Ordering & Inventory

The overall aim of the Ordering & Inventory module is threefold:

  • to support researchers in their daily work and to increase the awareness with regard to “safe working in the lab”.
  • to alleviate the burden of regular accounting to external auditors.
  • to do the above in the most “lean” way possible, saving on unnecessary human labour

Ordering

At the same time safety information of the items to order is retrieved from Chemwatch, based on CAS no. Hazard bars, mini MSDS, ADR class and CMR related H-phrases are shown. In this way the orderer can make a trade-off already during the ordering process with regard to the safety issues of the substance to order.

The Lab Servant’s pre-order form is linked to the web shop of preferred suppliers via a web service. The orderer fills a shopping cart in the web shop, which is transferred to the order form, where it is merged with financial codes and delivery information of the orderer.

At the same time safety information of the items to order is retrieved from Chemwatch and internal Signal lists of dangerous goods are consulted. Hazard bars, MSDS, ADR class GHS symbols, H & P phrases and alerts from the signal list are shown. In this way the orderer can decide to order the substance taking into regard the safety issues or decide to order an alternative substance, e.g. in the case of CMR and other substances for which the use is discouraged.

After approval by a lab manager the order is transferred to the corporate procurement system for a budget check and e-ordering, e-invoicing and registration in the corporate ERP system.

Suppliers who don’t have a web shop with OCI (yet) can provide a download catalog which is integrated in the Lab Servant and offers (almost) the same functionality as a web shop. For other suppliers an open web order form is available to define items to order with their article no., description, price and number to order.

When the articles are delivered, the goods receipt is registered in the Lab Servant and transferred to the corporate procurement system to release the invoice payment. At the same time a barcode label for each container is printed and the containers are registered in the Lab Servant’s Inventory module. Documents for transport over public roads are generated (ADR compatible).

Inventory

The purpose of our registration of chemical and biological substances is twofold:

  • To know which substances are “in house” and where they are located, saving quests and duplicate orders.
  • To be accountable to bodies such as environmental inspection, fire department, labour inspection, customs and security agencies on the nature, quantity and use of existing (risk) substances.

By a live link with Chemwatch, safety data of substances can be displayed directly in the Inventory module (hazards, precautionary measures, MSDS and mini MSDS, ADR class, CMR properties et cetera). This requires zero maintenance because the CAS no. which is retrieved from the supplier is directly fed into the Chemwatch web service, resulting in the requested data. For mixtures or for substances without a CAS no. the safety data can be entered manually. Tools are provided to calculate the proper safety data in that case.

Reporting can take place from the grid of substances resp. containers, whick can be exported to Excel after filtering. In addition a Datamart tool enables a very flexible way of (statistical) reporting.

The Dimensions on which to report are selected by drag & drop as are the Measures which represent the numbers to report. There are various datamarts availble to accommodate all reporting needs with a simple “push of the button”. This tool simplifies the reporting obligations to external agencies significantly

On door signs (module Areas, Labs & door signs) the amount of hazardous substances per ADR class is displayed, retrieved from the database The Inventory is further linked to the module Organisation, Users & Roles to provide personalised permissions to access data.

Newly purchased substances enter the Inventory via the module Ordering and are labelled with a unique barcode. Empty containers leave the system by scanning-out the barcodes. In this way the inventory is always up-to-date. Additionally, in an annual stock taking process the actual stock is scanned with a barcode reader and compared with the database. Any differences are resolved directly on screen with dedicated action buttons (delete, relocate, restore).

A Warehouse module completes the Inventory. The warehouse comprises 20-200 articles that are kept in stock for same day delivery to the researchers. If stock falls below a threshold re-orders are generated automatically. Derivatives from the warehouse are being used at the laboratory level to keep local stock to the mark automatically, saving on human effort significantly.

Functionality

  • Create first time inventory by scanning supplier’s barcodes, linked to a supplier’s integrated
    catalogue.
  • Link container to location: lab – cabinet – shelf – bin.
  • Print Lab Servant barcodes to uniquely identify each container and its location and owner.
  • Search the database to find a substance needed for an experiment.
  • Consult (safety) data of a substance as provided by Chemwatch via a live link with zero maintenance.
  • Scan containers to new owner or (temporary) location.
  • Scan empty bottles to remove them from the inventory.
  • Re-order substances with just a few clicks.
  • Print standard overviews for compliance management towards external authorities

For a complete overview of all functionality click the picture