Automated Inventory Management: How to Streamline Chemical Inventory
Staying ahead in the chemical inventory world means embracing change. Inventory management is always in flux, with new methods for organization appearing all the time. Environmental health and safety updates also mean you need to always ensure your workers have recent training.
What if there was an easier way, though? One where you can handle your chemical inventory without worrying about human error?
Read on to find out how automated inventory management is the low-stress process of the future when it comes to inventory options. Learn how using centralized systems, supplier management, and chemical SDS can boost your daily work. It’s time to discover a more practical solution to your organization’s inventory problems.
Basics of Chemical Inventory Management Streamlining
In today’s world, the need for efficiency is an ever-increasing demand to ensure a high ROI in all work. At the same time, it can be difficult to meet the strict regulatory standards that shift based on updated laws every year. Automation offers a solution to this by removing the human element from the system.
When utilizing a computer-based process, you can reduce the number of manual errors you might see, as well as reduce any safety risks. This can help you in meeting compliance challenges you face by providing clear steps that align you with regulations.
In the face of inefficiency, such efforts reduce the inaccuracies you might expect from traditional methods. Besides better safety, you can also experience significant cost savings by optimizing all of your processes. This helps you reduce the amount of waste produced, thus ensuring the best use of resources.
The State of Automated Inventory Management
It is easy to see that, with these benefits, automated inventory systems are the way forward. This explains why many organizations in the industry are pivoting toward using it in their workplace.
With the use of fast and simple electronic systems, managers can receive real-time data on their inventories. They can also use processes such as data analytics to make future predictions. This can help to ensure a company does not face any bottlenecks as they have everything they need in their inventory at any time.
Many groups are even exploring other technology integrations, such as:
- The Internet of Things
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cloud Computing
- Scalable and customizable systems
- Remote monitoring
- Automated alerts
- Device integration
- Predictive Maintenance
The future appears to be digital, and if you do not embrace it, you will remain behind.
Industry Challenges With Automated Systems
There are still a few issues that organizations need to solve, though, before they can utilize automation to its full extent. They include:
System integration and staff training. Those who use the digital inventory will need to understand how to do so, which can create some early difficulties. There will also usually be a period of transferring data to the new system and working out any bugs, which can impact both speed and morale.
Workforce shift. Even if you complete employee training, many of your workers will not have expected to perform their new role. Moving from manual record-keeping to more analytical roles may demand larger changes.
Streamlining the Chemical Inventory Process
An automated and centralized system can reduce what would otherwise be a complex process down to a much simpler format. With a single, digital, source of truth, you ensure that the problems of misrecorded paper documents are a thing of the past.
Using a Centralized Inventory System
Chemical inventory is bound by strict regulations. These demand things like real-time tracking, assurances of safety, as well as many other limitations.
Not having a good handle on the details of chemical inventory can lead to dangerous circumstances. In some cases, it may even result in environmental incidents. This means you must handle chemical inventory with accuracy and visibility.
Automated systems enable real-time inventory updates, allowing you to always keep track of where things are. Not only this, but you can see who removed inventory as well as when you can expect more. It can offer a line of responsibility you can follow in case of possible problems occurring.
Integrating Supplier Management
Many automated inventories allow the linking with suppliers’ systems. As such, you can see things like:
- When your supplier has the inventory you need
- Real-time tracking of chemical transportation
- How to request more of a specific chemical
In many cases, you can even set up a system to automatically reorder inventory when your stock gets below a specific level. You do not need to worry about running out and can rest easy knowing this bottleneck is no longer likely to occur.
Integrating Chemical SDS Management
Whenever someone plans to interact with a specific chemical, you can check if they already have training in handling it. If not, you can pass them the appropriate safety data sheet (SDS) to empower self-learning.
Not only this, but you can also have the assurance that you will have passed them the latest version of the sheet. Inventory management systems can update their SDS software to match the most recent versions. They can even confirm whether a worker has studied the latest version before allowing them to check the chemical out.
Ensuring Regulatory Compliance With Automated Tools
Aligning internal regulations with evolving standards allows for simple processes and fast output. You can also rest easy knowing you will not need to worry about safety audits when they occur.
This is not only true in the United States, either. If you have workers who travel for their roles, you can meet global standards of legality and safety with an automated system. It can ensure you do not act in a way that is against local mandates.
How Streamlining Inventory Processes Boosts Compliance
An automated, streamlined inventory allows you to have the latest data on all chemicals you might deal with. With the most current information on such materials, you can ensure you adapt fast to regulatory changes.
You can also adjust your processes to fit the latest versions of safety requirements. For example, you may need to have more information on an individual who signs out a quantity of a chemical. If so, you can update the system to request this data when the person checks the chemical out.
Advanced Chemical Inventory Software Features
Several other features exist in chemical inventory software. Each one offers unique benefits that can ensure you streamline your chemical handling processes.
The Benefits of Offline Backups
It can impact your ability to continue working if you do not have up-to-date information on the chemicals you currently hold. Losing that data may mean you need to take a manual audit of your existing inventory.
By having daily, or hourly, backups as well as a method of updating them to the latest data, you can ensure you do not fall behind in this way. In an industry facing more frequent cyber attacks, as well as the ever-present danger of system failures, this could be a lifesaver.
Multi-Location Chemical SDS Access for Streamlined Safety
Allowing for access to SDSes from multiple locations reduces the need for physical documents. You can have the assurance that those handling the chemicals have seen any recent SDS updates, no matter where they are. You can also have visibility of whether people have the latest copy, as well as the training they need.
Mobile Solutions for Desktop-Free Access
On top of having desktop computers for the update of your inventory, you can investigate integrating your data into the cloud. Workers can then update their inventory from other devices, such as their phones or tablets. This reduces the overhead of needing to maintain physical computers and gives everyone easier access to the system.
These applications also often have an advanced and high-quality UX. Alongside good training, this can help your workers track chemical inventory more easily. They can even record updates and move on without it taking as long.
Balancing OSHA Compliance and Efficiency
By using automated systems, you can track specific compliance requirements. For example, you can see if people have received the appropriate documentation for every chemical they handle. You can also put tools in place that allow them to handle risk assessments or risk mitigation strategies with ease.
When you use a system that runs on the cloud, you can also create, store, and retrieve any such compliance-related documents on demand. This can help you out either in an audit, during litigation, or in any other situation that demands fast retrieval.
Optimizing Safety and Efficiency in Your Chemical SDS System
Automated inventory management is here to stay, and it is only going to improve over time as it becomes a necessity to stay ahead of the game. It can ensure you not only meet your safety and compliance goals but do so efficiently at the same time.
Here at Kelleher, Helmrich, and Associates, we can help you leverage this inventory solution to get the most value for your company. So, contact us to let us know what you need and we will help you upgrade your chemical inventory system today.