I am trying to use Quartzy-a free online inventory and ordering system. It doesn't integrate with a barcode system but I don't really need one. There are a number of features that I like and you can add fields to personalize it. I am specifiacally using it for the teaching labs in the chemistry department. I need to keep track of about 900 chemicals and some of our research faculty are trying it out.
When you say terrible, what do you mean? I'm just curious if your system is actually worse than the system that we have that was purchased. I can't imagine it's that much worse.
About 12 years ago we purchased the CHIM system (it is way out of date now, but really, I still use it; it works fine for us). It allows us to have all of our chemicals in a central database location, and to be able to run queries on those chemicals. I like it, it's a good system to have, and we have never had issues with it. I have gone through several computer upgrades with no ill effects (it still works). I even deal with the fact that Sigma was bought out by Aldrich (or vice versa, I don't care really). It's not that difficult to deal with.
Our system was not terribly expensive. It required buying a barcode reader, a barcode printer, and the software for a single computer license. I am able to export an excel file, and I had a senior computer science major write software to display the excel file via a web browser (for queries and such). It actually works well, given the age.
I find that we do not even touch the capabilities of the software. From an EPA standpoint, it's good to have. We have had inspections, and people ask me if we have an inventory, and they ask how many P-listed chemicals (or whatever) we have on site, and I can tell them. It does show you are proactive and have thought about your inventory if you have some sort of system to monitor it. But I do feel one could come up with a way to make their own. Barcode technology isn't that complicated, so if you wanted to, you could print your own (on an inkjet printer using standard avery labels), and generate your own system. But if you don't have time, you can purchase a small system for less than $2000 (with everything).
The process of going through your entire inventory and putting a barcode on every bottle is enough to show that you have inspected and looked at every chemical. It's a good management practice, so some sort of electronic inventory system can only be good.
On 2/5/2013 7:28 PM, Strode, Kyle wrote:
We are using a self-built Excel spreadsheet that is terrible. As a smallish private college with 1500 students, we have only around 1800 chemical entries, and one main storage location along with four minor locations.
How much does this commercial system cost?
Does anyone have a link to the company's website?
I'm very interested in learning more.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
1601 N. Benton Ave.
Helena, MT 59625-0002
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