Innovations and new discoveries in science that address some of the world’s health concerns are all thanks to scientists who spend countless hours in laboratories doing tests. However, laboratory budgets are not open-ended. In order to continue to operate, laboratories often have to find ways to be efficient in spending their budgets and cut costs where they are able to. Here is a list of ways you can stretch your lab budget.
Purchase in bulk
Items bought wholesale are cheaper than retail prices. Lab supplies that you use and order frequently should be bought in bulk to attain bulk discounts. If storage is a concern, there are lab stores that allow blanket purchases where you pay upfront, but delivery is made on an “as-needed” basis. Check with your regular suppliers and see if this arrangement can be made.
Protect your equipment from the elements
Dust, water, and unusual electrical spikes can damage expensive lab equipment. When you have invested heavily in expensive equipment, it pays to spend a little more for protection, like dust covers, lab equipment shields, surge protectors, and other protective items. Reducing the risk of equipment damage, specimen contamination, and loss can reduce operating costs significantly in the long run.
You may have certain vendors you deal with regularly and you have built up a good relationship with them. However, it can be limiting, since you lose the opportunity to find other vendors who may be offering the same items at a lower price. Unless you get significant discount arrangements or have an exclusive arrangement with your existing vendors, it pays to regularly check the market and see who else out there is offering something similar.
Find alternative sources of cheaper equipment
We already know how expensive lab equipment can get. One alternative is to rent or lease equipment. Leasing may carry some risks, but it also has its advantages. Laboratories can use the latest technology in equipment without having to pay the entire purchase cost.
Another option is finding laboratory equipment at auctions. You can save by purchasing through an auction, but you may also need to be more thorough with your research, and make sure that the equipment is in good condition and well-maintained.
Train staff to be efficient
Medical technologists are the usual people in the lab helping scientists out. Train them to reduce waste and improve efficiency when using lab equipment and supplies. Without affecting operations, certain equipment may be turned off. Contents of refrigerators and freezers should be organized so as not to waste energy. Even a simple act like turning off the lab lights when people go home can make a difference.
Regularly maintain equipment
Keep tabs of when equipment was purchased as well as the maintenance milestones. Assign someone to be in charge of monitoring this. Repairing equipment will be so much more expensive than maintenance work.
Maintaining a lab is not cheap, but using the tips we just shared, you just may be able to save thousands of dollars in operating costs and effectively stretch your budget.