Five Features Essential in Quality Chemical Management Software
Problems arise when chemical inventories are not managed appropriately. These problems can range from slight annoyances, like incorrectly ordering material, to large problems like chemicals spills that harm employees or the public. It is because of these problems that many laboratories consider investing in chemical management software system as part of their chemical or laboratory safety programs.
Currently, there are many different chemical management software providers on the market, and not all are created equal. When purchasing a system, lab directors should consider finding a system that fits their laboratory needs. However, there is some basic functionality that should be included in any chemical management system regardless of needs.
To really address chemical management problems in a laboratory, it’s helpful ensure that the final system choice includes the following functionality, at the very least:
- Product Import Capability – If a laboratory does not currently have a chemical management system, workers probably spend a lot of time manually tracking chemicals. However, if a lab invests in a chemical management system that does not have any vendor import capability, then workers will continue to spend a lot of time manually tracking chemicals. One of the main reasons to invest in a chemical management system is to be able to automate processes that are currently handled manually. It is smart to eliminate any chemical management software systems that do not provide this important feature.
- Data Security – The recent Sony hack is a reminder that system security is crucial. Therefore, make sure that any chemical management software under review has security features like usernames, passwords and data backup functionality. It is also not a bad idea to look at systems that offer multiple security access tiers, in order to provide senior employees more access to data than junior employees.
- Automatic Compliance Notifications – There is an inherent risk associated with storing and using chemicals. To manage this risk, regulatory parties have established rules regarding the chemical quantity that can be stored on site. A good chemical management system will help laboratory directors identify chemical inventory risks by alerting them when they are not in compliance with these regulations, due to over-purchasing or prolonged storage of particular chemicals.
- Audit Trails – Many laboratories have begun to adopt “Root Cause Analysis” when errors occur to discover what specifically went wrong. The idea behind this type of analysis is that investigators take a deep look at a problem, asking “why” five times in order to arrive at the true cause of a problem. Ensure that the chemical management system can help in this process by providing audit trails, which include details of what happened within the system.
- Sharing Tools – Have you ever heard the joke, “A filing system is built upon storage, not retrieval?” Unfortunately, this type of filing system prevents data from being shared with others to provide useful insight into problems. The best chemical management systems are equipped with tools that allow data to be easily located and shared with others.
Most chemical management software systems will have a list of product features from which to choose. However, if a vendor does not at least offer the five mentioned above, it probably doesn’t make sense looking exploring that choice, as it could end up being more of a hassle than a viable solution.
For more information regarding the BIOVIA CISPro and how it can help improve chemical management within your laboratory, please visit our website today.