In a medical lab, keeping an accurate record of inventory items (supplies and equipment), their quantity, and location will ensure that things run smoothly and can prevent expensive mistakes. Some tips below will help you out!
Take Stock of Everything
Whether starting a new laboratory or just simply working to improve the inventory process, you need to take stock of everything to make sure every lab item is accounted for. You can do this the old-fashioned way using a pen & paper/spreadsheet or you can be smart and make use of a software.
Assess the Current Stock
The next thing to do is to evaluate which products are being used daily, in surplus, out of date, or expired, and locations where you lack items. This will help you in setting inventory thresholds and prevent stockouts in your lab.
Product Location and Assignment
Product location and assignment are usually the most important parts to look out for, yet people usually neglect these when managing the inventory in laboratories. Storing products in a way that allows you to locate them among hundreds of other items can be challenging – especially when you have multiple locations.
The easiest way to assign products to locations is by using barcodes. You can assign barcodes to different areas of your storage such as bins, cabinets, rooms, and even vehicles.
- when stocking products, you can create a barcode for each item and scan them to their designated locations.
- when removing products, just scan them out and they will automatically be removed from your inventory.
Barcoding is very useful and intuitive when assigning different products to different locations, and locating those products. But what is the best way to find certain products or items within your laboratory in just one glance? It’s by looking through a visual map with graphical representations of the actual locations in your lab.
- by zooming into a specific location, you will see its contents.
- by selecting an item or product, you will its details and locations across your inventory map.
When you have multiple labs or have a mobile on the go, it’s best to have a system that can help you get accurate and synchronized data from different locations. Being able to transfer products just by dragging and dropping between locations is a plus and a great way to save time and effort.
Challenges in managing a lab inventory are inevitable. What we need is to be smart and adaptable. The old-fashioned way of maintaining your inventory is still a thing but no longer that effective. Inventory Mapping is a brilliant thing that we never thought we needed.
How about you, how do you maintain control of your inventory?