In this phase a stock and ordering system will be established. For this an inventory needs to be carried out to see which reagents, consumables and other supplies are present and in which amount.
List contact details of all suppliers of the items in the inventory to facilitate easy ordering.
Activities related to Phase 2 - Purchasing and Inventory
To establish a stock and ordering system certain details need to be determined. To create a system that leads to adequate numbers of supplies of good quality that are not expired, you need to identify the following characteristics for each supply in stock:
- Determine what should be stocked
- Determine, per item, the maximum storage time before expiry
- Determine, per item, the storage conditions (is additional equipment such as stock boxes, freezers, refrigerators, etc. needed?)
- What archiving system will you use to enable staff to easily find what they are looking for? (E.g.: a code system with stock cards in a centrally kept folder)
The system should allow detection that the stock of an item falls below a certain threshold. This item can then be purchased in time as to prevent stock-outs.
In determining the height of the threshold of the stock average use and average delivery time should be taken into account.
The TB-CAP toolbox provides several tools for stock management.
- A general document with guidelines and specifications for managing TB laboratory equipment and supplies.
- A supplies procurement tool for laboratories performing only AFB microscopy. To be able to work with this tool: first readTB CAP: Instructions Document 1.
- A supplies procurement tool for culture and DST laboratories including a method for calculating thresholds for each item. Also readTB CAP Instructions Document 2 first.
Key supplies are reagents and consumables that have a direct influence on the results of examinations when sub-standard.
Document the specifications of these reagents to ensure that each time the correct reagents are purchased and that these reagents are tested to function correctly before being used. Document the specifications on the stock cards (developed in phase 1) and in the supplies procurement tools provided in the previous step. Most standard reagents with their specifications used in TB laboratories are already included in these tools. You may delete the items not used in your laboratory and add the materials used in your laboratory that are not included in the supplies procurement tools.
Write an SOP in which the process of ordering, receipt, identification, labeling, handling and storage of all reagents, reference items and equipment is described.
Now the inventory control system has been established, you have to document how it functions (write what you do, do what you write). As an example the SOP on Procurement and stock management was added, however this template describes only the procedure for ordering goods and checking the quality of goods upon receipt. The inventory control system is different in every laboratory. Therefore, write the procedure for inventory control yourself in this SOP.
Make sure that this SOP is read by all relevant personnel members.
Purchased supplies that affect the quality of the service need to be verified as complying with standard specifications or requirements for the procedures they are used for.
This may be accomplished by examining quality control samples and verifying that results are acceptable.
Example: when a new batch of auramine dye is received at the laboratory, this batch should first be tested with a positive and negative control sample to see if the Mycobacteria are fluorescent in the positive control sample and that nothing can be observed in the negative sample. Compare the outcome with an older auramine batch. If the new auramine batch gives correct results, the batch may be released for use in the laboratory. Similar procedures need to be followed for each consumable and reagent that, if sub-standard, has a negative influence on the quality of results. Further information on this activity is included in the WHO LQMS information on receipt and storage of supplies.
The storage areas should comply with the necessary safety requirements as demanded by the nature of supplies. E.g.:
- Flammable supplies are stored in a fire-resistant cabinet.
- Poisonous supplies are stored in a well ventilated room.
- Corrosive substances are stored in corrosion resistant cabinets/containers.
Store the supplies in order of expiry date (first in-first out).
Restrict access to the storage areas to protect from unauthorized access. Label supplies upon receipt or preparation with the following information:
- Preparation date/date of receipt
- Opening date (to be filled out when first opened)
- Expiry date
- Possible safety warning (provide a list with R and S sentences at a visible place in the storage area)
- Provide MSDS sheets collected under Facilities and Safety in this phase in a file in the storage area.
For a complete overview of requirements refer to chapter 17 of the Safety manual for Laboratories issued by the WHO. This document was also referred to in phase 1 and provides elaborate information on all aspects of laboratory biosafety.