Streamlining Lab Operations: Overcoming Inventory Procurement Management Challenges

Ilya Letnik, PhD

Ilya Letnik, PhD

Avantor VWR IM Manager


May 2023


In the dynamic environment of a laboratory, efficient inventory management & procurement is crucial to ensuring smooth operations and timely research progress. However, labs often face challenges related to ordering products, maintaining inventory levels, and integrating suppliers within their inventory management systems, LIMS, and Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs). We explore common issues labs encounter in inventory management and highlight the advantages of integrating a product supplier within the inventory management system and ELN.

Challenges in Lab Inventory Management:

Inefficient lab inventory procurement management can cause significant problems in the day-to-day running of a laboratory impacting its performance, reputation, staff satisfaction, and research results. For example:    

  1. Inefficient inventory planning: Stocking up to meet planned lab activity is always a challenge. Overstocking is costly but understocking could have even worse implications as a result of delayed lab work and inefficiencies. 
  2. Manual processes and errors: Relying on manual data entry and paper-based systems can increase the likelihood of errors, making it challenging to track, manage and order inventory efficiently.
  3. Time-consuming workflows: Labs may spend excessive time on inventory-related tasks, such as searching for products, manually recording usage, and reordering items, diverting valuable resources from core research activities.
  4. Lack of real-time visibility: Without real-time visibility into inventory levels, labs may struggle to make informed decisions, leading to delays in experiments and potential setbacks.

    All of these challenges are solved by implementing a smart lab inventory management system like Labguru LIMS. which is integrated with the lab supplier providing streamlined lab operations. 

Advantages of Supplier Integration with Inventory Management and ELN: 

  1. Streamlined ordering process: Integrating a product supplier within the inventory management system and ELN simplifies the procurement process by enabling visibility and seamless ordering of products directly from the platform. Scientists can browse available items, check stock availability, and place orders efficiently, reducing the time and effort spent on manual ordering.
  2. Real-time supplier’s inventory tracking: viewing  real-time Supplier’s  inventory data, allows for efficient planning by minimizing overstocking while avoiding stock  unavailability
  3. Centralized procurement data: By integrating the supplier's product catalog with the inventory management system and ELN, labs can maintain a centralized repository of product information, including specifications, pricing, and availability. This eliminates the need to search for product details from multiple sources and improves overall data accuracy.
  4. Enhanced efficiency and cost savings: Integration streamlines inventory management workflows, reduces manual errors, and enables efficient resource allocation. Labs can optimize inventory levels, minimize wastage, and avoid unnecessary costs associated with overstocking or rush orders.
  5. Seamless data exchange: Integration facilitates seamless data exchange between the inventory management system, ELN, and the supplier's system. This enables automatic updates of inventory levels, order statuses, and delivery information, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information across platforms.

Avantor integration


Efficient inventory management is vital for labs to maintain smooth operations and accelerate scientific research. By addressing common challenges such as inaccurate inventory levels, manual processes, and time-consuming workflows, labs can streamline their operations and focus more on core research activities. Integrating a product supplier within the inventory management system and ELN brings numerous advantages, including streamlined ordering processes, real-time inventory tracking, centralized data management, and seamless data exchange. The integration enables seamless data exchange between the inventory management system, ELN, and the supplier's system. This automation ensures that inventory levels, order statuses, and delivery information are automatically updated across platforms, reducing manual errors and improving overall efficiency. These benefits empower laboratories to optimize their inventory management, reduce costs, and enhance overall efficiency.

To learn more about how Labguru integrates product ordering by Avantor - contact us