Managing an inventory store that contains 100s of stock requires maintaining a list of details to keep the laboratory business running smoothly. However, recording and managing stock-related data manually is difficult.
While some labs utilise paper records to keep track of their inventory stock data, others leverage excel sheets. Either way, linking relevant data to each is challenging which makes backtracking tough and processing of data even tougher. Whichever be the approach, this data must be appropriately recorded and utilised to maintain smooth operations, better management and more importantly prevent leakages in the systemic process.
Often labs are unaware of certain data handling issues and the leakages go untraceable leading to heavy losses on the business front. Therefore, it is vital for a lab to identify and study such issues associated with the laboratory’s inventory to plan a better system for end-to-end management.
Here’s a list of problems to look at while handling inventory data for your lab and their feasible solutions -
Mismatch of inventory stock in audits
Information mismatching is a common problem that usually occurs when entries are made manually or on excel. Also, having too many excel makes tally absolutely tough. More importantly, mapping stock data against consumption or expiry is a challenging task when done manually; especially for a higher volume. Since the chances of mismatching are more, this not just hampers unused stock but affects inventory cost & expenditures in the long run; leading to unnecessary leakages throughout.
Solution: Audit against system-generated reports
Having weekly/monthly audit reports helps. Although, to generate reports you require a robust lab inventory management system that records and manages end-to-end data through every inventory end - right from stock entry to consumption, purchases and expiry.
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Leakage due to mishandling of stock
Mishandling can be stated in terms of two things that result in leakages in the inventory. This either indicates stock getting spoiled due to expiry since no proper recording was made against the expiry dates of every stock. Or, on the other hand, it can also indicate missing stock due to several reasons since no recording or manual recording is made at consumption.
Solution: User wise stock management details
To keep stock details in check, having user wise stock management details can enable labs to trace leakages efficiently and help them make necessary decisions on how to plug them. Following such an approach, it will also prevent leakages for the inventory in the future. Learn how to tackle major challenges at your lab inventory.
User access control limitations can hamper data integrity
Access control is the key to disabling mismanagement. However, it becomes extremely difficult to tally certain stock-based information like quantitative analysis against value/cost analysis when there isn’t enough data available with a staff. Such data integrity issues impact inventory on the whole causing many other challenges at management.
Solution: Give specific users access to specific areas of inventory management
Having control over user access to specific areas of inventory can resolve such problems and prevent data integrity issues at handling quantity as well as cost well. Usually, to meet such challenges, laboratory inventory software can help as it can provide activity logs against the entire store areas that ease the cross-analysis process for the staff.
More time spend on recording data than managing inventory
Manual entries of day-to-day data for your lab inventory are the leading, potential cause of errors throughout the system. The bigger the lab, the bigger is the inventory that points to an increasing number of tasks for manual handling; thus bigger would be the rate of errors. Moreover, if every data for ‘n’ number of stock is handled manually by your team, it will require more time (man-hours), and more effort to record, manage and process this data to make valuable decisions. This hampers staff productivity in the course of time.
Solution: Use inventory software to manage everything
Having an inventory solution is the key to prevent maximal manual entries rather focus your inventory team on decision making. A system is a testimonial to process daily inventory data into meaningful information in the form of analytics, reports and statistics that can help you have a better understanding of your inventory system on a broader scale. Staff can focus their efforts on studying and utilising such information to plan better inventory management for their lab.
To summarise, use an inventory management software for diagnostics lab that streamlines and leverages your end-to-end data about stock, records consumption in real-time, minimises errors throughout the cycle. An online inventory solution offers dashboards, analytics, useful graphs, stats and helps you process your day-to-day data easily with the help of reports. As a result, you can learn trends across your inventory purchases, stock management and consumption and plan a better strategy to prevent leakages at the most for your laboratory business.