Science Stores receives inventory system upgrade

Brock’s Science Stores in the Faculty of Mathematics and Science, which supports researchers across all Faculties for their research inventory needs, is implementing a new system to upgrade inventory tracking.

The new system will be used to issue all stock requests and allow for an easily updated inventory of lab chemicals.

“The change allows for better tracking of chemicals and flammables for health and safety purposes and to ensure compliance with fire code and insurance,” says Josh Sekel, Senior Project Manager, ITS. “The software upgrade will provide better information for first responders in the case of an accident.”

Launching Monday, July 5, the new inventory module will appear in Brock’s Workday software and has three primary uses.

It will be used by researchers to request chemicals from Science Stores, by Science Stores to order and maintain stock, and by University officials to provide real-time information to emergency services, should that ever be required.

When an item requested is initiated by a research or lab assistant, it is sent to the account holder who then approves the request.  Once this request is made, the researcher does not have to input the items into inventory, the system handles the order automatically.

“Both the initiator and account holder are notified of any changes simultaneously,” says Irene Palumbo, Science Stores Assistant, Receiving and Waste Management. “We are looking forward to the upgrade. Change can be uncomfortable, but I feel this is a positive change and once we get used to the new system, it will be a benefit.”

Palumbo and Alison Smart, Science Stores Assistant, oversee Science Stores day-to-day operations.

“The emailed request forms (or occasionally, paper forms) are still going to be used for orders,” says Smart.  “People outside of Science Stores will only being using the quick inventory (QI) process for requests of items that we stock.”

Under the current system, Smart performs manual monthly inventory charges via journal entries. After launch, approvals will be done in real time instead of at the end of the month.

An up-front order process is key to having an accurate inventory count in the lab and has the benefit of not having to recall the order and then also approve the transactions many weeks after the transaction has occurred.

After go-live, any new chemicals purchased or ordered from Science Stores will be added to the system and included in the inventory for each lab. Over the following months, each lab will be visited, and an inventory done of the chemicals already in stock.

Each lab will be provided with a poster detailing the quick inventory issue process. Training sessions will be available when the new system goes live. A new web page will house all technical and process information needed.

“I commend Josh, Irene and Alison for the tremendous efforts they have made to have the system operational in such a timely manner and for doing their utmost to consider the needs of the researchers at Brock,” says Cheryl McCormick, Associate Dean of Mathematics and Science and Manager of Science Stores.

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