Importance Tips of Running a Lab Smoothly and Efficiently

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Importance Tips of Running a Lab Smoothly and Efficiently

There is no need to tell a lab owner about the challenges associated with running a lab. Things can quickly go wrong, and any mistake can lead to severe consequences. As lab equipment is delicate and expensive, lab owners need to take adequate care to prevent costly disasters.

Nevertheless, you should not fall behind in keeping your lab cost-efficient, eco-friendly and productive. And the following are the steps you can take to run your lab efficiently and smoothly:

Tracking Items

A lab comprises all sorts of items, from reagents to specimens, necessary for analysis, diagnosis, or experiments. It is a bad practice to keep the items randomly. The best way to manage your lab inventory is to categorize all items and use barcodes to identify and track samples.

Use appropriate labels for tubes, vials, boxes, and racks, conforming to the environment you keep them. For example, it is best to use cryogenic labels for specimens or cell lines stored in liquid nitrogen or reagents stored in freezers. The labels also help to maintain your lab inventory alphabetically.

It will become more comfortable for your staff to locate the items.

Proper Maintenance

One of the essential aspects of running your lab is maintaining the lab infrastructure properly. It ensures your lab items’ integrity, such as samples and reagents.

You have to maintain laboratory refrigerators at the right temperature, replenish liquid nitrogen tanks, and balance the CO2/O2 concentrations in each incubator.

Implement systems that can monitor your storage equipment’s functioning and provide real-time updates so that you do not miss out on any important notification. Besides, automation can also help keep detailed logs and reports of all activities, ensuring that you miss out on no detail.

Cloud-based automated systems can store reports in a centralized database and alert your staff if anything goes wrong.

Avoid contamination by cleaning your lab by regularly cleaning with sanitizing wipes, 70 percent ethanol solution, or bleach. Also, apply UV to your biosafety cabinet regularly and keep water tanks of bathrooms full.

De-ice your refrigerator occasionally to remove excess ice that could block the door.

Manage Workflow

With proper workflow management, you can track inventory movement, trace samples, and enhance productivity. You can implement a laboratory information management system(LIMS) to manage your lab workflow.

A LIMS tracks each sample’s movement and allows the lab staff to schedule processing, testing, and analysis. Using barcoded labels, a LIMPS helps in sample tracking and tracing. Simultaneously, it is also essential to have proper coordination and communication while implementing any system for optimizing workflow.

It is best to have regular meetings with your staff about lab maintenance and record all lab activities. Maintain detailed lab books and clear SOPs to help your lab run smoothly for the long-term.

Preserve Lab Equipment Manuals

Your staff can’t memorize every instruction manual, and that is why they should keep themselves familiar with the manuals.

When you buy any device, it will come with a manual containing the manufacturer’s guidelines, like cleaning, care, maintenance, troubleshooting, error codes, etc. Your staff needs to consult the manuals frequently to prevent serious equipment troubles.

Keep a Tool Kit

It might sound strange, but it is true. There can be easy solutions to many lab problems. If you see a problem beyond your staff’s capability, call for a technician to fix it.

However, it is a good idea to keep a toolkit ready. Usually, such a toolkit contains essential items like a flashlight, flat-head, screwdriver, crescent wrench, pliers, vise grips, needle-nose pliers, scissors, measuring tape, a hammer, and a pocket knife.

It will be helpful if you have the items within your reach. If you see that your staff can fix with the tools, allow them to do it.

Know When You Need Help

Despite some problems having simple solutions, it will be helpful if you can figure out when you need help.

In many cases, you get to see that your lab staff attempts to fix equipment problems without proper knowledge and are beyond their capacities. And the result will be problems that will only magnify and leave the equipment in a bad state.

However, your staff will be able to fix problems at times, but it is essential to know when to fix them.

Apply Common Sense

Your lab can’t perform everything that is under the sun. While some labs do less, others do a bit more. No lab can have unlimited resources. As such, a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work.

It will help if you assess what your most pressing problems are and subsequently explore corresponding solutions. And simple solutions are the best.

Conclusion

All labs need equipment for day-to-day operations. Equipment failure or breakdown can lead to unnecessary expenses. As such, you should take adequate measures to prevent unwanted happenings and run your lab smoothly.

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