Lab inventory management is a critical, though monotonous, operation in any laboratory that is sometimes forgotten or ignored. Proper lab inventory management may result in considerable cost savings and time savings, allowing you to operate your lab more efficiently and consistently.
Several labs continue to keep their lab instruments inventory on paperwork or in excel, making it nearly hard to keep track of stock quantities or item placement. This frequently leads to the loss of costly chemicals, antibodies, cell lines, and so forth.
Utilizing web-based lab instrument inventory management software may assist facilities in managing their inventory efficiently and economically. The benefits of employing such a platform versus paper are obvious: one can take control and keep note of the entire equipment in a single spot, monitor your product availability and shipments, establish stock alerts, and simply communicate inventory whereabouts with other lab members- keeping everybody up to speed.
As a laboratory technician, you must utilize an easy-to-use inventory management system that will motivate your lab participants to adopt it continuously. Before actually migrating your commodities and biological materials (plasmids, DNA evidence, cell cultures, antigens, and so on) to lab instruments inventory management software, you should take the opportunity to consider the best strategy to accomplish it effectively and fully. Also, before filing your pieces of equipment look for lab instrument calibration.
Although many PIs (particularly in academia) see the price of such platforms as a primary hindrance to switching, there are a variety of free and low-cost alternatives accessible. Here are a few of the most prominent products available in the market right now:
What exactly does that do? Benchling, dubbed the “Google Docs for biosciences” by techcrunch.com, aims to combine typical inventories and data management with innovative molecular genetic features such as computerized primers creation and plasmid mapping that are remarkable in the industry. Users may utilize the lab notepad functionality to develop prototypes for various protocols and exchange project files with team members. It also provides a suite of features to assist in the creation and management of CRISPR guide RNAs. (Editas, a large CRISPR-focused biotech business, is listed as a participant of the application by the company.) While design changes and updates may create hassles in the near term, many reviewers believe the system is the sole choice for significant genetic editing. You can get the program for free, but you will most likely have to pay a membership fee to use it throughout your lab.
Advantage: One-of-a-kind molecular biology technologies; easy sharing of protocol templates between teams
Downsides: Ideal for bigger companies or groups, the price may be prohibitively expensive.
What exactly does it do? Labguru is a digital lab notebook (ELN) that helps you to keep track of your inventory, tests, findings, and even photographs. The “Shopping List” function enables lab users to examine order requests and avoid repeat purchasing. The program is cloud-based and has a phone app for iPhone, iPad, and Android, however, user evaluations have been mixed. A monthly membership charge is also applied based on the scale of your laboratory and your administrative affiliations.
Advantages: Simple ordering and inventory monitoring across big teams; project documentation and stock in one database
Downsides: Mobile applications may be better; subscription-based
What exactly does it do? Quartzy is a cloud-based laboratory administration solution deployed in 10,000 labs worldwide (a statistic they are not shy of mentioning). The system is intended for use in the biological sciences, and it includes the inventory and ordering process. Furthermore, it provides all staff members with insight to purchase inquiries and order progress information, eliminating the need to annoy a lab supervisor about the arrival date for your recent buy.
Advantages: Simplified ordering procedure; thorough inventory control; freeware
Downsides: Cloud-based system security and privacy concerns; the temptation to market their lab goods
Qualer’s flexibility in meeting the needs of our lab and in being customized to meet the varied and specific contractual commitments is one of the best features. Their comprehensive library of instruments and associated uncertainty levels and specifications are particularly impressive. Another great benefit is the compatibility of our software with our invoicing and the functionality of APIs, which allows us to connect to virtually all other software applications, including Fluke MetCal.
We have found Qualer lab asset management software to be an overall good experience, full of business success driven by more efficient equipment processing in our laboratory. There are some opportunities to improve training, but that is more likely an issue within the organization than a software issue.
Hopefully, a calibration lab will be able to improve its efficiency and quality without sacrificing something that is essential to its success.
What exactly does it do? labfolder is yet one more ELN and lab information resource that has substantial collaborative features. Via project processes and shared protocol standards, it aims to be the focus of sharing of information between all teammates.
It also has the essential feature to incorporate common techniques such as Figshare and Mendeley into the Web application, and users may expand on the software by using the company’s app store or their handmade apps.
Unlike many other programs, Labfolder allows customers to run the application on local servers for increased protection, and it may be certified FDA and ISO certified as required.
Advantages: Enhanced collaboration and project administration; adherence to regulatory norms
Downsides: Its freeware version allows for a limit of three scientists.
What exactly does it do? SciNote is an ELN that enables the client to monitor the status of the project and its amendments. For governmental, commercial, and educational labs, SciNote provides team communication, program, data, and stock management capabilities.
The intuitive flowchart layout may be advantageous for project managers when assigning responsibilities. This, like other platforms, is fairly adaptable to diverse sorts of projects.
The software includes high-level encryption to ensure data security during transfer. Before subscribing to the paid membership, a free plan of the application is accessible.
Advantages: Task assignment and management throughout collaborative projects; intuitive workflow layout
Downsides: The free version is only available for a single user.
Each lab, program, and scientist is unique. Try out a few different methods to find what works best for you. Make suggestions, take notes, and have fun experimenting.