Inventory and Ordering:
The most common inventory/ordering system for startups and small laboratory businesses involve some type of Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application. Often, these spreadsheets contain lookups and internal programming that makes tracking and ordering inventory more convenient. A typical example of an Excel spreadsheet may look something like:
Where you list your purchase orders, per vendor, with a general item description, on a tab labeled P.O. Log.
Various tabs in the spreadsheet can have lookups, where you fill in one item, say a part number for example, and vendor, vendor contact, item price, item description, and more, can be automatically filled in:
This is an example of a purchase order that can be quickly and easily filled out by just adding in your part numbers for your supplies and reagents. This then can be saved and emailed to the purchasing authority at your company. The Vendor Name, Address, Phone, Email Address, Contact Name, Fax No., Account # and Item Description will instantly be filled in by looking into other spreadsheet tabs (Vendors List, Running Lists of supplies and reagents, a “Supplies” sheet, and more, to find the appropriate information.
This makes ordering and tracking for the individual, fairly painless, unless you’d like other people in the company, who may require similar reagents, supplies and equipment, to access the same information, instead of re-creating the process, and needlessly duplicating effort, supplies and reagents.
To increase efficiencies and economies of scale, you’d like to have the more people participating in the ordering process. By doing so, you’d get better pricing, if you’re going to use certain materials, in a certain period of time. By tracking usage, you could order the “right” quantity and save, even if ordering a smaller amount costs more, you’d save due to the avoidance of spoilage due to reagent or supply expiration.
Inventory/ordering/supply level consolidation enables:
- Less reagent spoilage
- Better pricing
- Item/equipment standardization (where possible) – allowing a failsafe: Sharing of supplies between departments.
- Allows a continuation of services avoiding the cost of operational failure.
- Lower Overall Costs
One must consider critical supply disruptions and reagent expirations – as the cost of abrupt production outages could have catastrophic effects on a small fledgling company.
In addition, by shopping different catalogs, for the same items, you’d generate supplier competition and competitive bidding for your business.
One such software application that provides this type of service can be found at: www.quartzy.com
Quartzy.com is an online, cloud based solution to your Inventory/Ordering needs.
- Having a purchasing agent in charge of keeping track of expenditures, the approval process can be funneled through that one person.Also, when ordering, the various departments of the lab can see what has been ordered, where it is being stored, and find out if the supply that is kept on-hand can be shared between the different departments.
- Easy setup of inventory and ordering: By adding an item to your inventory:
You can easity add single items, or you can add many items by cutting and pasting the appropriate fields in your spread sheet directly into Quartzy by uploading a “Quartzy” generated spread sheet:
- An example of such a spread sheet might look like this:
- One can edit and customize the fields to accommodate their Excel spread sheet by creating or choosing the appropriate headers on the window following calling for Excel spreadsheet:
- This would allow you to cut and paste from existing Excel spreadsheets directly into Quartzy.It is important though, to always paste “text” or Value fields into the Quartzy generated spreadsheets, as it doesn’t recognize any special formatting that may be present in the Inventory spreadsheet. You can paste “Values or Text” by using the paste feature found in Microsoft Excel: