Every good business knows how and when to buy the right supplies, for the right price, and the right reason for its employees. Transportation companies may purchase trucks, sports teams order uniforms and balls such as footballs and soccer balls, and even the military has different suppliers. The same is true for a laboratory, research lab, or a college looking to restock, upgrade, or even create its labs for students or employees. Science is more than a white coat and a beaker of colorful liquid; any modern lab, if it wants to keep ahead of the curve and pursue science, need the right lab supplies from vendors, from lab chemical suppliers to microscope supplies to more general lab supplies like protective gloves and goggles. And some labs will need certain devices or chemicals but not others, and the budget has to be maintained, too. Lab chemical suppliers and others are on hand to provide the right products, and buyers will have to enter a deal knowing exactly what they need.
Laboratories are a major asset of research companies and colleges. In fact, in the United States alone, over 500,000 workers are employed at labs, and this does not even account for college students taking lab courses. All these academic and work labs need the right equipment, which can come in a dazzling variety. Heat is often involved, and a hot plate is a portable, self-contained appliance set on table tops that will have one or more electric heating elements, though some models might have gas burners. These devices can reach operating temperatures of 100 to 750 degrees Celsius, and can take on loads up to 150 pounds. Microscopes, and microscope components, are also common to labs, ever since Louis Pasteur in the 1860s used one to determine that microscopic organisms cause disease. With all this equipment and more to consider, how should a lab work with lab chemical suppliers and other vendors to get the right gear?
Ordering for the Lab
Ordering from a vendor for a laboratory is ultimately a business transaction, an should be treated as one, according to Laboratory Manager. First of all, the lab’s budget for new equipment must be figured out ahead of time. How much is available to spend overall? How should some equipment be prioritized over others if the lab can’t afford everything? The lab should also consider maintenance and fuel costs for equipment, as well as electric bills for maintaining some of these devices. To help get the best price, a lab can compare different models of the same product from different sellers and find the best possible deal.
Service contracts are another area to take seriously, since the fine print of any deal or warranty can make all the difference. A lab could be in trouble if it voids the warranty on a piece of equipment, for example, and can’t easily replace it or send it in for repairs. Cancellation fees and expenses or deals for transportation of the products should also be considered, and can tie in closely to the lab’s budget, whether from lab chemical suppliers or microscope vendors.
Also, the lab staff’s own expertise should be considered. If the employees need extra training to use new equipment, that factor should be considered in the cost. Online training or hiring trainers may cost extra. Similarly, the frequency of the items’ use should be considered, since a lab will more likely get its money’s worth from a product that is used often versus one that has rare application. For that reason, labs may often prioritize the purchase and upgrades of often-used equipment over items or gear that are less commonly used. Finally, a lab may concerned about environmental friendliness, such as whether or not to use gas-powered burners, and whether harmful chemicals are produced from the equipment. More environmentally safe models of different equipment and gear might be offered by some vendors, so a lab could search for and find them.