Supplies and consumables are all the things the lab needs to execute its scientific work. They are a hugely diverse set of materials, ranging from pipette tips to specialty gases. Supplies and consumables are often paper, plastic, glass-based materials, or chemicals that are used during experiments. Once the experiment is complete, they are either incorporated into the experimental products or disposed of through the lab’s waste stream. Many instruments have specific requirements for supplies and consumables to be compatible with how the experiments are conducted. For a list of laboratory supplies and consumables manufacturers, see our online directory: LabManager.com/supplies-consumables-manufacturers
8 Questions to Ask When Buying Supplies and Consumables:
- How much is needed?
- Are there more cost-effective alternatives?
- Who else can source the materials?
- How much will it cost?
- Should you buy in bulk at a lower cost and then store the rest?
- How frequently should you reorder?
- How should you dispose of these materials after the experiments are complete?
- Is your lab complex enough to warrant dedicated inventory management software?
Reducing Your Lab’s Plastic Waste
Laboratories generate a disproportionate amount of waste for two main reasons: (1) energy consumption from all the ventilation systems and equipment, and (2) plastic waste generated by single-use consumables. To cut down on the waste your lab generates, consider replacing single-use products with multi-use alternatives where possible and recycling the remaining plastic waste.
Using Cloud-Based Inventory Software
If you’re considering implementing cloud-based inventory management software, do research on the reliability and uptime of the service. It is vital that the service is available 24/7 and that your lab’s data is properly backed up.