RFID-enabled Freezers from Terso Solutions Help Promega Transform On-site Inventory Management into a Competitive Advantage. Promega is a leading-edge life sciences company with global operations. Its customers are world-class research institutions exploring gene, protein, and cellular interactions. How ironic that something as mundane as a freezer was becoming a source of frustration and inefficiency both for Promega and its clients.

The freezer is a staple in most life sciences research labs—a repository of reagents, vaccines, blood products, and many other resources used routinely in the lab environment. However, the seemingly simple task of tracking who took what out and when is actually a major challenge.

“In many of our accounts the freezer is a competitive necessity, but with liabilities,” said Mike Sanders, Business Development Director for Promega. “We’re dealing with busy researchers who have a lot more on their minds than recording what they removed from the freezer, so inventory shrinkage is a problem; and the freezer often contains sensitive materials or controlled substances, which makes security a major concern.”

There are also multiple cost and efficiency issues, according to Sanders. “When our customers don’t have good item-level transaction information, they don’t know when it’s time to reorder or which materials may have passed an expiration date,” he said. “So they end up issuing lots of individual purchase orders and paying for overnight freight when they suddenly realize there’s a stock-out. That’s inefficient and expensive. With the RFID-enabled freezer from Terso, we’ve automated the whole process for them. They save money and improve security, and our business benefits as well.

RFID-Enabled Solution from Terso Solutions, Inc.

Sold to Promega customers under the brand name “Helix™,” the Terso Intelligent Enclosure has eliminated all paperwork associated with purchasing, accessing, tracking, monitoring, and reordering reagents used in its customers’ lab environments. Terso’s RFID enabled freezer is now installed in more than 100 customer sites worldwide—improving productivity for researchers and staff, reducing costs, and delivering better customer service.

The cost savings to PromegaExpress customer derive from the reduction in purchases lower freight costs, and higher staff productivity, as illustrated in the chart below.

Promega Helix Benefits

 

  Standard Freezer Helix™
Inventory count 52 times/year Never
PO cost/order $100-120 Savings through batch order processing and paperless transactions
Shrinkage Up to 35%/freezer/year 0%
Freight costs Frequent overnight / rush charges

Significant savings through batched shipments

 

The Clear Advantage is Intelligence

While the Terso RFID-enabed freezer solution is clearly benefiting Promega customers, it is also generating new competitive advantages for Promega.

“The real advantage to Promega is the information it captures,” said Mr. Sanders. “Now we really know who our end customer is at the individual level. Now we have the intelligence about their preferences and buying habits and usage patterns to proactively tailor our delivery practices to their specific needs. And as part of improving our customer service, we find we have more opportunities to introduce new products, more merchandising opportunities, and the ability to add incremental business through more efficient supply processes.”

Mr. Sanders notes that the Helix™ program also helps Promega cut costs. “We didn’t look at this as a cost-saving program initially, but the elimination of shrinkage, the ability to do more targeted, 1:1 marketing, and improvements in our own inventory processes have definitely helped reduce our costs of doing business,” he said.

“The feedback we’ve received from our customers about Helix™ has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Mr. Sanders. “We can show the CFO hard-dollar savings and high ROI very quickly, and it simplifies life for both researchers and staff. It’s a flexible system that has proven to work extremely well in many different environments, and the technology has infinite possibilities beyond the lab. It’s a true win/win solution for Promega and our customers—and that’s the way business is supposed to work.”