When the laboratory is in operation, the chemical products inventory plan needs to be fully developed. This makes it difficult to evaluate program performance, identify areas for improvement, and make adjustments without interrupting daily laboratory operations. Temporary lab closures provide a good opportunity to reassess your program, identify areas that need to be modified, plan to roll out, and implement any changes before lab operations resume. When you complete the closure checklist before the plant is closed, there are some key areas to check.
Evaluate your chemical products inventory plan
Does the current project meet the needs of the organization? This is a relatively high-level review of the effectiveness of the project. Do you have the right platform or database? Is the chemical products inventory data accurate? Do employees understand the purpose of the chemical products inventory plan?
Do they have appropriate job aids and training to manage it effectively? If you feel good about the answers to these questions, you will be in better condition than most people. If not, there is an opportunity to improve your chemical products inventory procedures during the closure period. By improving your chemical products inventory procedures, you can reduce waste and reduce costs.
Compare your platform with other options
Now it’s time to investigate your chemical products inventory and make reports that you don’t normally do. Does your current platform have the ability to run some reports on demand or create new reports easily? At present, there is a large market for these types of systems, and you may find some improvement options that you didn’t know before.
Rely on your staff and consultants to determine the criteria you should use to judge your project and evaluate new options. Do you need to make safety data sheets (SDSS) more accessible to employees? How robust and user-friendly are your search tools? Decide what’s most important to you, and then review your choices.
Check the accuracy of your data
With or without direct access to your lab space, you can still audit your chemical products inventory with decent accuracy. Work with the person responsible for overseeing each space and have them compare the content on the QC inventory report with the content on the storage location they know.
Most lab technicians and scientists are well aware of what materials are in their area and can report details of chemicals. That may have been added or removed without being reflected in the inventory system.
Check the data
If you have access to your laboratory (but can’t continue to work normally). This is a good time to schedule a full reconciliation of your chemical products inventory. Whether you’re using a spreadsheet or a complex lab software program.
You should have people check your entire space and actually inventory it. A program that uses barcodes on your chemical bottles can make the process faster, less intrusive and cheaper. This is especially true if there is a built-in feature to support reconciliation tasks (which you can find when evaluating lab software options and partners).
Development work aids
Once you have completed the listing software program and compared it with reality, you may find some loopholes in the data. Ask questions and try to answer – at what stage of your process does inventory begin to decompose? Maybe you don’t have a formal process at the beginning.
Word of mouth training may work at the beginning, or in a very small list, but to some extent, a formal process and job support is necessary to maintain process standards and hold people accountable. Have extra time in the office or at home and use it to make your chemical products inventory program as good as possible.