Laboratories need to keep track of inventory for all products they use and track of those they produce not only for safety reasons, but also for economic reasons. Product traceability is a key factor to ensure quality and differentiation in a competitive environment with unique added value.
Inventory Management for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
When using dangerous or hazardous products, it is important to know where these products are located, their characteristics and their quantities. Although it may seem obvious, be sure not to store them in the same place an oxidizer and a fuel, for example, which are responsible for many accidents every year.
Stock Management to Ensure Compliance with Regulations
Some products must be used in very small quantities in order to minimize risks and ensure the reliability of audit results. In addition, a certain number of products are prohibited in the design of a product (e.g., bisphenol A, mercury, etc.) according to the framework of numerous national and international regulations (e.g., Reach, RoHs), which makes it necessary to be able to demonstrate which replacement product is used and where it is stored and packaged.
Stock Management to Guarantee Stock Traceability
Evidently, product traceability allows for better management of orders and deliveries so as not to cause a shortage of a certain product, and thus not to negatively affect production. Also, regarding certain product characteristics, particularly the expiration dates, the lack of traceability can create a dysfunction in the production chain.
Time can be saved significantly thanks to the traceability of products and raw materials and the management of stocks. This traceability makes it possible to keep the results of analyses, the dates of legal conservation, and to make it possible to repeat analyses.
Inventory Management for The Added Value of the Finished Product
Some products used in the testing or manufacturing processes have a high value, so it is crucial to monitor their use to optimize costs. In addition, these products may also be resold, which means that it is necessary to be able to trace their location and occasionally justify their packaging.
For example, the development of a new chemical product is very costly, while at the same time, an almost similar product may have already been researched and developed. From a cost optimization perspective, it is necessary to be able to retrieve information from this other project, to capitalize on the knowledge already acquired by the laboratory, by means of a sample library, and to reuse products so as not to lose products that are of enormous value and that can be reused.
Inventory Management for Procurement Optimization
Inventory management allows the optimization of procurement and the rationalization of the relationship with suppliers on orders and deliveries to be made. Thanks to monitoring, it is also possible to set up minimum alert thresholds so as not to create a break in the production chain.
It is also a good way of tracing the physical dimensions of a product, i.e., the batches that are manufactured or purchased, which are then subdivided into samples.