What Is the #1 Thing EHS Professionals Are Looking for in a Chemical Inventory System?

Inventory Management Tips


How many EHS professionals does it take to tally the number of acetone bottles on a university campus? There’s no punch line and this isn’t a joke! We’ve seen cases where it takes many hands and several weeks to count up the number of chemical containers in a facility. If multiple inventory systems are in play, then it takes much too long to manually collect and transfer data into the report. However, it doesn’t have to be this way – with a centralized chemical inventory system, one person can pull inventory data for an entire facility.

In many businesses, people in multiple departments want access to the same technology, and in doing so are looking for their optimal value proposition.  While it works slightly different in a chemical inventory system, the same principle is at play.  For optimal chemical safety practices, one EHS professional with access to the inventory database should be able to say how many containers of acetone are on campus, where each one is and the total quantity of acetone floating around in all the labs. When a single EHS professional can tally the amount and location of every single hazardous material on campus, then staying in compliance even as regulations change is much easier.

In university chem labs, there is a bounty of fresh undergraduate faces every few months and a rotation of graduate students that move on to the wide world of research after several years. This turnover brings new perspectives to the lab while at the same time posing a safety challenge – how can we standardize a training system so that no one falls through the cracks?


A centralized inventory system means that user training is uniform across the campus and training dovetails into lessons on standard operating procedures and emergency protocol. New researchers must learn how to read safety data sheets (SDS) and equally important – where to find them. With an inventory system in the cloud, thousands of SDS are available at the click of a button. This spells safety and compliance, as well as peace of mind for EHS professionals.

A best practices system can take it step farther – whether a researcher works with acetone or something more acutely toxic, today’s solutions make SDS available on smart phones, tablets and computers with Internet access. Cell phones are ubiquitous on campus and growing in popularity as a research tool. So, next time you catch your researchers on their phones in the lab, maybe they’re actually looking up inventory information on their smart phone! Or, maybe they’re just texting.

It’s a powerful system that allows you to access safety information from any location and even check campus inventory surpluses before ordering new chemicals. Saving money on inventory management means more resources for research, and that brings a smile to many faces.


Having a centralized system is the first pillar of a best practices chemical inventory solution. In our ChemSW webinar, “5 Best Practices Every EHS Professional Should Know,” our senior inventory consultant, Anne Sefried, outlines the five pillars of a best practices inventory system for universities. Click here to watch the entire webinar at your leisure.

At ChemSW, we care about safety and giving EHS professionals the tools to excel at managing chemical inventory. Please visit our website today to find out more about our software solutions and university consulting services.

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