By Leatitiah Namubiru
The Weights and Measures Act 1965, Cap 103 mandates UNBS to perform verification of all measuring and weighing equipment used in trade in order to enhance fairness in Trade. In this fast-paced, digitally-enabled world, organizations cannot afford to lag behind but to move from their comfortable systems to modern automated systems in order to be more productive and efficient. Trade and commerce by organized societies involving goods whose values are based on weights and measures have always required consistent and reliable measurements.
The accuracy, reliability and fairness of weights and measures is key to ensuring that the products we buy every day are not being sold in short weight or short measure. Recently, a number of information technologies and Mobile information systems have been introduced in legal metrology successfully in order to organize and improve Legal metrological controls. The section of Energy Meters and the Weights and Measures have now deployed ICT technologies and discussed below:
The E-Minzaani, a cutting edge Information Management System has been developed by UNBS aimed at streamlining the adoption of mobile technologies as a tool to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and control of the use of both electronic and mechanical measuring instruments used in trade.
The system includes the implementation of a diversity of information systems covering legal metrology activities conducted by the delegated bodies as well as notified bodies e.g. mechanics, workshops, etc.
The system is responsible for the control of technical activities, resource application and surveillance of private bodies that are active in legal metrology.
The information management approach has allowed the standardization of technical procedures, management of metrological services, efficiency in planning and transparence in legal metrology.
The measuring instruments that will be supported by E-Minzaani will include;
- Counter scales
- Spring balances
- Platform scales
E-Mizaani will address the following;
- Billing and receipting, including printing through a mobile Point of Sale (POS)
- Licensing, including the printing of mechanics and Workshop licenses, Technician Licenses, Mechanics work logs etc.,
- Workshop Management tracking and,
- Repair Management.
The system has been developed through a comprehensive study of the existing workflows involving the verification and repair of the above weighing and measuring equipment.
In addition to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the verification and repair process, the system will greatly reduce the long ques during the verification and corrective metrological process and controls by reducing on the resource-intensive and manual paper-based workflows characterized by logistical and spatial difficulties with staff shortages.
SMVT (System for Mobile Verification Tool) is also a new ICT tool deployed for the section of energy meters. In addition to the common benefits share by the E-minzani, the SMVT captures verification data for electricity meters both during in-house or field verification. When fully completed the tool will also be able to allow to use the USSD code to check the verification status of any installed electricity meters. Also during the filed verification, the exact location of the meter will be captured allowing for geographical profiling of each installation.
The writer is the Manager of the Legal Metrology Department at Uganda National Bureau of Standards