Conquering Sample Inventory Management

In the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields, sample inventory management is critical to the success of any operation. Data integrity starts with physical sample accountability. Storage locations, proper cataloging, and information management are the foundation of success in both research and biotechnology production.

Because maintaining precise data is absolutely necessary in sample inventory management, most organizations rely on information system based inventory control software. These applications range from the very simple to the highly complex. Most have barcode-based individual item ID numbers and maintain such core information as:

  • Source/Owner
  • Sample Type
  • Chain of Custody Transaction Data
  • Location (including multi-site capability)
  • Age/date of entry into storage

As with all IT based inventory control solutions, sample inventory management systems are based on data tables. While capabilities vary from system to system, software developed for this function tends to either be custom designed or have customizable fields that the administrator of the database can define.

Some systems are so comprehensive that they will maintain full supply chain visibility, including shipment tracking numbers and real-time routing data.

There are many sources for sample inventory management tools. Some companies have pre-made products suitable for enterprise-wide launch, while others will design a custom Warehouse Management System designed for your particular company.

The key is balancing cost with capabilities. Different software and software companies have different capabilities regarding importing old data systems, integration of data input devices, and supply chain tracking.

As with any automated system, start with the basics of your product trail and ensure that the system can replicate all the processes and forms currently used.

Although some companies will tout that radical change produces radical savings, the training curve and personnel aspect of a foreign system can create real problems for your sample warehouse management system. Find the system that best reflects your practices, and you will be glad for the decision.


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