Organizations spend millions of dollars on test and measurement equipment in labs and manufacturing. Regardless of which type of lab it is – Electronics, Pharmaceutical, Biomedical or any other engineering or scientific lab or which type of manufacturing – Industrial or Clean rooms, issues of equipment traceability remains the same. Well run organizations have a pool of equipment that can be used by multiple departments or divisions. Further, they want to leverage high value capital equipment across organizations, even though they might reside in a specific area. Equipment managers, with their myriad of responsibilities, face challenges tracking the lending out of equipment. Honor systems where the borrower details what is being borrowed including the type of equipment and its serial number have good intentions but often fail in execution. Few organizations can afford to have someone manually check-in and check-out equipment. Even manual systems with an actual human managing the process are not foolproof because engineers and scientists are often borrowing equipment after hours or on the weekend.
Of course, the most annoying and time-consuming aspect of this scenario occurs when the equipment is coming up for calibration, safety inspection or preventive maintenance. The person who has the unenviable task of physically locating the equipment is to be pitied. Organizations spend tens of thousands of dollars of labor searching for equipment. However, the bigger exposure for the organization is the risk of past due equipment being used in experiments, projects or manufacturing. There can be very severe consequences to this including the invalidation of man years of research work or millions of dollars’ worth of manufactured product being destroyed.
Biomedical labs and Clean Rooms have further requirements where they not only need to ensure traceability of the equipment, but they also need to track what experiment or project a particular piece of borrowed equipment was used in. So, additional information needs to be captured at the time of borrowing.
The AssetGather Self Service Check-in/Check-out system for test and measurement equipment offers a simple, automated system to address these challenges. The system quickly and accurately accounts for checked out equipment by not only reading all the tagged equipment placed on the checkout counter, but also allowing for additional details to be provided at the time of checking out. Additional details could include project and experiment related information. Check-in process is similarly automated.
The AssetGather Check-in/Check-out (CICO) solution:
A multinational, multi-billion dollar Biotech Company suffered severe inefficiencies due to a manual process for tracking borrowed equipment. Engineers and scientists failed to record the events and the company lacked traceability of their equipment. The lab managers were overwhelmed and were always behind on calibrations because it took an inordinate amount of time searching for calibration-due equipment. With the installation of the AssetGather Check-in/Check-out system in multiple geographic locations, and with hundreds of employees using the system, the organization has seen a significant increase in visibility of the equipment and has an accurate record of the users who have checked out the system and their associated projects.