Inventory Management with Dynamic feature for Reagent Depletion from Assays Performed

I currently work in a lab that is looking to up their game on inventory management. We have an inventory smartsheet that gets updated after technicians manually check inventory in lab and update the sheet. Naturally, reagents get missed and our smartsheet becomes inaccurate very quickly. I'm trying to figure out a way to set up individual protocols(containing information as to which reagents would be used and how much volume would be used) on a different sheet that an assay scheduler can select which would automatically deplete the inventory. Example would be an assay that uses 3 separate reagents all with specific volumes is assigned for us to perform. Once the scheduler signs off on the report, he/she can select the assay performed and it will automatically deplete inventory from the sheet for those three reagents.

Answers

  • Update. We thought about a barcode system, but due to safety reasons, phones cannot be brought into labs to scan the barcodes. Can scanners other than the app be used?

  • KPH
    KPH ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I believe the barcode scanning option in the smartsheet app will only work on a phone. However, a barcode scanner is essentially just an input device like a keyboard and can be attached to a computer in just the same way. The scanner will scan the code, convert what it sees into a text string, and input that text string. In other words, if you grab a bag of chips with a barcode on it, you can type the numbers that appear at the bottom of a barcode, or use a scanner to scan the code and input it - the result is the same - the same string of numbers. The barcode itself is essentially just a special font. You can convert what you entered from the chip bag back into a barcode by changing the font to a barcode font.

    So while you won't be able to use the smartsheet barcode scanner features without a phone you can certainly input barcodes using a plug-in scanner.

    When creating your inventory you can test it out by typing numbers into wherever you want barcodes to go, and check that works, and is easy for the team to navigate to the field and then enter.

    As an aside - if you are buying a barcode scanner things to look for are:

    • the trigger modes - some require you to press a button, some sense the barcode, some are continuously scanning (pick something suitable for your needs)
    • get one that is omnidirectional so you don't have to hold the barcode straight
    • look at how close or how far away you can be from what you are scanning
    • if you have a mix of small things that you can pick up and large things, a portable scanner with a stand is a blessing - you can scan the small things more quickly by moving them under the scanner in the stand in quick succession and then pick it up to scan the larger items
  • Lee Joramo
    Lee Joramo ✭✭✭✭✭

    As @KPH mentioned, USB connected bar code scanners act like a keyboard. I will add one more thing to their excellent advice.

    Good bar code scanners are able to be configured in a variety of ways. For example, do you want the scanner to add a "TAB", "CARRIAGE RETURN", "LINEFEED", or ""CARRIAGE RETURN & LINEFEED" after each scan.

    Or do you want to add a Prefix or Suffix to the scan.

    These are typically configured via barcode scans. For example see the documentation for this Honeywell scanner:

    https://prod-edam.honeywell.com/content/dam/honeywell-edam/sps/ppr/en-us/public/products/barcode-scanners/presentation/hf680/documents/sps-ppr-hf680-2g-en-qs.pdf?download=false

  • We are using plugin scanners (also laboratory settings) and they do work. However, when scanning the vial barcode (specimen number) Smartsheet does not point (display the row on the sheet) to the scanned specimen number if that specimen number is NOT visible on the screen. The specimen number is listed on the sheet but lower/higher on the list. It would not even highlight (not founding). If the Specimen number that was just scanned is on the list and visible on the computer screen it gets highlighted (intended outcome).

    If using the Smartsheet Mobile App and scanning with the phone, Smartsheet will find the specimen anywhere on the sheet and display that row.

    Why would that simple functionality be not available on the computer?