Webinar Chemical Inventory System - Video Transcript
Sasha Laferte: Hi everyone and welcome to today's webinar on chemical inventory. My name is Sasha and I will be your moderator for today. Before we get started, I just want to give you a brief overview on what today's webinar is going to entail as well as a short introduction for our speaker today.
Today’s webinar will educate attendees on best practices for chemical inventory management. Our expert speaker will address a variety of topics to help you ensure your chemical inventory program is safe and compliant while optimizing for ease, simplicity and cost savings.
During this webinar you will learn regulations to watch regarding chemical inventory and management, organization tactics to optimize for safety and simplicity, types of software that you can use to improve your program and case study examples of chemical inventory overhauls and simple tactics you can use to implement at your organization.
At the end of this webinar, there will be a Q&A. You can ask questions by typing them into your chat pane on the right where it says Questions. So, just to reiterate that nobody needs to raise their hand or anything like that, you can just type your questions and I will ask the questions to Schuyler. So, even if you have a question throughout the webinar and you want to ask it during the webinar, I will ask it to Schuyler after. So feel free to do that.
If your question goes unanswered in the Q and A session we will be sending out an answer to all questions via email after the presentation. And in addition to the questions, all attendees will receive a recording of the presentation and a copy of the slide that we used to today.
Today's speaker Schuyler Stewart has worked at Triumvirate Environmental for five years. He is currently working as a life sciences operations manager managing operations for Triumvirate's life sciences, biotech and pharmaceutical clients. Schuyler has managed the role and implementation of many chemical inventory programs at clients from world class enterprise pharmaceutical companies to biotech start-ups. So, with that, I'm going to turn it over to you Schuyler.
Schuyler: Thank you, Sasha. As Sasha just mentioned, I'm Schuyler Steward and I'll be presenting on this chemical webinar today. I'm answering any question following the webinar that you might have. Let's get started.
First, we're going to cover the learning objectives of today's webinar. First we're going to cover the regulatory drivers behind the establishment of chemical inventory. We'll also going to touch on the financial and operational drivers that you may have as an organization for implementing chemical inventory.
We'll talk about how to improve onsite safety and compliance as well as reduce cost through the use of the chemical inventory. We'll take a look at the chemical inventory life cycle and where you may fall in that life cycle. Then, we'll cover planning and strategy development to optimize your chemical inventory programs and make sure you're getting the most out of them.
Sasha: So, we're just going to quickly launch a poll for you guys. If you could answer that, we just want to get some information on how you guys think your chemical inventory programs are going right now. So if you could just respond with, “How confident are you in your chemical inventory programs, 1 being the least confident, 5 being the most confident.” That would be great. Sorry for those of you guys who already responded and meant to do it in the opposite order. Oops. Alright, great.
Thank you guys for responding. It looks like most of you guys feel you’re somewhere in around three. Three is the most common answer. So that's pretty average answer we get for question like this. With that I'll turn you back over to Schuyler. Thanks Schuyler.
Schuyler: No problem. Thank you, Sasha. So the first thing that we are going to cover is we're going to explore the regulatory landscape a little bit. There's four major entities that require that you have a chemical inventory onsite. The first area is EPCRA; that is Emergency Planning Right to Know ACT which falls under the EPA; your hazardous communication which falls under OSHA; the CFATS or Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards which is under the Department of Homeland Security; and then local authorities such as local fire department or local waste water agencies.
So, we're going to explore EPCRA first. It's codified 4 CFR in parts 355, 370 and 372. Respectively, they discussed emergency planning and notification, hazardous chemical recording, intoxication chemical release repording. Basically what the outline is it outlines the obligation of state and local planning for chemical emergencies and the process of providing notification of emergency releases and addressing the community right to know about hazardous chemicals.
What that boils down to is essentially four major provisions that basically revolve around – that go to you and why you need the chemical inventory, I guess. So attached to this presentation you have what's called the list of lists. It's the EPCRA, the circular and the clean air act lists of list so it's essentially a giant list of a lot of chemicals and their threshold quantities. So at any point you have any of these chemicals onsite and excess of this threshold quantities you will be required in some [00:06:02] provide reports or documentations that fall under EPCRA.
The four major provisions are emergency planning which is basically what it sounds. It’s the setting up in emergency plan and review local emergency planning community or the LEPC. There's emergency release notification which is working with the LEPC and also state emergency response commission particularly in regards to extremely hazardous chemicals which there's a list of those in the area as well.
And then, there's hazardous chemicals storage reporting requirements which is reporting to the SECRC or your LEPC and specifically two-tier reports which we’ll get into in just a moment. And then a report that has its own section, the toxic chemical release inventory or the TRI as what it is commonly referred to.
