Barcode Inventory Management System (BIMS)

Maximise quality, efficiency, and stock availability in a busy laboratory environment.

Siemens Healthineers Barcode Inventory Management System

Siemens Barcode Inventory Management System has been developed in the U.K. to provide -

  • A flexible and easy ordering system with approval delegated to the appropriate teams and automated e-mail orders.
  • Real-time stock detail across multiple sites and storage areas.
  • Effective stock rotation through alerts on issue to avoid errors.
  • High availability via warnings on predicted shortages or inappropriate issue.
  • Robust traceability with customised reporting for access to the full audit trail supporting internal and external audits.
  • Quarantine options support controlled reagent use with user-defined rules on release criteria. 
  • Quality records – storage of reagent assessment data.
  • Flexibility for reagents from multiple suppliers.

Features & Benefits

Siemens Healthineers Barcode Inventory Management System

The BIMS system was designed with ISO 15189 requirements in mind and can be run with inventory from several suppliers or in conjunction with the Siemens FAST reagent delivery service.

  • Each product lot has its’ details loaded by scanning the package’s GS1 barcode. Individual packs are then labelled with unique 2-D barcode labels displaying the product name, GTIN, batch number, expiry date, delivery date and unique identification.
  • The shipment can be quarantined at delivery and each lot released once validated. Every movement of the pack is tracked from receipt to move to issue and it can take seconds to record each step.
  • Stock levels can be optimised to match the storage space available and order quantities are based on real time inventory.

BIMS gives you confidence on controlling reagent from the delivery level

  • A single batch of reagent can be moved to quarantine on delivery and may not be issued for use until released. The release process can require confirmation by a colleague to help prevent errors and an option is available to store data from the reagent evaluation in the BIMS database.
  • If required, a full reagent delivery can be unpacked to quarantine status and manually released by staff with sufficient permissions. Product records can be found via delivery, product, or batch for a quick and simple release process.
  • Efficiency is enhanced by warnings to help prevent use of reagent not yet assessed.
  • Time and cost savings could result from the clear and traceable approval process in BIMS. Unnecessary calibrations can be avoided, and downtime minimised where accepted reagent is used first.

Enhanced support for ordering decisions

  • Reliable ordering, based on your true stock is achieved with advised order quantities in BIMS. A minimum and maximum quantity may be set for each product and the advised order subtracts the current stock to estimate ordering quantities. BIMS orders can be reviewed and edited for each laboratory section before validation and confirmation with the supplier.
  • BIMS messaging section with visibility on order status across the organisation supports efficient teamwork.
  • The order details can be automatically e-mailed to the supplier to ensure deadlines are met.
  • Accuracy of ordering is enhanced by reporting on stocks in each facility / area / location and use of stock over time. System reports showing deliveries, stock, and issues over a user-specified period support review of issues with stock not moving or being over/under-stocked.

Technical Details

The BIMS system from Siemens Healthineers comprises

  • Mobile barcode reader*
  • Label printer *
  • BIMS MS SQL Server database

* at least one for each laboratory section.

Simplicity comes from good screen design. Traffic light colour-coding uses red where data needs to be manually added like an expiry date.

The controls include a ‘check’ option to quickly confirm that the stock is accurate for any product or location using the reader.

The system comes with four fixed reports plus a flexible report tool and output to PDF, Excel, RTF or CSV.

  • Stock Totals Report
  • Stock Locations report
  • Stock Costs Report
  • Analyser Issue Report
Siemens Healthineers Barcode Inventory Management System

The software is installed on the local hospital network requiring a minimum server specification of Windows 2008 R2 Server, 4GB RAM, Intel ® Xeon CPU @ 2.00GHz, MS SQL Server 2012 with .NET framework. A full technical specification is available on request.

Client configuration uses USB connection for the handheld barcode scanner device cradle connection and local Windows printers for report printing. Portable printers connect one to one via Bluetooth© to the handheld barcode scanner device.

A secure Wi-Fi network is useful at each storage location and instrument area. When Wi-Fi drops, or is unavailable to the users, the provided handheld cradle will upload the data through the network infrastructure on the attached PC as contingency.

The BIMS system can use the local e-mail system for outbound e-mails. Remote access to the BIMS server is required for support and upgrades of the system.

User Experience

Testimonial by Chris Hind, Clinical Laboratory Manager, NHS Tayside.

BIMS was deployed in the Department of Blood Sciences in NHS Tayside in 2017 with the objectives of improving handling of reagent quarantine, simplifying the ordering process, and reducing reagent and consumables waste.

The inventory is managed across departments and over 2 hospital sites.  Adherence to quarantine rules and stock rotation is assisted by prompts from BIMS if staff select the wrong pack by mistake.  Orders for the regular 2-weekly Siemens Healthineers FAST deliveries are created and approved in BIMS.  This has resulted in the need for extra or urgent reagent orders being reduced significantly.

“This ensures that the department should not run out of reagents and stocks are maintained at optimal levels resulting in a reduced need to place emergency orders”

Products are delivered, labelled, and moved to the storage location with rotation of the latest packs to the back of the shelf.

The handheld computer is used to issue or move reagent packs and labels can be printed to split pack components simplifying the tracking of each reagent from delivery to consumption.

“The management and documentation of inventory has supported the Quality Management System in meeting the requirements of ISO 15189” 

BIMS has provided the tools for comprehensive quarantine records and has helped streamline the ordering process.