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.
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.
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!