4 Steps to Examine When Looking at Chemical Inventory Workflow

Inventory Management Tips


A research facility can see many changes over the course of a few months. In a given university research lab, for example, student researchers come and go, labs migrate to new spaces and projects may come to an end. All of these changes have a profound effect on the chemical inventory system on campus. From the perspective of the entire university, these changes are potential weak points in safety, regulatory compliance and accurate reporting. EHS professionals can examine each stage of a chemical’s lifecycle from purchase to disposal in order to fix errors and streamline workflow.

For any large research institution, a single inventory software solution can track all chemicals on site and generate turnkey regulatory reports. In addition to a single tracking system, it’s also wise to establish an inventory gatekeeper who sees to it that chemical stock is optimized.

4 Steps to Examine When Looking at Chemical Inventory Workflow

1) Purchasing

In many institutions, researchers and the purchasing department interface to coordinate chemical inventory purchases. By carefully structuring this interface and purchasing authorities, it’s possible minimize stored inventory without interrupting research, thus reducing costs and liability for the company.

2) Receiving

There are many organizations out there with more than one process for receiving chemicals and supplies. While it may seem to work, there are some issues that come with this method. For example, without central oversight, it may be difficult to know exactly what chemicals are on site at any given moment, not to mention the location, quantity and worker using the hazardous materials.

One of the most critical practices of an inventory management system is a central receiving process in which all new containers receive a bar code label. And, it’s best if the number of employees handling receiving activities is kept to a minimum to minimize the chance of errors.


3) Moving

The dance of chemical inventory around the facility should be tracked at all times. With bar code technology, the physical location of every item can be known in real time as it moves hither and thither. The receiving team’s effort to bar code inventory pays off right here. It’s much more difficult to lose or even misplace an item with this type of tracking system.

4) Disposal

The environment and surrounding community depend on local facilities to minimize waste disposal and use proper safeguards at all times. Compliance with waste disposal regulations is another important step in a best practices inventory system. Creating a safer workplace and community is win-win for everyone!


While the path that chemicals follow from entry to disposal may vary from chemical to chemical, a best practices system will cover these four pillars of chemical inventory management. With bar code technology and user-friendly software, facilities can manage material flow strategically to the delight of EHS professionals everywhere. For more information about gaining control of chemical inventory, please request a free copy of our best practices white paper here.

At ChemSW, we offer inventory management solutions to track chemicals in real-time, ensure regulatory compliance and enable turnkey reporting. For more information about our products and consulting services, please visit our website today!

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