Ensuring Audit Compliance Through Efficient Chemical Inventory Practices


Audits are a tricky and costly risk for any organization, and for one major specialty chemical company, they were a constant nightmare. The facility struggled to reduce audit findings concerning its quality control and R&D labs for cGMP chemical production, with its most common concern involving expired containers.

They needed to reduce on-hand inventory of old chemicals to prevent being out of compliance and to acquire the correct regulatory and safety data. Employees often purchased chemicals that were already in stock but couldn’t be located, leading to expiration of current inventory, and were also spending too much time searching labs and storage spaces to identify these expired chemicals. The company knew a plan was needed and fast, but how could they implement an efficient inventory management system without further reducing the productivity of their staff?


The facility engaged a Avantor Services Lean Six Sigma Business Process Consultant to enact a chemical tracking system, perform initial chemical inventory, and establish an ongoing process that would work with the limited resources at the site. User-friendly ChemSW® CISPro software met the company’s needs and enabled them to quickly generate the data needed for audits and internal management use. The facility’s chemical containers are now immediately bar-coded upon receipt and tracked in a central database, with expiration dates clearly marked on containers and reports automatically generated to track when chemicals needed to be tested.

Figure 1: Time Spent Preparing for Audits vs Findings Found During Audits


From program implementation until this story’s publication date, there has not been a single corrective action resulting from an audit. The time needed to prepare for an audit, whether scheduled or unplanned, has decreased from as much as three days to 30 minutes. The facility is also now OSHA compliant, and their MSDS information for their chemicals is easier than ever to find and access.

Additionally, the company can:

  • Identify and remove unwanted hazardous materials in an organized and consolidated fashion
  • Remain current with on-going removal of containers prior to expiration date
  • Expend less resource effort for audits and daily chemical materials acquisition
  • Readily find chemical materials, avoiding repurchase or rush shipments

“Previously, we had chemicals stored together that shouldn't have been. It was pretty frightening. When VWR helped do an inventory audit during implementation, we found all sorts of dangerous situations. It's taken a lot of the stress off to know that this doesn't exist anymore.”

—The Company's Laboratory Manager