Diving into but not too deep into sections 311 and 312 community rights to know requirements. Section 311 requires the submittal of MS gases or chemical lists to the SERC or your LEPC and/or your local fire department, depending. And then, section 312 requires the submittal of annual Tier II reports. Just to talk about the Tier II reports a little bit, I always like to give a disclosure about those because there's a number of criteria that can take you into the category of needing to provide Tier II reports and some of those can be outside of just a general lab or building chemical inventory.
There’s a lot of things that you need to take into consideration because it encompasses your entire campus or your entire property. So things that often keep people the Tier II reports that they don't think about right away as to how much oil you have on site, how much liquid nitrogen you're using on site and also how much sulphuric acid you have on site.
The sulphuric acid usually is in the form of lead acid batteries that are commonly found in IT servers. Those are just a few things that should take into consideration that might get you into the Tier II reporting.
Here we provided an EPCRA inventory checklist. This is literally just a list of a bunch of things that you're going to want to go through and check off and make sure that you have readily available in case you ever need to provide a report or any documentation under EPCRA. That's the Tier II or the TRIs. Just to remind you that the Tier II reports are due annually by March 1st and the TRIs I believe they're annually as well and I believe it's July 1st is the deadline for those. Those are the two deadlines to keep in mind with these reports.
I'm not going to go through all these things. It's good to kind of reference this slide and go through actually check off and make sure you have all these stuff readily available. Robust Chemical Inventory will have this stuff on hand to make it a lot easier for you to produce these reports when needed. Yup, and I think that's it.
Now, we'll talk about, OSHA real quick, OSHA and Employee right to know. The haz com standard and the lab standard basically say that, “Employers must develop systems to identify chemicals and to associate hazards in the workplace which employers which must be communicated to employees.” There's no actual regulation under OSHA that says you have to have a chemical inventory.
They just deemed that you are able to accurately provide chemical or hazardous awareness to your employees and it's really, really hard to do that. It's almost impossible to do that without having a full chemical inventory, full accurate chemical inventory because how else you're going to know what's on site and what are the hazards associated with the chemicals onsite and how would you communicate those hazards to your employees. Again, it's not a regulation. But it's near impossible to do quite up to OSHA standards without a chemical inventory in place.
We’ll talk about the clear water act and your discharge permits. You're going to have to apply for, if you haven't already, you're going to apply for National Pollution Discharge list Elimination System permits or your NPDES permits under the EPA. You also have to apply for discharge permits to your local publicly owned treatment networks as well as any other local authoritative bodies over the water waste.
Massachusetts in particular has the MWRA, the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority. Every state has its own. Some states offer it under the EPA but most have their own body. It’s important to investigate and look that up. But they'll inquire about specific chemicals depending on your area but some, including the MWRA, require a full chemical inventory list be submitted with your permit, with your permit application. It's having a full chemical inventory can be very beneficial in this process as well.
We'll talk about Flammable permits. Facilities must maintain flammable levels at or below permit levels. Each data is different but state building codes will provide specific parameters on the volumes and locations.
Flammable materials, those are called control zones. What you can store on each control zones depends on the flammable class as well. In some control zones you're going to have quite a few not too flammable materials, a lot of combustible materials [00:12:22] hash points you'll be able to store much more of that in a control zone than you will of the highly flammable materials, If you're FDA Class 1 flammable materials, a lot few of those will be able to be stored within a control zone.
So when you’re setting up and providing your fire department for this permit, you have to keep full inventory of all the flammables that you have onsite. They'll review the permit application. And a lot of times the fire chief or any other representative will come out to your site and do a full fire hazardous assessment of your facility including investigating what chemicals are actually on site, how they're being stored before they approve your permit. Be prepared of that as well.
This moves us into the Department of Homeland security and the CFATS, the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standard. This came along in November of 2007 following a series of terrorists’ attacks on domestic soil. The purpose of this rule was to really gain information about facilities possessing specific chemicals and how to identify high risk chemical facilities based on the homeland security risk based performance standards with the overall goal of improving security of high risk chemical facilities.
Basically they have, the Department of Homeland Security has yet another list, a list of chemical of interests or COIs. And depending on whether not you have these chemicals of interest, what the quantities are, how you're using, how you're storing them, you may fall into under the CFATS for some reporting requirements. Basically, how they determine that is they look at the quantities again and how you're storing and how you're using them and what's called the screening threshold quantity. If you have chemicals of interests used in a particular ways or stored in a particular way that exceeds this threshold, you may have to provide site security plans or site vulnerability assessments to the Department of Homeland Security.
