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Computerized laboratory inventory management

The efficiency of day-to-day inventory control is essential for any pharmaceutical production and laboratory. The conformity of this fundamental part of every pharma business does not only protect the organization against potential legal problems, but ensures the safety of the end consumer, which affects both reputation and revenue.

Traditionally paper-based inventory control is challenging and impractical from many different viewpoints. Manual labeling and record-keeping are among the most common causes of inconsistencies.

When considering pharma materials at the warehouse stage, inventory processes are usually well established. Each batch is being carefully inspected and documented to facilitate further monitoring.

If we talk about pharmaceutical substances at the production stage, inventory tracking can face many issues. The details on the current state and statuses of the used reagents can be hardly obtained from stacks of paper, as there is usually no specially designated technician to oversee this process.

The problem with maintaining paper-based documentation

Despite modern computational technology evolving rapidly, pharmaceutical companies are still struggling hard with adopting innovational strategies and abandoning traditional paper-based supportive documentation. Preserving outdated, inefficient practices is one of the main reasons mature organizations are suffering significant losses.

The most common drawbacks of paper-based inventory management include the following issues:

  • Limited communication and collaboration
  • Reduced productivity
  • Compliance issues
  • Security issues
  • Reputational damage
  • Financial losses

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Streamlining efficient inventory management

Digitized laboratory inventory systems, introduced into everyday practices, provide for better communication between departments, data integrity and protection, compliance with legislative requirements, and efficiency. While critical inventory details are being manually transferred, the process remains slow and inefficient.

The features of such turnover systems should include:

  • Product tracking
  • Reception, identification, validation and FIFO/FEFO tracking
  • Auto fill-in of labels in compliance with CoA and other regulatory instructions
  • Immediate notifications about quarantining, release and product rejection
  • Requirement database to ensure appropriate storage and transportation
  • Automatic recognition of routine, traditionally paper-based supportive documentation

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Manual labeling and record-keeping to stick to conventional inventory management provide for serious risks. We see the solution in introducing digitized laboratory inventory systems with implemented OCR technology.

By sticking to standard, paper-based bureaucracy is one of the main reasons for significant financial losses. Utilizing custom-built, computerized solutions with integrated optical character recognition technology improves workflows, eliminates potential business risks, and provides for profitability.

Virtual laboratory inventory management in detail

The suggested virtual laboratory inventory system is a business solution to facilitate inventory management. The software can automate day-to-day processes by leveraging optical character recognition technology smoothly integrated into other operational systems.

With VLI, pharmaceutical companies can automate the labeling and monitoring of stocked reagent containers. The VLI helps track critical parameters and notify designated technicians about issues, which need to be immediately addressed.

The concept is simple:

  • The invoices and certificates that come with the pharma materials get scanned and digitized
  • The invoices, product certificates, as well as other accompanying documents are arranged by their critical parameters (serial number, delivery date, expiration date, warehouse location)
  • The system automatically updates the details on the exact amount of each stocked product every time it is being used
  • The system instantly updates the statuses of each stocked reagent to notify designated technicians about materials that need to be urgently replenished, quarantined, released, or rejected

The solution can also help handle:

  • Certificates of Analysis (CoA)
  • Certificates of Conformity (CoC)
  • Reagent lists
  • Reagent registers
  • Volume registers
  • Sampling records
  • Test records
  • Stability records
  • Calibration
  • Validation

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The suggested virtual laboratory inventory system should include these features:

  • Easy-to-follow workflows
  • Multivariate data import, export, and update
  • Smart search
  • Support of mobile devices with no-internet data exchange
  • User authentication
  • Data integrity and eligibility

And help pharmaceutical companies to comply with the following standards:

  • The Good Storage Practice (GSP)
  • The Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
  • The US Pharmacopeia
  • The European Pharmacopeia
  • 21 CFR
  • 42 CFR

Virtual laboratory inventory management: Investment justification

Pharmaceutical discovery and development, sanitary practices, inventory control, and logistics are expensive. So, switching to another business strategy must provide perceptible improvements.

The costs of maintaining traditionally handwritten supportive documentation are usually hardly measurable. The expenses include several important variables, like time spent writing, cutting, pasting, and sharing, as well as mandatory validation processes.

More and more mature pharmaceutical companies are going digital purposefully to remain highly competitive. In today’s fast-paced world, automating repeated routine processes is key.

By adopting OCR technology, pharma companies can enjoy cost efficiency, eliminated risks, and profitability. Optical character recognition technology smoothly integrated into laboratory inventory management guarantees numerous business benefits with little capital expenditure and reduced human error.

Final words

If kept traditionally paper-based, no matter the reason behind that, inventory control is slow and inefficient. The information may be untimely entered, incorrect, ambiguous, or missing.

The automation of certain routine processes might facilitate inventory control and improve business efficiency. Routine automation improves communication between departments, eliminates both reputational and financial losses, and provides for productivity and profitability.

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