Getting your lab set up on new software may seem daunting, especially for larger labs. This guide provides a step-by-step list to get you up and running on ChemInventory quickly and easily.
We've designed ChemInventory to be as easy to operate as possible - that's why there are no separate substance and container databases for you to worry about. We maintain an extensive substances database, linking compound identification information with chemical structures. The containers in your Inventory are linked with one of these substances when they are added.
If a substance is not in our database, such as an in-house made compound, it is added to a private list which is only accessible to your group. Users can then choose to draw a structure if they wish, which enables structure searching for this compound.
All containers in your Inventory are stored together in groups, known as Locations. When searching for containers, these locations are shown to your group members directly in search results. ChemInventory is container-centric - each physical container in your lab has its own record. Accordingly, when adding multiple containers of the same substance to your inventory it's important to add each container separately. This enables single containers to be moved between locations without affecting other containers of the same substance. It also allows them to be disposed of when empty.
With that quick introduction over, let's get you set up. Follow the four-step list below and you'll have your inventory going in no time.
1. Create custom fields
We recommend you first create any custom fields you require for your inventory. ChemInventory's Custom Fields let you store anything that isn't covered by our default fields.
These might include Expiry Date, Product Code or Lot Number for chemicals. The format of custom fields can be Text, Number or Date. All custom fields can be searched by users.
Custom fields can be created from the Inventory Management page. Just click on the Custom Fields link under the Container Tools menu.
2. Import your current inventory
ChemInventory has an Excel import tool that enables you to add containers to your Inventory by uploading a spreadsheet to our servers. To do this, you may like to use our template.
It's important that each container in your Inventory is imported as its own separate record. Each line in the template corresponds to one container. We've added some example containers to the template to help you get started.
Any custom fields you have can be added as extra columns in the spreadsheet.
During the import process, your locations tree will be created automatically by our system. Breaks in the tree (between parent and sub-locations) are denoted by the '>' character in the 'Locations' column in the Excel file.
Once you've copied in your data, head to your Inventory Management page and click on Import from Excel (under the Inventory Tools menu). After navigating to your template file and clicking on Upload, you'll be kept up to date with import progress. As a rough time guide, it normally takes a couple of minutes to import 500 containers.
3. Organize your inventory's locations
Our import tool will create locations using the information provided in the Locations column in the spreadsheet. Any containers without a value in this column will be allocated to the [Unassigned] location.
To create new locations or to rename, move or delete existing locations, head to your Locations page and click on the Edit button. From here you can make any changes needed to your Inventory's locations. Any of your group members who are Order Handlers will also be able to edit locations.
4. Create accounts for your group members
You can create Inventory accounts for each of your group members from your Inventory Management page. Each user is assigned one of four account types:
- Group Administrators have full administrative access to your Inventory. They can add/edit user accounts, reset passwords, change inventory sharing options and more via the Inventory Management page.
- Order Handlers can do everything an ordinary user can do (see below), but they can also mark orders as having been placed (through whichever ordering system your organization uses) or mark them as arrived. If your group members usually purchase compounds themselves then this is the best option to use.
- Users have the second most basic account type. They can search your Inventory, add, move and dispose containers, edit container information and request orders. They cannot mark orders as placed or arrived.
- Read-Only users can only view information in your Inventory. They cannot edit any data, request orders or add containers.
On account creation, a password is generated automatically for the account and sent to the email address provided. Users will be prompted to change this password after signing in the first time.
You can change a user's email address, account type or password from your Inventory Management page at any time.
That's it! You're now set up and ready to use Inventory in your lab. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.