A great way to find out, if you don't really know if you’re CFATS, is to go to the Department of Homeland Security website. We’ve included in the link below and actually look at their security chemical security assessment tool or their SCSAT. It's a very effective tool, really helpful. It guides you along to figure out whether or not you have to provide a report or documentation. And then if you do have to, it gives you the templates and tools that you need to provide the correct information.
Even if you don’t think you fall under CFATS, it's good to check it out just to make sure that, because you might receive chemicals someday that might kick you into this category if you don’t provide the documentation so it's always good to take a look at.
Moving away from the regulatory requirements and talking about organizational drivers. The first organizational driver that your company may have is purchasing. Having an accurate chemical inventory and having one that’s set up with procurement options can help you prevent over purchasing by your staff through their own channels or chemical purchasing methods.
If you have a lot of people using different methods of purchasing chemicals onsite, it can really get out of control and you don't know how much material you have on site. The more materials that you have onsite that you don’t know about, the more unsafe and uncompliant your site will be, and the more expensive it could be down the line because you have to make sure to dispose of those chemicals so procurement can be a huge driver behind setting up a chemical inventory.
Along similar lines are research and development, R&D and the chemical sharing between lab staff. I'm seeing this quite a bit in my experiences where you have a lab and you have two researchers within that lab doing similar projects or at least using the same chemical and they could be using small volumes of extremely hazardous substance or extremely expensive substance and they could be using it for separate things but they will use a little bit and then they have to discard off the bottles.
They're both using a little bit of the chemical and they're disposing of it. So you have twice as many chemicals as you need where it can be beneficial that if they’re start the project, they can look out on the chemical inventory see if anybody else has used this chemical and if they have more authority if they can use that. They can really cut down on some waste and prevent you from paying for the material, not once but usually two to three times since some of these chemicals can be twice as expensive to dispose of as it is to purchase them.
Similarly tied into that is manufacturing and the manufacturing driver behind this. I experienced this personally at no more than a few months ago where we had a facility with a warehouse that was ordering a bunch of ammonium sulphate in sixteen gallon containers and they're palletizing them, getting them in by the pellets. And each month they would order three to four more. But we noticed that going through the waste, they were getting one to two at the end of each month to dispose of. So going back we asked, “Why is this happening?” They go, “Well, we didn't know that they had all these out there. We thought they were using it this fast.”
But manufacturer, the manufacturing facility wasn't actually using all that. They slowed down production but there were having gotten all the way back to procurement so they kept ordering at the same rate without knowing that all of these materials was just going to disposal. So then end up paying for that material a few times over. Just being aware of what's in your warehouse and what you have on supply can be very beneficial to you and very cost effective.
The last category is of course environmental health and safety. For a few reasons reporting, which we talked about a little bit earlier, providing accurate reports to stay in the federal bodies and then, also for general compliance onsite and safety. The bottom line is the more chemicals you have the more compliance and safety risk there is on site. If you can streamline that and have as few chemicals as possible, you can increase the overall compliance and safety of your site while still continuing with your everyday business.
Once again we look at the chemical inventory life cycle now. The life cycle as I see it is essentially this. You need to start by identifying the purpose and the reason behind setting up your chemical inventory. Why are you setting up a chemical inventory? What do you need from it?
Then, once you identified that you can identify the process of how you're going to run the chemical inventory. Then, you move into the launch of the inventory, the day to day management. And then, finally reviewing your chemical inventory program and ensuring its optimization and ensuring that it is in the end it's achieving its overall purpose, the original purpose that you set out for. And if not, you can tweak it and manipulate it as the need be.
So, let's talk about the purpose a little bit for a second. The first thing you're going to need to do is to create a chemical inventory project team to identify the project or the program goals and objectives. Typically, this team only consist of a few people.
It’s really important to take in the concerns and the input of all the important stakeholders either sites but you want to keep the decision making team relatively small, usually less than five people. I find that if there's more than five people on the decision making team, on the executive team as I like to think of it, it can slow down the progress and become more [00:21:29] anything else.
While it’s important is to get the input of all the important and involved stakeholders, keeping the team a little bit on the smaller side is usually pretty beneficial and keeps things moving pretty quickly.
But with the project team like we've said before you need to decide what will this inventory will be used for and why are we using it. What is the overall purpose and goal behind setting up the chemical inventory?
And then, you need to assess what are the needs and expectations of our stakeholders. What is everyone else trying to get out of it and how does it benefit them? If you can relate it back to your stakeholders how it's going to benefit them, you're going to need a lot more back from them, a lot more production out of them and they’ll help your chemical inventory project get out of the ground and eventually ensure the success of the program.
