This Is a Test: Will Your Chemical Inventory Management System Pass?

Inventory Management Tips

chemical inventory management
Comprehensive tracking features mean that you can quickly access an accurate record of every container that is in your chemical inventory.
Image source: Flickr user Matteo Bagnoli

Some labs keep their chemical inventory in a notepad or binder. Others use a digital method ranging from a spreadsheet database to employing a complex digital system that requires days of training to get through the first steps. Of course, not all chemical inventory management systems are created equal. Perhaps it would be helpful to consider the following three questions, keeping your current system in mind. And then ask yourself this final question: How does your inventory management system measure up to a best practices digital chemical inventory management system?

Does your system provide comprehensive tracking from the time of receipt to disposal?

It’s one thing to keep a simple record of what chemicals you have in your inventory; however, this is not really a comprehensive system. Comprehensive tracking, on the other hand, can report when you receive a chemical, how much is used, where it is stored and when the empty container is disposed. A digital chemical inventory management system provides comprehensive tracking that allows users to have instant access to chemical inventory data and chemical use records. Real-time chemical inventory and storage information makes regulatory reporting and audits simple and saves users time. Comprehensive tracking also provides data on usage, which can help labs evaluate spending and cut back on wasteful practices.

Can any of your approved users access the system?

Often times, firms will use a system that requires specifically designated individuals to access the inventory management system in order to update information or search for containers. This setup may be a result of inherent system complexity that makes it difficult for users to learn the system. It may also be a result of the inability of the system to be accessed from multiple locations. A best practices digital chemical inventory management system is comprehensive enough to track chemicals from the time of receipt to the time of disposal, but simple enough that the average user can learn and master the system quickly. An effective system should be straightforward and intuitive so that training doesn’t have to be extensive, and so that procedures and processes are easily retained.

Does an audit impact operations?

In the labs in which I’ve worked, an audit meant putting experiments on the back burner and cleaning up a year’s worth of poor chemical management over a few days of intense organizing. We didn’t always know when audits would occur, so that could easily mean that we’d have very little time to rearrange our schedules and projects. This is not how audits should work. A best practices digital chemical inventory management system should provide a simple approach to the process. Regulatory list functions can be used to easily generate accurate reports for regulatory agencies. Comprehensive tracking features mean that you can quickly access an accurate record of every chemical that is in your inventory, including current volumes, container history and container storage location.

A best practices digital chemical inventory management system provides a straightforward, efficient solution for your chemical inventory needs. Choose a system that passes this test in order to realize the many benefits of a digital system. Visit the Accelrys website to learn more about how the exciting features of Accelrys CISPro can benefit your lab.

2 thoughts on “This Is a Test: Will Your Chemical Inventory Management System Pass?

  1. This sounds wonderful. I ran a lab for many years, we did not have a system that took data from machines and input the results of the tests and that doesn’t even cover wet chemistry tests that don’t use machines. So the technicians had to input all of their results during their workday. This data was input on a computer and I am wondering if this program could be set up to work with that to use the inventory – for instance you do so many titrations and each time there is a result input the amount needed is subtracted from inventory? This would not be perfectly accurate and audits would still be needed to verify but it would make it less likely to run out of a reagent at a critical time.

  2. Yes! There are a number of options and modules that could be used to individualize inventory tracking for these types of needs. At a basic level though, a bar coding system could help users keep track of how much reagent is used so that you would always know how much remains in the container.

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