Lab Efficiency

4 Common Lab Supply Receiving Problems and How to Solve Them

If you’re in the life sciences industry and want to improve productivity, reduce costs, and speed time to market, there’s a surprising process that needs your attention — the lab supply receiving process. Whether you’re re-stocking commonly used consumables or procuring study-specific specimens, there are many process improvements to be made through automation, consolidation, and streamlined workflows. Receiving cycle time directly affects key study management performance metrics such as turn-around time (TAT) of laboratory results, so the receiving process deserves your attention — now.

Receiving Problem Receiving Solution
Manual receiving process requires scientists —  frequently check with receiving via phone call or email to determine if order has arrived. Automate receiving process so scientists are automatically notified when items are received and where they can be found.
Inconsistent shipping information on purchase orders (POs) means that items may be delivered to an incorrect or inconvenient location within the company, resulting in confusion and/or additional transport time and expense. Consolidate and automate the lab ordering process so that the pertinent shipping address is automatically linked to the scientist requesting the items.
Item receipt notification emails lack pertinent information, requiring the lab to do additional work to determine which items have actually been received and for which studies. Ensure that email notifications clearly list item number, PO number, item name, item description, and other mutually agreed upon necessary information.
Process to reconcile goods received with purchase orders is convoluted and delayed, often taking place weeks or months post-receipt, resulting in errors and re-work. Automate receiving process to streamline receipt verification, PO reconciliation, and invoice approval process. Streamline workflow so that lab managers are only involved in parts that directly pertain to them and delegate remainder to receiving, procurement, and/or accounts payable.

A recent study by self-service lab supply digital marketplace ZAGENO found that biopharma R&D, lab supply backorder rates for biopharma R&D increased 5x between Q4 2019 and Q2 2021, product lead time increased 200% between 2019 and 2021. Compared with several years ago, it takes significantly longer to get the supplies your lab needs in the door. By tightening up your receiving process, you can get some of that time back.

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