Chemical Inventory Management Best Practices for BIOVIA CISPro

Posted on Lab Informatics. 6 February, 2019

Companies that use chemicals in a lab or their manufacturing process need to effectively manage those chemicals to control costs and enhance safety. Companies in regulated industries also need to comply with numerous federal, state and local regulations covering chemical purchase, use, transportation, storage, emergency planning and disposal. Given the ever-present risk of inspection by either regulatory agencies or regulated customers, it is essential for regulated companies to create an effective system for maintaining safety information and up-to-date inventories for chemicals.

Many organizations still track chemical inventory with basic paper notebooks or spreadsheets, or with difficult-to-use legacy systems that were developed in-house. Such systems do not effectively support accurate and up-to-date chemical inventory data, which can result in unnecessary duplicate ordering, excess purchasing (“safety” stock) to ensure necessary materials are on hand, high disposal costs, and disruption to your business when the necessary chemicals are not available.

Poor management of chemical inventory can in fact have a significant impact on operating costs. The reality is that every organization incurs costs for equipment, materials, labor, liability, safety training and compliance efforts at every stage in the chemical inventory management lifecycle. Beyond basic tracking of chemical inventory, there are literally hundreds of complicated inventory management processes that serve to optimize logistics and deployment, replenishment, disposition and forecasting.

Industry leading organizations are significantly reducing risk and costs by implementing chemical inventory management systems that allow for operational optimization. In this blog, we will discuss best practice recommendations for chemical inventory management and describe some of the features of the BIOVIA CISPro Chemical Inventory System that allow these recommendations to be put into practice.

Best Practices for Chemical Inventory Management

Best practices in chemical inventory management takes full advantage of the people, processes, and technology involved to drive operational excellence and risk mitigation. Some best practice recommendations for chemical inventory management include:

  • Identify your inventory system components and optimize them
  • Use your system to manage and mitigate the quantity of chemicals on-site
  • Optimize chemical safety and inventory data
  • Align with regulatory requirements from EPA and OSHA, as well as any state and local requirements
  • Develop the ability to access current safety data sheet (SDS) information in real-time
  • Identify and eliminate any chemical safety issues
  • Enhance process efficiencies by streamlining lot tracking and qualification
  • Automate regulatory reporting
  • Automate audit trails
  • Quantify inventory management costs
  • Reduce inventory management cost

In order to align with these best practice recommendations, it is imperative for organizations to implement an integrated, centralized chemical inventory management system. A good chemical inventory management solution acts proactively to supplement lab processes instead of waiting for input. It will facilitate effective implementation of the best practices listed above and address other problem areas, allowing the organization to maintain accurate chemical inventory information in real-time and make the best use of all chemicals in all facilities.

Part of best practices for chemical inventory management is also facilitating adoption of the system. The reality is that getting scientists and other personnel interested in using a chemical inventory system is not necessarily easy. And even when this goal is accomplished, you must work to eliminate noncompliant usage.

A best practices solution should be easy to learn and use and training requirements should be minimal in order to ensure adoption. Towards this end, the project team implementing the system should configure and integrate the software with the user in mind: the process to pull items from inventory should not be complicated, key items should not be hidden, reports should be automated, triggers should be created to send an alert to the responsible person when inventory is low, the system should provide seamless integration with other systems in the organization, etc.

Corporate culture will need to evolve to accommodate the new system. Don’t expect the new system to conform to your existing workflows. With the implementation of a new system, new capabilities will be available, and workflows will change. Expect this and plan for effective change management.

BIOVIA CISPro Chemical Inventory System

The BIOVIA CISPro Chemical Inventory System is a comprehensive, web-based, best-in-class solution for multi-site tracking and managing laboratory supplies and chemicals over the full material lifecycle. By barcoding chemicals upon receipt, CISPro allows tracking of all the chemicals in your facility in real-time – you can track chemical receipt, sample verification and approval, lot release, threshold levels for compliance, re-labeling, requisitioning, dispensing, expiry, storage and container deletion.

CISPro also has features that support role-based user permissions and security, complete archiving and versioning, complete audit trails, remote inventory control, automated email notifications, report generation, quick access to hazard information in case of an emergency, and much more. Whether accessing the system from a mobile device or a computer, CISPro provides an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface with powerful features for editing, search & retrieval and reporting.

CISPro also offers a variety of integrations and modules:

  • Integration with any laboratory informatics application of the BIOVIA Unified Lab Management offering like ELN, Compose and Capture etc.
  • Integration with 3rd-party laboratory informatics solutions like ELN, LIMS or LES
  • ACD for CISPro Module enables integrated searches of commercially available chemicals based on different search criteria including chemical structures
  • Fire Code Reporting Module for hazardous materials reporting
  • Regulatory Lists Module integrates with 3E’s Ariel regulatory compliance tools
  • SDS Provider Module integrates with SiteHawk’s SDS Management Services
  • Integration with Scitegrity for identification of controlled substances based on structure

By going beyond the minimal requirements for a chemical inventory system, CISPro allows company personnel to focus on managing the products and processes that drive your business instead of just managing the chemical inventory.

Benefits of an Integrated Best Practice Chemical Inventory Management System

As a lifecycle-oriented Chemical Inventory Management system, CISPro provides numerous benefits beyond those incurred by basic inventory management. Some of these include:

  • Helps minimize the number and amount of chemicals stored
  • Helps minimize waste generation and controls waste disposal costs
  • Streamlines critical lab activities such as batch processing
  • Facilitates budget preparation and planning by maintaining information on usage patterns, age, shelf-life and cost
  • Provides quicker access to in-house materials through a shared inventory solution
  • Allows regulatory compliance to be built into company workflows and business processes through integration of the system into overall IT infrastructure
  • Simplifies the audit process by allowing automated report generation
  • Enhances accessibility of safety data by making it available in a web browser with only a few clicks
  • Facilitates user adoption with an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface that is consistent from site to site
  • Enables integration with future technology innovation with open architecture
  • Enables risk mitigation strategies for managing hazardous materials on-site
  • Keeps management apprised of chemical inventory costs with timely reporting
  • Reduces labor costs by increasing overall laboratory operational efficiency

Conclusion

While simply knowing which chemicals are in stock and where they are located can reduce regulatory scrutiny and address management concerns, a state-of-the-art chemical inventory management system like CISPro can significantly reduce costs and enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness.

One of the keys to getting the most from a good Chemical Inventory Management System is to implement the system with user adoption in mind. The project team should conduct a thorough Business Process Analysis in order to create a set of optimized system requirements that will guide the implementation. Depending on the number of sites involved and the integration requirements, an architectural assessment along with a roadmap to deployment may also be necessary in order to ensure a successful implementation that drives maximum business value for your organization.

Astrix Technology Group has over 20 years of experience facilitating success in laboratory informatics implementations. As a BIOVIA partner, Astrix offers increased value to customers through specific design, implementation and/or integration services leveraging BIOVIA applications and software. We help enterprises build a scalable, integrated, and supported laboratory informatics application landscape.  BIOVIA’s leading infrastructure, coupled with the services expertise of Astrix, provides our customers with the foundation, they need to accelerate success both on-premise or in the cloud.

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