Microscopes in a Medical Lab
Microscopes in a Medical Lab

An Effective Lab Operations Program Will Make You More Fundable

Categories: Lab Support Services, Library


Your primary goal as a Life Sciences company is to conduct the necessary scientific research to develop innovative products that enhance people’s lives. However, creating therapies is a challenging and costly endeavor, and obtaining funding can be equally difficult. Investors consider a range of factors when deciding which businesses to invest in. Therefore, it is essential to demonstrate not only the quality of your science but also your ability to run a well-managed operation.

Watch Taylor Moyer, Flagship’s VP of Lab Services Solutions, deliver a presentation on how to optimize lab operations to maximize efficiency and attract investors at BIO International Convention 2023.

Understanding Your Lab Operations

To attract investors and ensure the success of your lab business, you need to have a clear understanding of your lab’s operations. Consider the following questions:

  1. Inventory and Cost Management:
    • Do you know what equipment and resources you have?
    • Where are they located?
    • How much does it cost to run your lab?
  2. Scalability:
    • What will be the cost of scaling up your operations?
  3. Budget Allocation:
    • Can you explain where your spending goes?
    • How do you make decisions about allocating funds and determining priorities?
Flagship Lab Techs

The Challenges of Lab Structure and Wasted Spend

In many labs, a lack of structure and poor inventory management leads to a cycle of panic buying, rushed processes, and fear-based decision-making. This approach often results in wasted spending, which is unsustainable, particularly in the initial stages of your business. Frequently, the defense for this lack of process is that “there can be no interruption to science.” While interruptions must be minimized, implementing effective processes and structure can save time and money in the long run.

Benefits of Implementing Structure and Process

By adopting a different mindset and introducing structure and process into your lab operations, you can achieve several benefits:

  1. Improved Lab Management: A well-structured lab will operate more efficiently, leading to better results and a smoother workflow.
  2. Cost Savings: Effective inventory management and budget allocation will help you save money and make your lab financially sustainable.
  3. Easier Scaling: Establishing clear processes early on will facilitate the scaling of your operations as your company grows.
  4. Enhanced Appeal to Investors: Investors value well-managed operations. By demonstrating your ability to run a structured lab, you increase your attractiveness to potential investors.
Clean Lab Room

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Equipment Management: Optimizing Resources and Planning for the Future

Most labs we have encountered in the past 20 years have lacked full equipment inventory. Even if they do have one, it is often incomplete and poorly utilized. While the Finance department may diligently track capital assets, other crucial information is usually overlooked. Considering that purchasing and maintaining equipment entails significant expenses, it is essential to have a clear understanding of where the money is being allocated.

By implementing a basic lab equipment management program, you can compile vital information about each piece of equipment and its associated services. This comprehensive approach lets you make informed decisions about equipment procurement and management, facilitating effective planning.

Medical Lab Testing

Comprehensive Inventory Management

Compile all essential information surrounding each piece of equipment and its related service.

Enable future equipment
planning needs.

Make effective decisions on equipment purchasing and management.

Managing All Equipment, Not Just Capital Assets

In many cases, the Finance department oversees the tracking of capital assets, as there is a business aspect to managing them. Unfortunately, this approach often results in only high-value items being accounted for –typically those surpassing a threshold of $5,000 or $10,000. However, labs consist of numerous equipment pieces, and it is crucial to manage and account for all of them to ensure uninterrupted scientific processes.

  • Include in your inventory program any equipment that you would repair if broken.
  • Obtain a comprehensive overview of your equipment at a glance.
  • Prevent unnecessary duplicate orders.
  • Evaluate future maintenance needs and equipment requirements.

Tracking Services and Budgeting for Replacement

In addition to equipment tracking, an effective equipment management program aggregates information about services performed for each piece of equipment. This includes the number of service instances and associated costs.

  • Determine when equipment approaches the endof its life cycle.
  • Budget for replacement in advance.
  • Avoid unexpected failures without provisions inthe budget.
  • Assess appropriate service agreement coverageand cost levels.
Lab Fume Hood

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Avoiding Costly Mistakes and Optimizing Spending

Upon reviewing our customers’ equipment service spending patterns, we often find excessive reliance on service contracts, needlessly costing them tens of thousands of dollars. Conversely, critical equipment is sometimes left uncovered, leading to downtime. Both scenarios are costly mistakes that can be easily rectified with the implementation of a basic equipment management program.

  • Evaluate individual equipment based on repair history, ease of repair, alternatives, and scientific importance.
  • Avoid unnecessary gold-level service contracts.
  • Prevent downtime by covering critical equipment.

Streamlining Relocation and Expansion

Aggregating all equipment information in one place brings an additional benefit when it comes time to relocate or expand into new lab space.

  • Provide detailed equipment list and specifications to architects for proper lab design.
  • Prevent underbuilt labs and inefficient powerplacement.
  • Minimize post-move expenses.
  • Enhance scientific workflow and throughput.
Laboratory Tech Fume Hood

Cost Savings and Future Planning

By establishing an equipment management program early on, you can avoid issues, save money over time, and understand when to replace old equipment and the associated costs of expanding or replicating your lab space.