So, once you established the purpose and the reasoning behind your chemical inventory, it's time to work out the process of how you're going to setup that chemical inventory and how you'll use it. Three things you need to take a look at are the types of chemicals that you're going to be inventorying, the logistics behind setting it up and the department and the users that are going to be involved.
The types of chemicals with that I just mean it, it goes back to why you need it. Are you only going to be doing flammable materials? Are you going to be doing just hazardous materials? Do you want hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals? It all depends. There's a whole spectrum.
But to discuss the logistics and the departmental users a little bit, I just want to give you an example of a recent chemical inventory that I set up for a fairly large pharmaceutical company up here in Boston.
It's a pretty large company. We have 10 buildings that we are working with. It's very decentralized. We are trying to figure out how we're going to get all of the chemicals entered into the system as they came in. Our first thought was, let's get down to the loading docks. Get the trucks as they come in. Get everything entered into the system and we should be good. We found out that that wasn't going to work. We found out that there's a lot of buildings so it's hard to be in all the places at the same time.
A whole lot of the deliveries happened to be at the same time. We found that a lot of the chemicals were getting biased somehow. So, we have to figure out how we were going to get all these chemicals in one place. Essentially, we're looking for the bottle neck where all chemicals go before they span out over your site.
We figured it out, it was the company had a warehouse down the road where all chemicals were delivered first handled by shipping and receiving and sorted out to where it needed to go. And then, it was sent out on company vehicles to all these buildings. We set out folks every morning out to this building and to this warehouse and they will spend an hour or two over there just inventorying the chemicals, getting them loaded up into the system.
It's really beneficial because the shipping and receiving guys, once we got over there, they already have it segregated out. They have taken all the chemical packages, set them aside for us and wait for us to go through and [00:25:04] scan into the system before sending them out and spreading them out over the campus.
That's just an example working with a decentralized facility and working with multiple departments or users and getting them involved and getting them invested in what they're doing. It ended up working out very well. It was not looking too good for a few minutes there but we ended up having a pretty successful process out of it.
Once you've fully assessed the process of how you're going to do things and what are the company pit falls that may come up with in the future, it’s time to look at the chemical inventory software. And now everyone's probably, “Okay, good finally we're talking about the chemical inventory software,” because that's the point behind all this webinar.
But there’s a reason why it comes so late in the presentation and that's really because we really want to focus on figuring out why you need a chemical inventory and what you need it for before you select a chemical inventory system.
I’ve seen a lot of chemical inventories fail because companies will just buy a software and then try to figure out what they need it for and try to mould it to fit those needs. A lot of times that fails because we that's not the best system to do what they're trying to get to do. Often, I've actually seen it happen when they spend $50,000 on an inventory system, does all these $4000 problem. They buy one of these top of the line soft wares when really all they needed was a Microsoft Excel spread sheet to get everything that they need out of it.
The first example is of course a Microsoft Excel spread sheet. That’s the most basic inventory method out there but it can be very effective. For flammable permits or waste water permits or anytime you don't have a large amount of chemicals, the Microsoft excel spreadsheet can be a very financially sound option and pretty easily usable option.
The problem is this once you get into more than a thousand chemicals it becomes a bear to work with. Anytime that you've got into the thousands of chemicals, if you’re a mid or larger sized companies not a smaller start up, you might want to take a look into using one of these more robust chemical inventory systems just for the sake of user ease.
On those we have these CISPro, ChemSW and MSDS online. Those are fairly good for regulatory reporting in providing real time chemical hazard assessment. They do pretty good with tracking. It's good, if you have high hazardous materials that's going around in your facility, it can track that pretty well, give you accurate hazardous assessments of where the hazardous are currently.
CamberSoft is another good one. It has good reporting capabilities. The benefit with CamberSoft it has, if you're not familiar with it, it has the advantage of ChemDraw. ChemDraw researches can actually draw in their chemical structures of the chemicals that they're working with and they can file and search for that material by the chemical structure.
If you're going to have a heavy lab base, a heavy research base inventory program this could be a really good offer for you. Lab researchers tend to love it. It's pretty good.
SciQuest specifically ERM and Site Hawk are things that I see pretty often. ERM is enterprise reagent manager. This one is the more robust of the two. A lot of people use this first.
Procurement options. It can link up with Oracle. It can be pretty effective in managing the inflow of chemicals into your facility and streamlining your purchasing. I've seen a lot of success with that down the line. If purchasing is what you're looking for, SciQuest ERM might be a good thing for you to look at.
Then there's your internally developed systems. If you have something that's really specific that you need it for that you're not seeing at anywhere else and you have the IT capabilities and the financial capabilities, it might be good to explore an internally developed system. I just say be cautious with that because it can be a time suck and financial burden if it's not kept in check. Be cautious with that. But it can be very beneficial. I've seen it worked pretty well.
