Ewing Biotech and Custom QC Inventory Management
The Ewing Biotech and Custom QC group of MilliporeSigma/Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany performs a variety of techniques ranging from bacterial growth to molecular, immunological, and basic chemical analysis, as well as customized QC work for customers. Safety and ISO14385 certification require the lab to track current chemical inventory as well as to dispose of expired reagents on a monthly basis.
With approximately 2,500 items in stock, monitoring the status of every item in inventory was a time-consuming, manual process that required the attention of multiple employees. One particularly challenging area was the 4C walk-in cooler. Each month, two individuals were assigned to check a portion of the reagents in the cooler for expiration dates. Each reagent had to be checked to verify it had not expired, which took about an hour per person standing in the cooler.
Manually looking for expired reagents in multiple freezers and refrigerators posed other challenges as well. If the door was opened too long, the temperature would drop, potentially negatively impacting heat-sensitive reagents. In addition, chemicals and supplies were not always reordered when consumed, resulting in work stoppages and increased data delivery times.