  • Estimate the cost of doubling your TC throughput capabilities.
  • Evaluate spending requests for redundancy, cost efficiency, and potential waste.
  • Plan and present future spending projections to investors.

Implementing a lab equipment management program is an investment that yields numerous benefits, from optimizing resource allocation to facilitating efficient planning and decision-making.

Laboratory Testing Tech

Inventory Management: Streamlining Processes

Science requires an exorbitant supply of consumable materials, which is an incredibly costly component of running a research organization. While many of the required materials are project specific, many others can be organized into an inventory program to immediately show cost savings and return scientists’ focus to the bench instead of finding and ordering materials.

Time after time we see organizations with no inventory program in place, which leads to the hemorrhaging of money unnecessarily. It is common to see situations where everyone orders for themselves and/or a few designated people “keep an eye out” and order commonly used items. If this is how you are “managing” your inventory, you are spending too much.

Lab Operations Funding PDF

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Simplify and Optimize

Inventory does not have to be complicated. Flagship Lab Services offers comprehensive vendor managed inventory solutions, but we also work with our start-up and smaller customers to implement a basic inventory program that will:

  • Organize your process.
  • Eliminate costly items expiring on the shelves.
  • Dramatically reduce your rush shipping spend.
  • Ensure you do not unnecessarily spend money by stocking too much.
  • Give your scientists the peace of mind and time to focus on their research.

By implementing a basic inventory program, you will demonstrate to investors that you are running an effective and efficient business, prioritizing the optimal use of funds.

Life Sciences Lab Facility

Key Features of a Basic Inventory Program

A basic inventory program should include:

  1. List of Routine Items: Identify the required items in your lab.
  2. Baseline Inventory Levels and Stocking Locations: Define the appropriate inventory levels and item locations.
  3. Standard Vendors: Establish preferred vendors to streamline procurement.
  4. Ordering Times: Set designated times for placing orders.
  5. Simple Order Process: Create an easy-to-use system for managing inventory, tracking spends, and making informed purchasing decisions.
Lab Reordering System

By organizing your inventory locations, scientists can quickly access necessary items, generate reorder lists, and focus on their research. Through careful evaluation of your ordering patterns, a lab services partner can help optimize vendor selection and consolidate orders to maximize cost savings and minimize shipping expenses. Building trust in the program will reduce hoarding behaviors and prevent costly items from expiring on the shelves. A lab services partner can also assist in identifying alternative part numbers or suppliers for critical items to ensure uninterrupted supply.

Chemical Inventory Management

It is critically important to include your chemicals in your inventory management programs. In addition to managing quantities, a lab services chemical inventory program should also offer:

  • SDS Library: access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all materials
  • Cradle-to-Grave Workflows: support for comprehensive workflows for facilities of any complexity
  • Compliance: adherence to city, county, and other applicable codes to maintain safety and regulatory standards

Make sure you always comply with relevant regulations and avoid improper storage practices
(e.g., stacking 4x4L reagents in the corner).

Purchasing: Establish Efficient Processes and Control Costs

Purchasing and inventory management go hand in hand. You need to create a purchasing process that enables efficient ordering and review of requested goods and an inventory process that removes the burden of purchasing routine items from your scientists. Without either, you will end up spending too much on hoarded materials, rush shipping, and overstocking.

Laboratory Facility Workspace

Implementing an Inventory Program

By implementing an inventory program, you will be able to:

  • Identify critical items needed in stock.
  • Determine appropriate quantities for each item.
  • Optimize pricing with key vendors.

Many small lab companies face issues such as scientists independently placing orders or duplicate orders, resulting in doubled shipping spend and overspending. By defining responsibility for reordering key items and establishing a reorder/inventory process, you can effectively manage your investors’ money.

Lab Operations Tech Behind Beakers

Lab Operations Funding PDF

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Streamlined Purchasing Program

By implementing a purchasing program that works together with your inventory program, you can:

  • Create a streamlined process for ordering items into your lab.
  • Obtain the best price possible for your purchases.

Your lab support partner will work with you to:

  • Create a simple requisition process for ordering items/services.
  • Aggregate, review, and place orders.
  • Evaluate requests to avoid unnecessary spending and overstocking.
  • Collaborate with scientists to understand lead times, needs, and project timelines.

It is crucial to manage the process of receiving ordered materials to ensure efficient invoice processing and issue troubleshooting, which demonstrates effective organizational management to investors.


If you want to advance your science, then you must establish the necessary structure and foundation for success. Partnering with lab services vendors with specific expertise and services will provide your investors with peace of mind while supporting the flexibility and responsiveness required for creative and innovative science.

Key Areas for Improvement

To significantly enhance the efficiency and success of your lab business, focus on implementing the following key areas:

  1. Inventory and Equipment Management: Develop a clear system for tracking and managing inventory and equipment.
  2. Process Optimization: Implement streamlined processes that eliminate unnecessary steps and reduce waste.
  3. Budget Planning and Allocation: Create a comprehensive budget plan and establish transparent decision-making processes for allocating funds.
  4. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Encourage scientists to use data to drive decision-making and manage inventory and equipment effectively.
Lab Techs Fume Hood and Tablet

Download our Lab Operations Checklist! The same one we use to save our clients time and money!

Lab Operations Funding PDF

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