So, again, those were just some of the inventory software that I've seen out there commonly used. I'm not saying anyone of them is better than any of the others. They all have their specific applications depending on what you need it for. Anyone of these can be the best option for you.
Once you've decided on what chemical inventory you're going to use and why you're going to use it and how you're going to set that up, it's time for the launch. When you launch this program you're going to have to figure out the data collection and the management strategy and who’s going to be assigned for those responsibilities of collecting the data and managing strategy of doing all that.
Then, you want to create what we call an inventory map which is basically creating a strategy to collect the data. Again, you need to take another look at what means to be inventoried. This is a little bit more specific than ‘are we doing haz or not haz or are we doing just flammables?’ That's a little bit deeper than that. The biggest thing is all inventorying consumables.
Kits is probably the biggest [00:31:13] topic that I see when we get in these situations and that's the field split 50/50 on whether you have inventory kits or not.
Half people say, “Yeah we want inventory kits because there's often hazardous materials in there and we want an accurate picture of what we have on site of hazardous chemicals at any one time,” which is perfectly valid. On the other side of that is, “It's a consumable product. It is a pain to open it up and get in there and inventory it. It's probably gone in two or three days. So what's the point of inventorying it if we're going to be take of pulling it out of the system in just two or three days? We're going to have a lot of inaccuracies around.”
Depending on how you manage it and what your strategy is you could go either way. I don't have a preference either way. It all really depends on the system into which you're siding up behind it and what you want to do. But be ready to take a look at that because that comes up very often.
You want to create a location guide as well. Where are these chemicals going to be stored and how specific do you want to be in labelling your areas? For small companies you might just say, “Okay we're going to do chemical areas by floors or rooms, labs.” Larger companies you're going to want probably go a little bit more specific on that. You might probably want to get into inside the lab level and get down to benches, cabinets, fridges, freezers, desiccators and be pretty specific with your locations because you have a lot chemicals in those locations.
Then you need to notify lab personnel of the process of what you're doing. Because if they don't know what's going on and they don't know how to use or how to be helpful in the inventory process, they're going to be your biggest adversary in this process and they're going to be actively fighting you about this chemical inventory the entire time and probably not even know it.
Getting them on board and understanding why there's chemical inventory and how it impacts them and what they should be doing can be pretty huge long term. They can be your number one ally for sure in ensuring success of your inventory program. So it's important to have those conversations.
Preparing the equipment and supplies. Again, this is heavily dependent on the logistics of your setup. But you've got to take into consideration, are you going to use barcodes? Unless you're using a Microsoft Excel system, you’re probably going to be using barcodes. Most inventory systems use barcodes now.
You'll need actual barcodes, the stickers. You'll need scanners and you're going to need computers. Often laptops are the best option is the mobile which is pretty good actually to have when you have a larger facility. But how you're going to set that up can differ quite a bit. I've seen labs that have scanners at the end of every bench. I've seen labs that have stationery computer and a scanner just in the corner for each lab. And I've also seen facilities that have contractors or EHS staff or facilities helping out. They will take just a cart for one building and they'll go around the car in the lab and they have a laptop on it and a scanner and barcodes and they'll go through scan things in out and around the labs.
But again, they are all good systems. It all depends on where you set up this. But it's important to think about that ahead of time because the last thing you want is to not have the proper equipment or supplies to run an efficient inventory once you're fully on your way. Because once you start, the chemicals keep coming in. They don’t stop and it can be a pain to get back on track when things. Not having the right equipment and supplies and really slow you down.
Then, you want to create a sustainable plan to inventory new chemicals as it hey arrived on site. This is going back to that bottle neck that we talked about a moment ago. Finding where all the chemicals touch before they get spread out over your site or over your campus is pretty key. Getting an accurate picture of what's coming in is the first step in having an accurate chemical inventory.
So again, the launch and the stakeholders. Again, your stakeholders can be your biggest adversary or your biggest ally so it's important to communicate your implementation strategy to them. The biggest thing is the change of your program. Any change is needed to be communicated. Even though you go through and explain, “This is our chemical inventory. This is how it’s going to work. Everybody got it. Good to go.”
The problem is no matter how good you are there's probably going to be some changes to your chemical inventory. I don't think I've seen one out there that was perfect from the beginning. They're very fluid to changing things. You're going to have a lot of changes along the way. You're going to have a lot of policy shifts and things are going to be done differently throughout the process.
Making sure that the proper stakeholders are updated frequently on how things are done is key. Having a lot of meetings with your stakeholders, making sure that they're using the current methods and not using all policies, is going to be huge in the success of your inventory.
