two lab workers discuss lab inventory management next to lab supplies organized on shelves

Lab Inventory Management: Take Control of Your Lab Supplies

Accurate and efficient lab inventory management is critical to the success of your scientific laboratory. By properly tracking and managing lab supplies you can make sure that your lab staff has the items needed to run their experiments. Putting together your lab inventory management system can be a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. Adhering to best practices and using sample management software with lab inventory management features can make the process easier. Below are some tips to successfully and efficiently manage your lab inventory.


Contents: Best Practices | Using Software | Sample Manager


Lab Inventory Management Best Practices

Lab inventory management is essential for ensuring that your laboratory runs smoothly. By properly managing your lab supplies, you can stock the right amount of inventory so that scientists will have what they need for their everyday operations. Here are some tips and best practices for managing lab inventory:

  1. Organize your laboratory by labeling your inventory and being thoughtful of where you place your inventory items. This will make it easier to identify and find what you need and prevent wasted time looking for misplaced supplies.
  2. Create a detailed stock list to identify the low-turnover items in your lab inventory. This will help you better forecast the needs of your lab and help you order the optimal amount of supplies for your lab.
  3. Group your lab inventory items into categories for easier management. This will make it simpler to stay organized and find the items you need.
  4. Use your stock list to regularly audit your inventory. This will help identify where you are falling short and where you have an excess. Adjust the frequency/volume of ordering as necessary.
  5. Assign minimum stock levels for each item in your lab inventory. This will help you keep track of when to replenish your supplies and avoid wasting money on unnecessary purchases.
  6. Create procedures to guide your lab inventory management. Having clear procedures will help ensure that everyone in your lab is following the same guidelines and minimize the chances of human error.
  7. Create a system for tracking your supplies. This could include using your sample management software to track your inventory or creating a manual system using spreadsheets or databases. Using software is by far the most efficient and least error-prone way of managing lab inventory.


Managing Lab Inventory with Software

Software can be a valuable tool in helping you take control of your lab supplies and resources. It can help reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve efficiency as well as also help your employees focus on more critical lab work. The benefits of using software include streamlining some of the tasks associated with lab inventory management, more accurate tracking of lab inventory and better reporting on the state of your lab inventory. 

Many sample management software, SDMS, and LIMS solutions have inventory management features that can help you better manage your lab inventory. A good software solution will offer features such as:

  • Assigning unique IDs to reagents (both by barcode and human-readable naming)
  • Storage capture and management for easy findability
  • Reporting on remaining amounts of supplies for quick ordering
  • Expiration date notifications
  • Alerts that notify you when items are running low
  • Integration with workflow tools to better manage processes


Deciding on Your Lab Inventory System

There’s a lot to consider when deciding between software solutions for lab inventory. While exploring options, think about the big picture of your lab.

  • Does this product meet the essential needs for your inventory?
  • Does your lab need a sample tracking system along with an inventory system?
  • Does the frequency of use match the cost of the system?
  • Is the software easy to learn and use? Does it have frustrating errors in trial?
  • Do you have buy-in from the actual potential users of the lab inventory software?
  • What does the long-term scalability look like for this product?
  • Is the system flexible enough to work for your inventory requirements long-term?
  • Will this system integrate other processes for efficiency, such as biological sample tracking or an electronic lab notebook?
  • Does the company understand the challenges of your inventory management?


Sample Manager for Lab Inventory Management

Sample Manager helps manage lab inventory by uniquely registering new reagents & stocks while capturing custom metadata with both standard and user-defined fields. Additionally, Sample Manager helps labs to:

  • Capture the exact location of stocks at room temperature or in temperature-controlled units like fridges and freezers.
  • Ensure reagent quality with freeze/thaw counts and expiration date tracking
  • Quickly understand the total amounts of stock reagents and create reports on expiring/expired reagents
  • Create standardized ordering workflows to simplify inventory management

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