can be modified by the user. It is also possible to filter the report based on:
– Site
– Location
– Branch
– Team

The report is run from the dashboard screen by clicking the Quick Report button on the ribbon.


11. System Options

a. A new EMail tab has been added to the Options utility to support the new job and delivery email automation.

I will email the user-group once this version comes out of beta-test.

As usual, any comments are welcome.



The System Dashboard

From version 2.7.0 a dashboard has been added to the system. This takes the place of the domain screen (which a lot of people referred to as the administrator screen).


The operation of the dashboard is straightforward. Most rows respond to double-click which will open a new screen to display the appropriate data. Dashboard items can be turned off if you don’t want them, and the parameters which control whether a traffic light is red, amber or green can also be modified.


Coming Soon – the PDF Designer

Designing List Reports

By far the majority of the reports produced by E-Quip are list reports. These are extremely simple to produce as a report can be produced from every summary screen. Probably the most common way to do this is to simply display the information that you want in the summary screen and then export to Excel or Acrobat, or use Print Preview.

While this is very simple it has the limitation that the output (either the spreadsheet or printed report) will include every column that is displayed in the grid; which can be a problem for the equipment and job screens.

Of course, it would be possible to save a screen layout which contains only the fields to be included in the report, and to load that before running the report, but this is not ideal.

The solution is to link a saved configuration with the report output which is independent of the current grid display.

The PDF Designer

This is what the PDF designer is intended to achieve. It has three tabs:

1. Details: This contains information like the report title and page orientation, as well as the fonts to be used for column headers and the report data.

2. Layout: This is where the columns which will make up the report, along with their order and width, are defined

3. Load/Save:  This tab allows a design to be saved for future use, and also allows existing designs to be loaded.

The Details and Load/Save tabs are pretty self-explanatory, the heart of the designer lies in the Layout Definition tab.

It should be immediately obvious that the report design is based around the new Column Chooser.

When the designer is first loaded the current grid configuration will be displayed. You may then either modify this layout by adding or removing columns, or you may load an existing layout  that will be used as the basis for this report design.

There’s not really much to be said about this handy utility, as it is so easy to use. It is simply a way of producing reusable, configurable PDF reports  that are independent of the displayed grid layout.