Streamline Chemical Database Inquiries with a Digital Inventory Management System

handwriting chemical database
A digital chemical inventory management system will avoid inefficient pen and paper approaches to ordering chemicals. 
Image source: Flickr user Salim Fadhley

In my previous lab, we had a rotation in place for lab duties so that all of the work was shared equally among all lab members. I was annoyed that we had to be told to “share” responsibilities, but it’s probably true that if we didn’t have such a system, the same three people would have ended up doing all the grunt work. My least favorite chore was ordering. Here’s how our system worked: if you used the last of a reagent or noticed that it was getting low, you wrote the chemical name, catalog number, price and quantity on a large white board in the middle of the lab. At the end of the week, the person responsible for ordering would go up to the white board, write down all of the items, and then return to their computer to place the order. On the computer, we would have to search through multiple vendor websites for the correct chemical and quantity. We didn’t have a comprehensive chemical database. I’ll spare you the details of what it took to actually place the order, but as you can probably tell, our system of tracking chemical use and waste was not much of a system at all. I would actually feel anger as I stood in the middle of the room, handwriting the list on the whiteboard. It seemed such a waste of time.

Fortunately, chemical inventory management doesn’t have to be this frustrating and nonsensical. A digital chemical inventory management system can help your scientists avoid time consuming, wasteful tasks and focus instead on their research projects. Take a look at features of a digital chemical inventory management system that can help your lab streamline chemical database inquiries:

Track chemical use

From receipt to disposal, a digital chemical inventory management system will track the lifespan of chemicals in your inventory. The system can be accessed from multiple computers so users can always have instant, real-time access to the current chemical inventory. The system also provides information of container location so you don’t have to waste time digging through shelves or freezers. Users can easily pull up the container information and immediately know how much chemical remains, where it’s stored and when it’s expired.

Link to chemical database

One of the more frustrating aspects of ordering was having 10 browser tabs open as I compared chemicals from multiple vendors. Not every vendor carries the same quality or quantity amounts of chemicals, so you could really waste some time clicking back and forth trying to find exactly the right chemical. A digital chemical inventory management system bridges your inventory to a database of the largest searchable collections of commercially available chemicals in the world. You can actually have access to over 12 million unique chemicals from more than 890 global suppliers.

Let me give you an example of how this would work in practice:

You’re setting up a project and need to make sure that your lab has Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in stock before you get started. You jump on the digital chemical inventory management system and find that your lab has a bottle remaining on the chemical shelf next door, but it’s getting low. Because you’re a responsible, civic-minded lab member, you decide to order some more so the next guy doesn’t have to run down the hallways asking if anyone will spare a few milliliters. You link to the chemical database to search vendors that carry DMSO, and compare specs and prices. You quickly find the lowest-cost vendor with the proper size and navigate through your organization’s ordering process. Done. Everything you need to track, locate and order chemicals can be done in one short event at your computer.

Ordering chemicals shouldn’t be time consuming or frustrating. A digital chemical inventory management system can streamline chemical database inquiries so you can place orders quickly and spend more time doing research. Visit the Accelrys website to learn more about how Accelrys ACD for CISPro can meet your chemical inventory needs.

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