Improving the Tools of the Trade: Chemical Management Systems Increase Efficiency in the Lab Storeroom

Digital Solutions

Accounting is one of the key departments in any company. They keep track of the debits and credits within various accounts so that they can produce a monthly income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows. This financial information is important because it reflects the health of the company. A growing company typically shows an increase in revenue, while a struggling company might have difficulty managing their expenses. This information is important to both managers and investors who use it to make decisions regarding the allocation of resources.

old ledger written by hand
You wouldn’t expect accountants to be very efficient managing financial information with rudimentary tools such as this.
Courtesy of Flickr user Alexander Baxevanis

In order to track the debits and the credits, accounting personnel utilize multiple software tools. At a minimum, they probably have implemented spreadsheet software to track incoming receipts and outgoing expenses. As the business grows and develops, the tools become even more sophisticated, including general ledger software and modules, such as accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Now, imagine that the accountants walked into the office one day only to find that the computers had disappeared. Would they still be able to close the books at month end? Maybe, but the company would have to add a lot more manpower in order to reach completion in a timely manner. It certainly would be less efficient.

In this day and age, it’s just not feasible for an accountant to work efficiently without computers or the necessary software. Why, then, do we hobble other departments and not provide them with appropriate resources and tools that allow them to complete their job more efficiently, as well?

For example, within a laboratory environment, inventory managers play just as significant a role as those in accounting, particularly because chemicals are vital components necessary for laboratory production, and laboratory production keeps everyone on the payroll. However, when it comes to receiving, tracking and managing chemicals, many laboratories do not provide their inventory managers with the same level of sophisticated tools as accountants. Instead, they are expected to handle the management of chemical inventories using paper and pencils. Some may use spreadsheet software to tackle the job, but it’s still not an ideal solution.

Like accounting software, advanced chemical management systems, like Accelrys CISPro, are designed to make chemical management as efficient as possible:

  • Reduce Data Entry – Effective chemical management systems allow for chemicals received within the laboratory to be scanned directly into the system. This process reduces the amount of keying errors that occur when employees are required to enter the information into the system by hand.
  • Tracking Safety Data Sheets – Many laboratory managers may feel that maintaining  safety data sheets (SDS) can be a tedious process, but tracking this information is required by law. A chemical management system reduces the hassle by ensuring that SDS are scanned and saved digitally within the system for easy reference when needed.
  • Location Management – Tracking the exact location of chemicals can be difficult, especially if the chemical inventory includes several varieties and amounts. However, a state-of-the-art chemical management system allows receivers to add a barcode to the inventory, which can be scanned and tagged with location information. This helps managers obtain an accurate picture of the current on-hand amounts.

    Inventory Management means finding chemicals again once they are stored.
    The laboratory storeroom can be tricky to manage and navigate. Chemical inventory software helps to keep everything organized.
    Courtesy of Wikimedia.org
  • Decrease Lead Time – Once managers know how much inventory is on hand, they can use this information to reevaluate lead times and be confident that production will not grind to a halt.

With regard to numerous industries, all departments within a company are vital in keeping everything running smoothly. However, we shouldn’t neglect anyone’s need for refined tools that will help them get their job done more effectively, including laboratory managers. By equipping these employees with sophisticated tools, like the Accelrys CISPro chemical management system, you will see an increase in the efficiency of the workflows within the laboratory, and a potential increase to your bottom line. To learn more about Accelrys CISPro, please visit our website today.

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