3.01 Add an Item to Inventory
Items can be added to inventory individually using the Add Item to Inventory option described below or via the bulk import using our Inventory Import template. There are standard fields for each item, but Lab Managers can also add custom fields based on inventory type.
Adding an Individual Inventory Item
Click on Inventory on the main menu as shown. Near the top of the Inventory page is the Search Inventory window, and the links: Add Item to Inventory, Import Items, and Export Items. Note that only users with the role of Lab Manager will see the Import Items link.
[Screenshot showing menu and top of Inventory page]
The only information required to add items to inventory is the Inventory Type, Name, Quantity, and Units. To add an individual inventory item, select “Add Item to Inventory” and the Add Inventory Item form will appear. The form contains many more optional fields, giving you the chance to include more details about the item so that you can clearly distinguish it.
Key fields to include for your inventory items:
Inventory Type (required):This is a drop-down list of classes or types of inventory items. This list could include the default list provided by LabArchives (Antibody, Bacterial Stock, Cell Line, Chemical, Enzyme-Restriction, General, Oligos, Plasmid, and Solution), or a customized list of types developed by the user. An item type must be selected before the new item can be added. Only one inventory type can be selected. Click here to learn more about Inventory Types
The name of the inventory item can contain up to 255 characters as well as special characters. If an item is known by one or more alternate names, we recommend using the most commonly used name in this field, but also entering any alternative names in the Notes field. Alternatively, users can create a custom alternative name field for the inventory type.
This is a number only field. Fractions can be expressed using a decimal point. Although there is no limit on digits included, it is best practice to use workable numbers for practical purposes.
A drop-down list of standard metric units of measurement along with container units. If none of the default units apply, use “Units” as the unit of measure (default).
Location (not required)
Click on the “No Location Set” link to open the Locations that have been set up for your lab. If no locations have been defined, Lab Managers can add storage locations. Locations are organized in a hierarchical format to allow sub-locations that can be further subdivided. Click “Add storage locations” to be taken to the Storage menu.
Note: New locations cannot be defined while entering an item. Storage locations must be defined in the Storage menu. Click here to learn more about Storage Locations.
Begin by selecting a top-level location, such as a specific freezer, then click on the down arrow to display the next level option(s). Keep expanding the location hierarchy to get to the specific location. Note that you can only select the location that is at the lowest level of a location hierarchy (upside down triangle). In the example below, the hierarchy displays a Freezer #1 > Shelf 1> Rack A. You can only select the Rack because it is the end point option for this particular location.
Adding samples to a Freezer Box:
After following the location hierarchy to the freezer box level, a grid for a freezer box will display below the storage location hierarchy. The dimensions of the freezer box is specified when the Lab Manager is setting up Storage Locations. Click in each cell to which you will be adding items. If a cell is taken in a freezer box, then it will be grayed out. Note: only items with a quantity will be displayed.
Other important but not required fields include:
Description: Include any useful descriptive information about the item. This could be a detailed description of the item. The text field can contain up to 255 characters and can include paragraphs to organize the information.
Vendor: If the item being added to inventory is from a Vendor, click in the Vendor field to see the list of vendors that have already been added to the system. It is always best to select from the list of vendors. If you are adding an item from a vendor not in your system, simply type in the vendor name to add that new vendor to the list available for all users. Unlike setting the location, you can add new Vendors while entering a new inventory item. The vendor name can contain up to 255 characters. (For more information about Vendors, click here.
Catalog #: If the inventory item being added was purchased from a vendor, add the Catalog #. It will make re-ordering the specific item easier in the future.
Lot #: If the item being added has a Lot #, it is important to add the exact lot number to distinguish it from the Lot # of the reordered items in the future. The Lot # can be critical when comparing the results from a protocol.
Note: Once a Lot # has been saved for an Inventory Item, it cannot be changed.
Price: If available, add the price leaving off any denomination symbol. This is typically recorded as the price per unit as provided by the vendor.
Date Received: It is always a best practice to enter the date the item is added or received into inventory. Click in the field to open a date selector. Dates formats will be based on the language/region information from your browser. Note that dates can be used as a search filter to help isolate items received in a specific time range.
Grant #: If relevant, enter the Grant # associated with the inventory item being added.
PO #: This optional field can be populated with the purchase order used to purchase the item being added.
Expiration: This date field is important for items that have a specific expiration date. Check product and packing information sheets, then click on the field to open the date selector tool to specify the expiration date. Dates formats will be based on the language/region information from your browser.
Safety Sheet: Enter the URL or website address for the safety information for the current item. This could be a page at the vendor’s site, or another site that covers the safety information for the specific chemical, sample, etc. Note: to ensure the safety information is retained long term, we suggest, uploading a pdf of the safety sheet as an attachment (see below).
Notes: Add any pertinent information about the item being added. This field can be used for alternate names or any other information.
Attachments: Drag and drop files to supplement information about items. This could be the manufacturer’s packing slip, safety sheet, or other information. You can upload an unlimited number of attachments, but each attachment can be no larger than 25 MB. The supported file types for attachments includes .pdf, image, and text files (.txt). You can search for inventory by the file attachment name.
In addition, you can attach chemical and DNA sequence files to your inventory item. Below are the accepted file extensions.
Chemical file formats: .cdx, .cdxml, .mol, .sdf, .skc
DNA sequence files: .dna, .seq, .fasta, .xdna, .clc, .pdw, .cx5, .cm5, .nucl, .gcproj, .cow, .sbd, .embl, .gcc, .fasta, .gb, .geneious
Note: For security purposes do not allow the following extensions for upload: .exe, .bat, .com, .sh., .js, .html, .msi, .ps1
Duplicating an Item
If you often create similar items in your lab, use the “Duplicate Item” function to quickly copy over details when creating a new item. This feature is available to users with either Lab Member or Lab Manager role.
Begin by selecting the item from the Inventory search menu you wish to duplicate. From the Item Details menu, select “Duplicate Item.”
The Duplicate Inventory Item form now contains a copy of the inventory item you originally selected. Edit the necessary fields and select “Add Item” to save the Duplicate Item. A new Inventory Item is created and the original one is retained.
Note: The history for the new item begins at this point. We recommend changing the name or adding an identifier to the duplicated item. By default, the system will add (copy) to the end of the Item Name.
Editing an Item
After an Item has been created in LabArchives Inventory, item quantity, units and location can be updated and edited directly from the Item details About tab. This type of edit can be done by both Lab Members and Lab Managers. Any edits will be recorded in an item’s history.
Lab Managers, unlike Lab Members, can edit the entire inventory item and will see the “Edit” option at top-righthand side of the Item Detail menu. Click on “Edit” to make changes and then “Update Item” to save changes.
Note: Lab members will not see the edit option as they only have permission to edit amount, unit and location.
To learn more about roles and the difference between Lab Managers and Lab Members, view the Roles Knowledgebase article.