There are many options when it comes to laboratory upgrades, such as moving to a larger facility or optimizing your floor plan for maximum productivity and efficiency. In some cases all that is needed is an upgrade to the equipment, which can be less costly than moving to a new space facility.
Implementing new digital solutions is also an important consideration in order to stay current and compliant with quality and regulation standards. Finding solutions to upgrade your facility requires diligent monitoring and careful planning of the status of your current facility. This will ensure ease of implementation when you do decide on any upgrades.
Here are 5 important ways you can upgrade your laboratory facility:
1. Move to a Larger, State-of-the-art Facility
There may be increased financial costs when considering the purchase of new property or even looking to rent space for a larger facility. This can be a concern when it comes to budget. Financial costs will need to be carefully calculated so that the budget is not exceeded. However, the benefits of moving to a larger facility may outweigh the costs and accommodate for accelerated growth. There will be more space for equipment, and productivity and efficiency are likely to increase as a result.
It is important to consider that when a laboratory becomes too crowded errors are more likely to occur. There is also the potential increase in safety concerns, where hazards and risks tend to proliferate in facilities with less space to work. Working in too small of an environment can also have an impact on employee morale. Unhappy employees lead to reduced productivity and efficiency which can quickly translate to losses in time and money, ultimately leading to compromises in operations and employee errors.
Overall size of a facility is not the only parameter that’s important when considering what size upgrades your lab needs. The equivalent linear feet, or EFL, needed for each person is also important. It is necessary to know or have an estimate of how many laboratory workers there will be in order to determine how much EFL you will need and what further solutions to implement. Ease of implementation can only be achieved through careful planning.
2. Optimize Floor Plans
Another, potentially more cost-effective option for laboratory upgrades is to stay where you are and work with what you have. Before deciding to move to a new facility, determine whether there are other ways to better use your current space for operations. Optimizing floor plans may be a sensible and budget friendly approach.
When optimizing floor plans, it is important to understand whether you need an open or closed design. An old approach was to have a closed design with each individual researcher or group of researchers isolated in their own walled section. Today, many laboratories opt for a less confining and more open use of space. An open design encourages collaboration among researchers and is often the preferred design.
Optimizing processes are an important component to planning how space is used for effective operations. The upgrade plan should be logical and fit with workflow and standard operating procedures. Researchers, managers, and administrators should all be involved in the planning phase to ensure that an optimal design is developed. It is also useful to monitor how the space is currently being used before planning the upgrade.
3. Add New Equipment
Rather than moving facilities or optimizing your floor plan, you may only need to purchase new equipment. This is the case for many laboratories and is often the first step in any plans to upgrade a facility. Older equipment may breakdown, or become obsolete due to technological advances. Upgrading to new and improved models of incubators, cryotanks, fridges and freezers or any other important laboratory equipment greatly increases productivity.
In the event that a laboratory, such as one within a CRO or CMO, takes on new clients with work that requires different types of procedures, new equipment may be necessary. Another instance is if your research load has increased and there is not enough equipment to handle all the processes, additional equipment will be needed to handle the volume.
It is also important to review OSHA standards and perform proper calibrations when implementing new equipment. Laboratory monitoring systems like XiltriX can ensure compliance with regulations and quality standards, as well as ensure all the necessary documentation is in order.
4. Create New Lab Space for Research
As referenced above, more space may be needed to upgrade your laboratory, but perhaps purchasing or moving to a new facility is not an option. In this instance you need to find a way to increase the space dedicated for research. There are definite advantages to having more space for research. More work can be done at the same time and more projects can be initiated and carried out in a timely fashion. Creating more space with what you have can be difficult and may entail some disadvantages.
It is difficult to try to convert an area that is not designed specifically for research. Most types of research require specific lab benches, tables, as well as ventilation and air filtration systems. New lab space may need to be created for vivariums or clean rooms. The specific needs for each of these rooms will differ, but creating these spaces can greatly increase productivity. Sensible planning and insight, and knowing exactly what equipment you plan to use and how many personnel need to be in a certain space are all important factors to consider.
5. Implement New Digital Solutions
Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace and digital solutions need to be implemented into new and pre-existing labs to remain innovative. Digital solutions for laboratory and equipment monitoring, or LIMS and BMS, can be introduced to streamline operations. Data acquisition and analysis can be easily done through laboratory monitoring solutions like XiltriX. The advantage gained through these types of solutions is complete assurance your laboratory will be compliant and operate at optimal efficiency.
Lab solution software like XiltriX goes a long way in modernizing your lab and increasing productivity of operations. Monitoring laboratory systems is essential. The benefit of added security is another important aspect to consider when you decide to implement digital solutions. Although there may be cost concerns or a reluctance to learn new systems when considering new digital solutions, reliable companies like XiltriX alleviate the stress of implementation. XiltriX will partner with you to ensure ease of implementation and usage at every stage.
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