Poor Laboratory Inventory Management & Its Ripple Effect

Inventory management happens to be simultaneously the most essential and, at the same time, the most disliked task that laboratorians carry out on a daily basis. But poor inventory management goes on to virtually impact every facet of the lab.

Lab elements that are affected by poor inventory management

Research Efficiency, Accuracy, As Well As Reproducibility

Delays when it comes to research happen to be often a byproduct in terms of poor inventory management. Whether in case the chemicals as well as the reagents have been used up or are either not reordered, orders get delayed, or products go missing, experiments happen to be delayed up until the replacements arrive. Downtime spent waiting when it comes to reagents, materials, or even equipment requiring repair happens to be a frustration for laboratorians all across.

This can indeed be avoided by way of having up-to-date inventories with automated reminders when it comes to necessary repairs, restocks, and other alerts so as to keep the lab up to date when it comes to daily activities.

Compliance As Well As Safety

Making use of expired or improperly stored chemicals can go on to cost labs their compliance as well as their regulatory status, hence needing a reapplication. This would go on to render results that are unusable when it comes to future publications since they would be deemed unreliable and, at the same time, lack reproducibility. Inventory monitoring, disposal of hazardous materials, and reliable and meticulous record-keeping happen to be needed for compliance, and dearth of all these can go on to result in an increased audit risk as well as associated penalties. Apart from this, past-dated or poorly stored materials may as well be unsafe if they go on to become unstable or even kind of cause their storage containers to break down. Equipment which does not happen to be properly maintained and also routinely inspected by personnel that are qualified can also make way for a safety risk to lab staff.

Lab Team As Well As Supplier Relationships

It is well to be noted that relationships suffer when laboratory materials and equipment are insufficient for the work. Apart from the wasted time searching for the products that are missing, poor inventory management can go on to strain relationships with the suppliers due to order inconsistencies, delayed payments that are delayed, and returns.

Enhancing Inventory Management

There are numerous tactics that can be applied when it comes to inventory management:

LIMS-style inventory management

There happen to be a number of laboratory information management system- LIMS-style programs that have been developed so as to help laboratories go ahead and address the above-listed problems. These programs happen to have loads of benefits that help the lab managers in terms of making more data-driven inventory decisions.

Automated reorder reminders

It is worth noting that LIMS systems can go on to remind one to restock items at optimal times, which are based upon past usage rates or even the order dates, thereby safeguarding against both overstocking and running out of materials.

Boost day-to-day efficiency

One can also make use of analytics so as to go ahead and optimize the storage strategy so that one can also have the required space in terms of incoming materials before they happen to  arrive and do not consistently reshuffle the regularly stocked products. In diagnostic labs, monitoring the batch numbers happens to be essential, but it can also be helpful for research labs to go ahead and do the same. Pinpointing the experimental problems that are caused by contamination happens to be made abundantly easier when the batch numbers get recorded.

Careful inventory management also goes on to eradicate the requirement to search for materials, as the storage location gets tracked upon arrival in the inventory.

Making Use of Yesterday’s Numbers To Justify Future Expenses

The fact is that the historic inventory management data can go on to make the budget proposals clearer and even enable the lab managers to justify their reasons. When planning for future projects, staff, budgeting, etc., obtaining the data so as to make informed inventory decisions goes on to take the guesswork out of the planning.

Alternative Choices For Inventory Management

Beyond the software designed when it comes to information collection, there happen to be other ways that one can maintain orderly as well as up-to-date inventory management, like using barcodes, maintaining tracking sheets with equipment, and writing SOPs that outline the storage requirements.

The level of asset as well as material management must increase with the size and complexity of the lab. An assessment of the needs and appraisal of numerous ways of managing inventory can go on to maximize the time pertaining to the laboratory staff by making sure that productivity and efficiency do not get hindered due to poor inventory management.