Posted by Lori Ayre on March 3, 2009

I recently undertook an analysis of the cost savings (if any) of a client's use of automated checkin. This was an interesting project for me because I wasn't sure how it would turn out. Although I'm a big fan of automated checkin for many reasons, I wasn't sure that it would result in clear cost savings for this particular client because they were already using automation in their central sort operation. The automated central sort system included a tote checkin feature -- this means the receiving library only had to scan a tote (or bin) to checkin all the items in the tote. So, to justify the cost of the AMH equipment installed at the individual library, we had to compare it against another similiar sized library that was pretty darn efficient already.
There was a chance that I would find that the cost of their in-library sorter and the automated checkin system wasn't justified. Wrong.
I found that I could show an ROI of under five years for the library AMH equipment. This was based on the price of the AMH system ($700,000) and the annual savings in staff time (and other costs) over the costs of the library without any AMH equipment onsite.
The two libraries that were compared in this study do approximately 1800 checkins per day and receive 500 totes of interlibrary material per day. With a smaller operation, the savings wouldn't be so dramatic, but then the size and cost of the AMH equipment would also be less too.
Here's the (full report) for your viewing pleasure....