Then trainings, making sure that they're updated, making sure that everybody is getting them especially new people. As your inventory gets going you'll have new people that are introduced to the system months, months down the road, you have to make sure that they're getting the same message that the previous stakeholders received. Because if they come in and they don't receive the proper training, you're going to have new folks just causing chaos in your inventory system and causing a lot of troubles. So it's good to make sure that they're training is up to date and getting communicated right off the bat as people come in.
The overall goal, the overall take on message of the slide, I guess, is consistency and communication will be your key to success.
So we want to talk about managing inventory now. You're going to need a sustainable system for tracking your chemicals not only in your facility, out of your facility but around and through your facility as well.
Scanning your chemicals in, you got to identify the proper parties, proper stakeholders to do that and those maybe facilities folks. They maybe be shipping receiving, they may be EHS maybe a contractor. You have to identify the proper folks to do that and state the final process to scan those chemicals in and get them entered into your system.
Now, you're also going to need people to scan chemicals out. A lot of places that's lab staff, once they're fully complete with using chemicals, chemicals are emptied, they've got empty bottles that are thrown into the recycling bins. They got to make sure that those barcodes are scanned out before disposing of those bottles. Whether it’s the lab staff or whether it's EHS facilities or contractor going around and checking these areas and scanning out these chemicals, somebody's got to be doing it because scanning the chemicals out of your facility is just as important as scanning them in.
If you don't get those out of your facility, your inventory will be inaccurately pretty quick and you'll build up and access of chemicals aren’t actually there and that could keep you in to some reporting or some reporting of regulatory requirements down the road, which you don't need or want.
Also any waste's that going out, any expired chemicals that are going out or anything like that, you want to identify whether EHS or contractors or facility are going to take care of that as well. That's another area where chemicals need to be scanned out.
Then, a chemical inventory reconciliation. This is extremely helpful in managing and getting an accurate idea of what's left in your inventory and then how chemicals are moving throughout your facility. Basically, a chemical inventory reconciliation is going thru and scanning all the chemicals in their areas on recurring periodic basis.
A lot of folks will do this annually. Smaller companies that don't have as many chemicals will do it quarterly. It really all depends. But most people do it annually. And they usually do it if you've got a lot of chemicals on site. It could be beneficial to do it on a rolling annual basis.
For example, if you have chemistry building for January you'll do it for one, two three. And then in February you'll reconcile floors four five and six. And then in March you'll do the bio building floors one two three and so on and so forth. And you’ll do that ton a rolling basis on throughout thru the end of the year and then you’ll start again to the beginning of the next year. Now, make sure that everything gets inventoried at least once a year.
That's a system that I've seen many places and it's very effective. But you're only doing that once a year so you've got to make sure that you're day to day management of chemical coming in and out of the company is accurate as well in order to help that.
In identifying the correct stakeholders and then post data as well, you don't want to forget that you are dealing with potentially hazardous chemicals and materials so you do need to make sure that they have all the proper regulatory training to handle these materials. Because that's something that's sometimes gets missed when delegating responsibilities.
Review and Optimization. You written plans and your training, you want to review as often as you can. Like I said, forming a chemical inventory is a very fluid thing. A lot of changes happen so you want to make sure that your written plans and your trainings stay up to date.
Your onsite chemical management, how you’re scanning chemicals in, how you're scanning them out, what are your reconciliation schedule is. You want to make sure all that is operating as efficiently as possible. Again, a lot of it is site specific and case by case basis but you want to make sure that you're assessing all that on a routine basis to make sure things aren't getting too out of control in any one category.
And the last thing I want to talk about is ordering chemicals. This is something that can get missed sometimes and this can be really crippling to a chemical inventory, especially if you've set up your chemical inventory around procurement. Ordering chemicals, if you have a lot of folks that are ordering chemicals outside of your chemical inventory program, they kind of circumnavigating it and ordering it through their own channels, it can be pretty detrimental because it creates a lot of inaccuracies in your chemical inventory.
If a lot of people – it creates a culture where, “If I need it, that's okay. I'll just do that.” A lot of times it will be contagious and then you got a ton of people ordering around chemicals and then they're essentially the integrity of your chemical inventory is pretty jeopardized and it loses its purpose, really.
So, it's important to keep that in check and make sure that everybody, all the stakeholders involved, all your lab heads know that they need to order chemicals through your inventory or whatever your processes are and make sure they understand why and how it benefits them. And then, you'll get them buying and they'll help you got out. You’ll have a much more beneficial and efficient chemical inventory system.
So, with that I can answer any questions that you have anything specific about reviewing and optimizing your program. Feel free to ask about it.
