Benchling guide

Best Practice Guides: Inventory

  • 7 August 2023
  • 2 replies

Userlevel 5

Knowing where your samples are is important – we have a tool for that! Inventory allows you to track the location of registered entities within your lab. We have some thoughts on how to do this effectively and hopefully as painlessly as possible. With the right setup (and a positive attitude) you’ll be able to have your scientists moving samples through your lab with ease ✨

  • Best Practice for Users - Using Inventory Tables to Create and Fill Containers  - If you’re a scientist and you’re using or generating samples as part of an experiment, you should use an Inventory Table within your Notebook Entry. (Bonus points if it’s part of a Template). It’s the easiest way to use the Inventory and has the added experimental context of an entry ⭐
  • Best Practice for Users - Using Update Tables - Inventory Tables aren’t just for Creating and Filling Containers--you can also update them! Using the “Update Containers” functionality, you can archive containers or change the quantity to keep them up to date
  • Storage Best Practices for Users and Admins - Don’t fall into the trap of trying to capture every intermediary in your experiment--use our Best Practices (shown below) to know when to capture the most critical physical information about your samples and when
  • Best Practices for Sample Intake - When adding samples to Benchling, the general rule is to lean on our Bulk Import methods whenever adding more than a few containers. Try our API or use a spreadsheet import to save yourself time and sanity
  • Best Practices for Sample Management - There’s more to consider than just important sample data into Benchling. Use audit logs, labels, and permissions to make sure your Inventory stays organized and compliant 
  • Growing with Inventory: Best Practices for Different Stages - We have different recommendations for how to use Inventory for startups and global organizations. Invest time, energy, and thought into how your inventory management should change as you grow 

Full BPG attached below!

Image 1: Tips for Users and Admins on how (and how not) to use Inventory in Benchling

 Comment below to let us know how you’re using Inventory and managing physical samples in your lab!

2 replies

Userlevel 4

Thanks for posting this @Melissa DiTucci -- Inventory has been the “next frontier” here for the past few years to overhaul and simplify the business practices around this to ensure:

  1. Anything in a freezer / fridge gets registered and put into Benchling registry & Benchling inventory
  2. Inventory status in Benchling is accurate and as “real-time” as possible.  This is where having something like a Mobile app will be helpful, especially for companies that don’t have a software development team to create “app-powered scanning stations” near points of use to process inventory items real time and update their status.

Easier said than done -- it would be great to hear some success stories from the community about how you got your Inventory practices solidified to get your Benclhing inventory to be a proper digital twin of the real world :)

I do think the Inventory “application” within Benchling could benefit from some more friendly UI updates -- right now it’s very utilitarian and for a long time was “functional, but not practical”.  I’d love to see more visual representation of a Freezer, so you could click on a freezer and it would open to visually show shelves, racks, & box granularity all at once.  If you click on one those layers of granularity you see the nested containers too.  Maybe some drag and drop to move stuff between two locations instead of pop up menus and list expanding to navigate to where you want to put it.

Userlevel 4

Great guide! Some of the Benchling champions at my were curious what Inventory was about and this is a good starting point. 


Agreed with @vinniev - I’d love to hear how folks got Inventory in Benchling up and running, especially when it comes to dealing with plates and wells. The current inventory experience can feel a bit clunky/click-heavy - especially when we’re dealing with multiple containers, and entities