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How A*STAR is enhancing the research ecosystem in Singapore: electronic Chemicals, Biomaterials, Gases Management System

This is part of a continuing series on how the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is constantly working to support researchers in Singapore and enhance the research ecosystem.

Click here to read the first instalment on the Federated Identity Management System or FIMs which simplifies access to supercomputing resources for end-users at the Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore.

A*STAR has developed its first integrated chemical inventory management and procurement system in the form of the electronic Chemicals, Biomaterials, Gases Management System (eCBMS). The system was developed to address the various issues associated with chemical, biomaterials and gas purchases.

The eCBMS has helped to reduce paperwork associated with the procurement of chemicals, biomaterials and gases, while enhancing legal compliance.

The system, which is integrated with the electronic Purchase Request System (ePRS), has helped to raise the productivity by automating inventory updates and monthly reporting, providing a clear overview of the availability of chemicals within the institute and reducing the turnaround time for purchases of controlled chemicals.

All these features reduce the time needed for the procurement process, thereby freeing up time for researchers to focus on their research work.

This system reduces the time required by researchers to manually maintain and update their inventory, and allows better legal compliance.

It has been estimated that CGMS will help to reduce more than 16,000 man hours annually, that would otherwise have been spent on inventory updates, maintenance and generating monthly inventory lists necessary for legal compliance.

The automated interface highlights the legal requirements for the controlled chemicals and the permissible allowable limits for such chemicals and displays the requirements for the purchase of such chemicals, thereby reducing the turnaround time necessary for the purchase of controlled chemicals, while enhancing and strengthening legal compliance of the institute.

The eCBMS has been rolled out to Research Institures (RIs) and Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) entities, allowing the RIs to enjoy time and cost savings, raising the productivity of researchers and administrators as well as strengthening the legal compliance for the purchase and storage of chemicals.

The new integrated e-purchase and inventory system has helped to optimise the usage of resources and manpower. The advantages and savings of this innovation could potentially be multiplied to several-fold as IT has plans to deploy the integrated system to other RIs in future.  Apart from the tangible savings, one of the most important non-tangible benefits is the mitigation of risks to reputational damage due to regulatory/ legal non-compliance.

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