Sasha: Alright. It looks like you have a few questions coming in. Like I said before, if you want to ask them in the questions pane, feel free to do so and I will moderate them to Schuyler.
Sarah wants to know where can she find the threshold values for reporting for such things as sulphuric acid or liquid nitrogen.
Schuyler: That material should be able to be located in the lists of list that we attached. I think it's attached to this presentation.
Sasha: It's not attached in the presentation but it will be attached in the email.
Schuyler: Okay. In the email you should be able to look through that and you should have threshold quantity used for that listed out.
Sasha: Next question, someone, it's about chemical inventory software, I’m assuming. Injun wants to know if you've seen anything that integrates with SAP.
Schuyler: SAP, not too familiar. What does that stand for?
Sasha: I'm not sure if you want a respond to us Injun, I can ask the question with that acronym. In the meantime, we'll go on to the next question. [0:45:45] wants to know if there's a software available that could integrate procurement inventory tracking and alerting HSE upon reaching regulatory thresholds. They want to save time of employees doing manual inventory.
Schuyler: Yeah, again the experience I have is ERM through SciQuest has a lot of those capabilities we're looking for. It’s pretty robust system. I probably will take a look at that. It will be a good option for you. But again, I will definitely take some time to look at especially each one that we have listed in this presentation to make sure that they're matching up with your exact needs. It sounds like ERM might be a good choice for you.
Sasha: Cool, so Injun, I'm sorry if I'm pronouncing your name very wrong, said that SAP is Software Simulator Oracle. Again his question was have you seen anything that integrates with SAP?
Schuyler: I haven't personally but I'm sure there are a lot of systems out there and I'm not even sure that ERM in particular. I don't know if it's only Oracle that it links out with. It may have the ability to link up with other procurement systems such as SAP. But in my experience, most of the people have been using Oracle and that’s what I see linked up. But, it’s definitely worth taking a look that. I think it pretty have that capability.
Sasha: Great. So the next question. “We are a small company, very small generator. Is it acceptable to have a not greater than inventory and perform annual inventory?” This is coming from Kelly.
Schuyler: Performing an annual inventory is fine. Not exactly sure what you mean by a not greater than, if you mean volume wise that would be fine. But again if you set yourself up for all the corporate state and local authorities and federal authorities you've got all the information for them doing annual inventory should be sufficient. But if you don’t have a lot of chemicals, it may be beneficial to do it more frequently. I don't know if that answers your question or not.
Sasha: Yeah, she said when she says not greater than, she means quantity is not to exceed X amount.
Schuyler: I think it's not X amount. Basically, just get a track of the chemicals that you can't have exceeding a certain threshold. Yeah, that's fine. Though I think the caution on that is looking at other chemicals that you have to stay on top of it and make sure that you're not exceeding thresholds in other areas because then you have to add up into the inventory. So, maybe more work long term to do it like that. But I guess it's kind of situational. It really depends. You can do it. You can definitely do it the way you're doing it for sure.
Sasha: Great. Someone asked there has another software question. They want to know if you know if there are any software systems that help manage chemical inventory when you have a decentralized purchasing.
Schuyler: Decentralized purchasing. The decentralized purchasing can be overcome as long you focus. You just have to focus on; it's not so much the software system but more on the process side of things. So if you guys people are ordering chemicals thru whatever in a couple of different categories you just want to make sure that you can find where all those chemicals are coming in and how to identify those chemicals.
Whether it's coming in shipping and receiving and you get you shipping and receiving folks on board and it will identify chemicals packages as they come in and whose pouring what and setting those aside and inventorying them as they come in. That can be probably the best way of doing that.
Changing the software might not necessarily help because I don't know of any system that can link with multiple procurement programs. It might be something on the process and that you might want to look at a little bit more.
Sasha: Awesome. Next question. Someone wants to know, “What considerations should we make regarding resources FTES to be dedicated to an inventory system like SciQuest? Do you have examples from your previous implementations?”
Schuyler: FTEs I'm not sure what are they referring to.
Sasha: With full time employees, I'm sorry.
Schuyler: Give me that to me one more time so that I can hear it full
Sasha: What considerations should we made regarding resources or full time employees to be dedicated to an inventory system like SciQuest? Do you have any examples from your previous implementations?
Schuyler: As far as [0:45:45] and what they should and how much time they would be spending on it, it really depends. Again you don't want to be extremely burdensome with [00:51:54] responsibilities you're putting on people. But you also need multiple parties involved depending on how your system is going to work. Lab staffs should be very responsible for the chemicals that they're ordering and how they are managing and how they are disposing of them.
