lab inventory tracking

Getting Started with Lab Inventory Tracking

Lab inventory tracking is an essential function for boosting efficiency and minimizing waste in scientific laboratories. Tracking lab inventory typically involves maintaining an up-to-date record of what items are in the lab, where they are located, and how much of each item is available (or has been consumed). This can be challenging without an organized system and careful planning. Many labs use a sample management system or other lab software to: 

  • Ensure that lab staff have access to the materials and equipment they need in order to conduct their experiments and research. 
  • Prevent the waste of materials and resources, as it allows researchers to easily identify when supplies are running low and need to be replenished.
  • Avoid the loss or damage of valuable resources, as it allows researchers to quickly and easily locate items when they are needed.


So how can you get started tracking your lab inventory? Below are a few tips to consider: 


5 tips for effective lab inventory tracking:


  1. Use software to help: A sample management system or other dedicated lab software is the best option for lab inventory tracking. Spreadsheets and note-taking applications are not recommended as they have numerous drawbacks and are highly prone to errors.
  2. Involve your team in the inventory tracking process: This will help to ensure that your sample management system or other lab management software is being used consistently and accurately. It will also help to promote buy-in and adoption of the system among researchers.
  3. Use the inventory and ordering records for budgeting and planning: This can help you to anticipate future needs and allocate resources more effectively. Comparing your available inventory to your ordering history can also help you prevent over-ordering and accumulating excess supplies.
  4. Conduct regular inventory audits: It is important to identify any discrepancies between the lab inventory records and the actual items in the lab. It is a good idea to conduct audits on a monthly or quarterly basis to ensure records are up to date. Choosing the right inventory management system may mean looking for features that expedite this process.
  5. Consider using a check-in/check-out system: This can help to prevent the loss or damage of valuable items, as researchers will need to sign out items when they are removed from the lab. Lab software can help with this too.


Choosing the right software is essential for tracking inventory as your lab grows. Our cloud-based Sample Manager application has easy-to-use features that help you track any type of lab inventory and streamline your processes.