Video: Ordering Supplies through Scientific Virtual Assistants
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be promoting video examples of our scientific virtual assistants in action. This post has a double-feature, showing how scientific voice assistants can order supplies when researchers really need them.
Today’s blog is a short post, but touches on an oft-overlooked aspect of ensuring smooth lab operations: ordering lab supplies.
Nothing - well, maybe not nothing - is more frustrating than building experiments, gowning up for the day’s work, and getting into the lab only to find a crucial reagent is out-of-stock, thus putting your project on hold until it’s back in supply.
A Quartzy blog post highlights an experience that lab managers encounter regularly: “the drive-by ‘where’s my stuff?’” question. Now, lab managers should not be expected to remember every single order, especially if they were not the ones who had placed the order. The more glaring issue is that this question has to be asked at all.
Ruling out COVID-19-induced shortages, inventory is not properly managed mainly due to communication issues when it comes to ordering. For example, a scientist may grab the last DNA test kit from the stock, make a mental note to order more, but by the time they get back to a computer, they have already forgotten it. And this isn’t for any reasons of malice; scientists are focused on their work, and they should be.
So what if there was a way to make this process easier?
In the below video, you’ll see how a researcher can order supplies with their mobile scientific virtual assistant. This particular video highlights two different ways scientists can place the order: either relaying some basic information about the product through their voice, or using the barcode scanner within the app.
From there, users have the choice of adding the item to a “Shopping Cart” where one person can place the order for the supplies at the end of the day. Alternatively, users can connect their purchasing platform (Quartzy, SAP, Zageno, Stellar Scientific, etc) and have the orders happen automatically.
With on-the-fly ordering enabled, scientists and lab managers can remove one more bump in the road as they seek more efficient lab operations.