How Do You Make Your Inventory More Efficient?
A chemical inventory management system (CIMS) providing real-time access to materials data from anywhere is critical to the efficiency of any organization where people work with, store and dispose of chemicals. This technology lets anyone in the lab find the materials they need right away, respond immediately to spills and other incidents, and ensure regulatory compliance.
Unfortunately, most labs are still wrangling their reagents and other consumables manually. This work is not only tedious, which wastes the talents of your staff and puts a damper on their retention, but also vastly time consuming. According to one study, routine lab inventory upkeep can take up to 25% of a scientist’s time. Seventy percent of respondents manually reviewed their records for expired chemicals in root cause analysis, 26% spent at least 10% of their time checking stock levels and reordering chemicals, and nearly a quarter said that inventory data entry ate up at least 10% of their work hours.
Not only do these tasks take precious time away from scientific discovery, but they pose a grave threat to data integrity: any documentation errors stay in the records and percolate throughout the experimental workflow. The result can be repeated experiments, impaired reproducibility, delayed project timelines—and, in the worst-case scenario, fines from regulators and bad publicity.
On a more mundane level, mismanaged inventory makes it challenging for scientists to find the articles they need for experiments. The average researcher spends 50 minutes hunting down a consumable in the lab. New supplies may be ordered unnecessarily if the scientist gives up, and overlooked bottles may go to waste via expiration.
The LANEXO® Inventory Manager was specifically designed to address these inefficiencies. Radiofrequency identification (RFID) labels plus the system’s software allow material lifecycle management in the lab to go completely digital.
RFID Smart Labels are key to the LANEXO® Inventory Manager. The QR code on the label applied to a bottle of a chemical contains all data about that chemical: its volume, who opened it, who used it last, its expiration date, its GHS safety information and much more. Scan that label with the LANEXO® Mobile App on an Android phone with near-field communication (NFC) enabled. Now all that information, instantly updated, becomes available at the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen.
Tracking all consumables—no matter who made them
The LANEXO® Inventory Manager is 100% vendor neutral for complete lab coverage. Whether an article was sold by Sigma-Aldrich or by another vendor, or whether it was created by one of your scientists in-house, you can track it in the system.
Fighting motion waste
The concept of motion waste was pioneered in the mid-20th century by Toyota engineer Taiichi Ohno. His aim was to prevent fatigue and injury in production line workers, but motion waste can be found in other workplaces, such as labs. Any number of “small” routine tasks, which may include traveling from location to location, can add up to massive time sinks over the course of a year.
The LANEXO® Inventory Manager has helped one QC lab with three sites cut its motion waste dramatically. Before implementing the system, a stock count required a lab worker to visit all three labs, go through all the cabinets, write down what remained in them and then input their notes into Excel. This took 32 hours a year. Now, by scanning LANEXO® location labels, they instantly get a list of materials in each storage location. Stock count now takes only 4 hours a year and can be performed much more often.
Similarly, scientists looking for materials once had to walk back and forth among the three labs, look in all the cabinets and check the expiry dates on the bottles. Now, they can just search the LANEXO® Web App from their desks and obtain batch numbers, expiry dates and all other chemical-associated data. Not only has the LANEXO® Inventory Manager saved the QC lab enormous amounts of time, it’s boosted their confidence in their inventory.
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