RFID Based Asset Tracking aids in GLP/GMP Regulated Lab Management

Being responsible for the equipment in a GLP/GMP regulated lab is no easy task. Several compliance requirements have to be adhered to. AssetPulse’s RFID asset tracking solutions have greatly helped streamline the equipment management of such labs.

lab equipment tracking software

AssetPulse Real-time Asset Tracking Software

Our real-time asset tracking solutions provide an accurate inventory of all equipment across geographic locations. It can detect addition or removal of components in qualified systems like HPLCs. The Lab Manager can be alerted of such movements, thereby triggering a re-qualification process automatically. Failure to re-qualify can have serious technical and financial repercussions.

Before the use of RFID, the equipment databases were woefully out of sync with reality. This resulted in Finance and QA departments to initiate audits often, in order to update their databases. Small teams of scientists/researchers would need to be assembled, to scour the labs looking for equipment, severely impacting their overall productivity.

AssetPulse Asset Tracking Software Maintains Centralized Database of Asset Information

Maintaining accurate inventory of all the equipment and keeping their details up to date can be a full time job. Details include location, manufacturer, model, serial number, receive date, deployment date and all maintenance related information including calibration/maintenance schedules, non-routine repairs, performance verification and revalidation dates. The AssetPulse database allows all such detailed information to be maintained in one central database, accessible to all concerned players including R&D, Quality and Finance personnel.

Further, the database allows all relevant documents to be stored together with the equipment details. IQ/OQ/PQ documents, standard operating procedures, warranty certificates, calibration certificates can be made easily accessible through the database. This allows audits to go a lot quicker, instead of having to sift through a myriad of documents in order to locate the appropriate pieces of paper.

Thus, the use of RFID can effectively bridge any visibility gaps with respect to Asset Management in Analytical labs, hospitals and in pharmaceutical manufacturing supply chains.

Where Is This Piece Of Lab Equipment? I Need To Use It Now

Scientists and engineers move equipment around because there isn’t enough of each type of equipment. It may not be prudent for the lab to purchase too many of the same type, because the lab equipment manufacturer is regularly releasing new products with advanced features. Lab budgets have to be judiciously structured to allow for purchases of the new equipment. This, of course, results in a constant shortage of some type of equipment or another. So, it’s not uncommon for equipment to be moved between labs.

Lab Equipment Tracking Software

Scientists and engineers are focused on the task at hand. When they need to use a specific piece of equipment and if it is not readily available at their lab, they will not think twice about visiting the lab next door or in the next building, pick up the equipment and move it into their lab with the honorable intention of returning it when they are done. More often than not, the intent does not translate to actual action. Having solved the issue at hand with this ‘borrowed’ equipment, they move on to the next issue, forgetting to return the equipment.

The next time another engineer/scientist needs the use of the equipment, they go look for it in its original location. Having not been able to locate it, they consult the lab manager responsible for it. After doing an extensive search, the frustrated lab manager expands the search to nearby labs and may ultimately locate it. If unluckily, the borrower had moved it out to a lab in another building, the search can be arduous and expensive. It could involve multiple people’s time across several teams. There is of course, the actual impact to the projects involved, which can easily translate to product release delays which is directly relevant to the company’s bottom line.

Passive Fixed RFID Reader

With lab equipment tagged with RFID tags, they can be tracked as they exit or enter labs. Lab managers can be notified when some equipment is detected leaving a lab, but not entering within a specified time period. Expensive equipment can be watched even more closely. With AssetPulse’s RFID solution for lab equipment tracking, customers have been able to reduce their missing asset occurrence by over 90%, which has appealed to the Directors and VPs of the organizations!

How AssetPulse Lab Equipment Tracking Solution Came to be?

We don’t envy lab managers of high tech companies. They are in charge of the inventory of labs chock-full of test and measurement equipment – probes, analyzers, meters, signal generators, prototype boards, computers and the list goes on. Often their labs are spread across floors, buildings, campuses, cities and even countries!

lab equipment tracking solution

Equipment is moved from one lab to another on a regular basis – engineers and scientists just want to get their job done – they move equipment and prototypes around to conduct their experiments and development projects. Inventory managers need to keep abreast of the whereabouts of every asset, and track which team is using which asset and if it was indeed still being used. Further, the current whereabouts and status of these assets needs to be gathered without impeding the activities of the scientists and technicians.

Just when the inventory managers think they have a handle on where all their equipment is, a scientist or technician will complain to them that they are not able to do their job because he or she can’t find a specific probe or analyzer. And so the search begins once again.  In certain critical cases they even end up buying new equipment to not jeopardize the project at hand. This unfortunately, is not a unique problem confined to one company – we hear the same refrain from every lab inventory manager we have spoken to.

Having worked with several such lab managers across several companies, we have now honed our lab equipment tracking solution to satisfy these users. This use case lends itself to the employment of various auto-ID technologies including active RFID and/or passive RFID. The solution can include just mobile scanners or can be enhanced with stationary readers.

It is always rewarding, at the end of a deployment, to see the lab manager get excited to locate a hard-to-find probe in just a few minutes, when they previously spent hours or days looking for them!

Tired of searching lab equipment? We have the solution. Click here for a free demo!