Lab supplies

Off-topic conversations and chit-chat.

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A lab doesn't have a working LIMs system. What they do have are "logbook" spreadsheets that they fill out with sample prep info. So you're supposed to make sure that for each sample, you're recording the lot number of filters and drying agent and which pipette and which NIST traceable thermometer you used (in each case, written on the item with Sharpie), etc ad infinitum. So what do busy people do in that situation? They fill out the fields that they care about (name/weight/etc) and just copy down whatever the last person wrote for which supplies were used. And then the notebook audits happen, and it is discovered that someone recorded the wrong lot# of TCLP jugs, and the staff gets scolded for it... but go right back to doing the same thing all over again.

There's got to be a better way. One compatible with human nature would be nice. Have you seen any? Got any tips on setting up a system where it isn't so tempting to just phone it in?
One thing that can help is to disable the copy and paste function in the spreadsheet and lock out all but the fields that must be filled in. Doesn't prevent someone from typing in the same old numbers but does prevent the lazy way of just doing fill down or copy down.

Another thing to do is have frequent internal audits, where a manager comes by and does a double check a few times per week. If people know someone is watching they are more apt to take the extra step of looking at the lot numbers and such and entering them.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
2 posts Page 1 of 1

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