Problem: Did somebody order more dNTPs? Where is the p53 antibody? Every day, simple questions like these disrupt workflow and distract researchers from their experiments. Labs that spend billions of dollars on chemicals, biologics and supplies hack together disparate solutions to their organizational problems using tools such as Excel or Filemaker. Ordering is done with a hodgepodge of email, white boards, or Post-Its. Factor in the increasing competition for grant dollars, growing emphasis on collaboration, and incredible pressure to make discoveries faster, and all that wasted time on organizational issues can be the difference between success and failure.
Solution: Several solutions have recently hit the market to help increase lab efficiency. One such option is the free Quartzy website. The site—www.quartzy.com—offers free laboratory management software to organize and streamline lab processes—making it possible to maintain lab inventory, keep records of orders, and reserve time on expensive shared equipment like PCR machines, flow cytometers, or microscopes—all with a click of a button.
Products such as Quartzy allow researchers to focus on their work instead of mundane tasks, increase productivity, decrease costs, and easily scale from a lab of as little as three people to an entire institution.
Quartzy in particular has four modules to achieve that greater productivity. The Orders module allows for a oneclick interface where scientists can send orders to lab managers (or other administrators) who can quickly and easily act and respond. This module also ensures that the entire lab order history is in one place. And when ordered items are delivered, they are automatically placed into Quartzy’s Inventory module. The Inventory module helps securely manage chemicals, reagents, lab supplies, and even experimental samples. Scientists can see who has what and where it is. It is very easy to start using the Inventory module through the product’s simple way to upload existing inventory spreadsheets. Additionally, Quartzy links with hundreds of thousands of vendor items so researchers can quickly search and place an item into their own inventories. The Facilities module helps scientists manage sign-ups online, get email reminders, and download usage reports for shared equipment like microscopes and flow cytometry machines. Lastly, a Protocols section allows for the group to easily share lab protocols—so everybody is on the same page.
Quartzy is free to use because it generates revenue through its marketplace. Instead of charging the researchers as traditional online lab management tools do, Quartzy charges vendors to host catalogs or sell products on the site. Over 11,000 researchers in both industry and academia currently use Quartzy to manage their labs.
Whether you are looking for help with lab management, project management, hazardous chemical tracking, or data analysis, there is an ever-expanding library of online solutions from which to choose—all designed to help decrease costs and increase the pace at which science is done. The labs that streamline their processes and move to systems like Quartzy could stay a step ahead of the rest.
Orders can be accepted or denied by the PI or lab manager using the Quartzy website.