You know all of those crazy excel files of chemicals and reagents and that ever-growing binder of MSDS sheets? Well that information can all be accessible to lab members with a quick login. Quartzy is an online lab management program that will get anyone’s attention whom has even the slightest bit of OCD or is trying to figure out how to organize their lab inventory – oh yeah, and it’s free!!!

I did a live webinar with a Quartzy rep a few months back just to see what it was all about and I haven’t looked back since. Developed by graduate students (my thoughts, probably after many trips to the freezer or chemical cabinet only to find the reagent they need very low or even gone – I know, unimagineable right?). Quartzy allows lab members to add items to an online ordering list, including choosing from a drop down menu what the item is for, where it’s stored, what grant it should be ordered under, when you need it and a slew of other information – even better, many larger suppliers work with Quartzy so as you type in the catalog number – the rest of the info auto fills. But it gets even better… when an item is delivered, you can log back in, mark it as received and an email gets sent to the person who initially requested it so they know it exists and where you put it. And now for the real kicker… delivered items are automatically entered into a running inventory.

For our lab – which may be the antibody capital of the world – the organization afforded by Quartzy comes as far as telling you that the antibody your looking for is in Box 3, Space C7 (haha – my favorite antibody which I obviously know by heart) but if someone else needs to use this primary, they can also click on the name and pull up pretty much all the info they need to move forward (without asking me J) including the MSDS, user sheets and any notes I have added in terms of dilutions to use for which applications, what to dilute in, what to block in, etc… Oh yeah, and once an item is in the inventory, next time it needs to be ordered they just have to look it up and click reorder.

In a perfect world, this is the answer to all lab issues stemming from the, “Where the hell is the _________ I ordered?” The, ”I didn’t know where to put it,” and even (and most importantly), “What do you mean there isn’t any left and it hasn’t been re-ordered?” But alas, all programs and apps are only as strong as their weakest link (or in this case its weakest user) so I am sure there will still be some issues – but so far so good!

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