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

lab equipment tracking software

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 locations.

lab equipment tracking software

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 and/or validated 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 logistical, technical and financial repercussions.

Several groups or departments within the organization are interested in knowing the whereabouts of the equipment. They include not only the actual users of the equipment – R&D personnel or cleanroom manufacturing personnel, but also other departments like Metrology or personnel who are responsible for calibration or preventive maintenance of the equipment. Each of these groups is looking for equipment at different times of the equipment’s’ lifecycle. Tracking compliance documents related to the equipment is also a time-consuming task. Often, the documents are stored in a separate physical location and are subject to the normal woes of searching for misplaced documents.

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.

Equipment qualification results in several sets of documents to be generated that are roughly slotted into three categories:

  • Specification – Documents specifying the equipment from the user and manufacturer’s perspective, including the URS (User Requirements Specification), FRS (Functional Requirements Specification) and DS (Design Specification)
  • Protocol – These encompass the procedures stating how qualification is conducted including test procedures, operating ranges and acceptance criteria
  • Report – Include the Traceability Matrix and Summary Reports
  • In the Specification group, the written document includes the critical attributes for the equipment from the user’s and manufacturer’s aspects. User Requirement Specification (URS), Functional Requirement Specification (FRS), and Design Specification (DS) are in this group.
  • In the Protocol group, the written procedures state how the qualification will be conducted. This may include the test units, test procedures, critical test parameters, operating ranges, sampling plan, and acceptance criteria. Installation Qualification (IQ), Operational Qualification (OQ), and Performance Qualification (PQ).
  • In the Report group, the written document reports the qualification activities and results and traces back to the test items with their specifications/ requirements Traceability Matrix, ™ and Summary Report.

Once Validation is complete, the equipment has to be regularly maintained including undergoing calibration and other preventive maintenance procedures. The AssetGather RFID system also helps personnel to locate the equipment when it comes time for calibration.

 The AssetGather database allows all relevant documents to be stored together with the equipment details. IQ (Installation Qualification)/OQ (Operational Qualification)/PQ (Performance Qualification) 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.

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

Lab Equipment Tracking Software

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

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!

 

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RFID Solution Customized for your Industry

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