Because how they do it affects their jobs and their livelihoods. Because if they're not doing things there's supposed to be and governing bodies find out and fines or suits or shutdown happen, they're not going to be able to do their jobs so they should be heavily involved in that when needed.
Facilities, and shipping and receiving and that type of deal, that can be pretty political. So again just try to get bare investment in that and get to work with them and you don't want to be too pushy and you kind of bend if they can't do certain things.
You really get to work with them to make sure you're not over stepping your bounds and really impeding on their overall ability to do their jobs effectively as well. It can be a pretty delicate system for sure. But it depends on the level of involvement you can use for sure.
Sasha: Great. Next question. Someone wants to know if there's any system out there that integrates secondary late labelling capabilities, allow them to add your custom mixtures based on components.
Schuyler: Any secondary labelling. I haven’t seen any as far as it goes. I think when people create compounds and are using them in the labs for research, I think those, I have seen those get labelled and barcoded once they're made. But I haven't seen an additional secondary barcoding system work in any inventory that I've seen.
Pretty sure you can only have a single identifying number or barcode for chemical. If you're adding something in, you're taking away from two chemicals and adding one chemical into the system from there, I'm pretty sure you can just barcode that and enter it into the system.
But again, you kind of want to watch too because really the volume of the material that you're taking away, are they staying the same depending on the mixture or what? It can get a little tricky so I'd be careful with that for sure. If that's something that you're going to use pretty quickly, it probably isn’t worth inventory because you already have the volumes and the hazards that are associated with the chemicals that you’re taking from. That kind of fulfils your regulatory requirements right there.
Sasha: Okay. Someone asks a question kind of off of that question referring to the secondary labels in question. Susan wants to know if they're labelling with gas pictograms when barcoded.
Schuyler: I haven't seen any barcodes with the GHS labels on them. That’s a good thing to actually research because It could be pretty beneficial having the GHS symbols on the actual barcodes. The problem with that is most people want the smallest barcodes as possible as to not block any vital information that can be on the bottle.
Again, maybe you’re saying maybe having a larger barcode to communicate that information that the barcode might be covering up. I don't know. That’s something that I probably should look into. I feel like a lot of people might need that.
Sasha: Awesome. So someone else wants to know about what you recommend in terms of training lab personnel and just training in general. Who should be trained on chemical inventory and how much?
Schuyler: It all depends on the responsibility of the people that are involved. Definitely you need your heavy chemical users like any medicinal chemistry or anything like that. You can even be trained on other program. It all depends on the degree that you want EHM involved in using the system. All the lab heads should definitely be trained on a lot of the capabilities of the system.
But if it comes down to just the average researcher, they should just maybe have a general awareness training where they know what the barcode is and not to peel or not to take them off or make sure everything has a barcode and that when they go do dispose of chemicals that they take those barcodes off.
I've seen a lot of times a lot of sites that I worked out they keep laminated sheets above their recycling bins so they can take the stickers off throw away the bottle and then put this barcode on the sheet. And then somebody from the EHS or facilities or contractors from the company will come through and scan all those chemicals out. It makes it a little easier form them but they at least have to know why they're doing that, why they're saving the barcode so and then the purchasing aspect too.
You want to get all the labs because individual researchers can order their own chemicals in most places. So it's good to get them involved and know why they need doing the chemical inventory.
Maybe a general awareness training for all lab staff or people handling chemicals is very important. And then maybe a little more in depth training for the lab heads or people that are going to have specific responsibilities that are a little bit a lot more than just keeping the bar codes intact and saved.
Sasha: Great. Thanks. I don’t think we'll have time for another question so I think that’s going to be it for questions. But if you have additional questions or if there things you want get qualified for your specific organization, feel free to send a question on the question tab and we'll get back to you with more specific answer for your organization. Feel free to do that.
And then also if you have a more general question, we will answer all these via email with all the sheets, with all the question and all the answer for today.
So, with that said, Schuyler if you want to flip the next slide.
So I just want to thank everybody for your questions today and thank you for listening in on our webinar. We'll send you an email with a copy of the presentation on with the recording later today.
The email will also have a link to a survey asking you to rate this webinar. We really do take into account all you have to say. We're working to improve our service every week. So, if you guys could fill that out that would be very helpful.
On the upcoming week, you'll also receive an offer for a free chemical inventory assessment of your organization. If you’re interested on that just fill out the form that's linked to an email and we will reach to you privately with one of our experts to come to you and figure things out.
In addition, we have a couple of upcoming webinars. You can view upcoming webinars at www. triumviate.com/trainings/events. You don't have to remember that because I'll send you a link to that also in the email. But we have few including in the GHS and GAP analysis webinar next week.