You might have a too much idealized view of the lab activity. I work in an experimental field related to physics and I visited several laboratories around the world: there's really no uniform way of keeping track of lab experiments, even within the same lab. In large experiments like those run by particle physicists there are probably standard practices, but in small labs, if there are five people working at five different experiments, you will probably find five different ways of logging the lab activity.
Some use a lab journal, on paper or electronic, recording almost everything (but I've never met anyone recording the attempts at finding parts), some just record the results in a computer folder with a few notes.
In addition to this, practices might vary a lot between fields: biologists might have different needs with respect to physicists.
Thus, I think that your question could be on topic here, but it's at risk of being closed as too broad. If you ask it, try to narrow it down as much as possible.