When Time is Money, You Need to Eliminate Employee Inefficiencies
In the lab, we usually see labor costs adding up to be the largest expense in the budget. If employees spend every hour on productive projects, this is a worthwhile expense. However, we can often find inefficiencies in the typical workday. For example, Jennifer works in a research laboratory at a specialty chemical company for eight hours a day, five days a week. During the course of her work, she needs access to a wide array of chemicals. Her typical day usually consists of the following:
8:00 a.m. – She arrives at work, pours a cup of coffee, and answers a number of emails she received from coworkers and performs a few other administrative tasks.
9:00 a.m. – She begins setting up her workstation. She heads over to the inventory cabinet to pull out the chemicals. However, the chemicals are not in the right place. She then spends the next half hour or so looking for the chemicals.
10:00 a.m. – After finally discovering the right chemicals, she begins her day’s work. She works productively until lunchtime.
1:00 p.m. – After lunch, Jennifer needs to switch tasks and work with a different chemical. She checks the inventory cabinet but is unable to locate it. She checks the chemical inventory spreadsheet that is used to track the current inventory in the lab. It notes there is some on hand. However, upon asking some coworkers she discovers that the last liter was used yesterday. A call down to purchasing reveals that a new shipment will not arrive until the next day. She puts the project on hold until then.
3:00 p.m. – As she is trying to stay busy, she discovers a new chemical was received into the inventory the day before. However, the only information that she has regarding this chemical is a name. She spends the next hour researching chemical properties, hazards, structures, and other chemical information for proper handling and management.
4:00 p.m. – Jennifer ends her day with some more administrative tasks, such as emails and logging results in her lab book.
Although Jennifer appears quite productive throughout her day, there were multiple instances where her time may not have been used as efficiently as it could have been. For example, she spent at least half an hour locating her first set of chemicals, underutilized a second half hour while looking for an out-of-stock chemical, and finally, spent another half hour researching the chemical properties of a third chemical. Added up, this is an hour and a half of her day that was not spent productively.
If not handled correctly, chemical management can create a number of inefficiencies within the lab. If companies are interested in reducing these inefficiencies, they may want to consider CISPro’s chemical inventory system.
The CISPro system utilizes bar-codes and unique location identifiers to tag and track chemicals. This ensures that Jennifer will be able to locate the right chemicals when she is ready to work. The bar-coding system also increases the accuracy of inventory and reduces the inaccuracies created when Excel-based tracking sheets are not updated. Additionally, the system tracks all of the relevant information regarding chemicals including chemical structure, hazardous information and proper handling.
In the lab industry, labor tends to be the largest expense on the income statement. This is only sustainable as long as employees spend every hour in productive activities. The CISPro chemical inventory system can help ensure that each employee hour is more productive.
If you would like to read more about how CISPro can increase the efficiencies of laboratory employees, please visit our website today.