Lab work comes with many pressures with tight deadlines to meet, patent applications to propose, and research journals to publish. With demands always increasing but with limited resources, laboratories are under constant pressure to raise productivity and efficiency.
Today, we’re sharing some tips and strategies that can help increase laboratory efficiency—regardless of what type of lab you have.
1. Invest In Quality Lab Equipment
An efficient lab relies on efficient pieces of equipment. High-quality equipment can provide high-quality results as well as prevent wasted time and resources because of technical issues.
Also, outdated, cheap, or worn-out equipment may operate slower, which increases the amount of time needed to finish a task. It also has a greater risk of breaking down in the middle of an experiment which can completely stop your lab practices until you have someone fix it up.
Thus, you must invest in high-quality lab equipment to improve your lab efficiency. When updating or buying a new piece of lab equipment, make sure to look up reliable manufacturers and providers like KNF UK. Also, you want to choose a manufacturer that offers a wide variety of equipment so you can buy everything or most equipment you need from a single manufacturer.
2. Regular Equipment Maintenance
If you spend a significant amount on a piece of equipment, it only makes sense to take care of and maintain it. Doing so not only extends its life but ensures that it works efficiently.
Regular cleanings can prevent your lab equipment from breaking down during tests and experiments. Also, regular calibration of your lab equipment allows you to detect and identify any possible subtle issues, such as data corruption before they become bigger problems. Plus, calibration helps in improving test accuracy and leads to more efficient results.
3. Switch To Digital Documents
If your lab still uses paper to document key findings and important data, you’re not efficient enough. By switching to digital documentation, you can improve your productivity, enhance collaboration between researchers, better organisation of data, and more.
What’s more, it also makes your lab eco-friendlier by reducing paper and ink waste. Going digital also helps reduce clutter and maximise storage space, giving your lab a more organised and efficient design.
4. Organising Your Lab
Speaking of organising, you also want to do some lab arranging. And by re-organising your lab, your researchers can have a much more pleasant working experience that’s more time-efficient and less error-prone.
You want to consider the flow of work and lab layout when re-organising your lab space. Organise tools and experiment solutions in an orderly manner. For instance, if there’s a piece of equipment or tool that’s used a lot, make sure that these are easily accessible for all researchers or have duplicates of the same tools or equipment.
For smaller and frequently-used lab tools and apparatus such as beakers and pipettes, you want to place them in an area that’s easy to access for everyone or provide multiple stations for these items around your lab.
This way, your researchers don’t have to take more time in finding the right things they need. Also, you want to provide enough space between areas for lab members can easily move around without disturbing others. This is not only critical for efficiency and productivity, but also for lab safety and regulatory compliance.
In addition, you want to encourage your researchers to keep their workspace clean and tidy after each experiment or before the end of the day. This way, there are fewer chores to do the next day and making it easier to get down to work right away.
5. Evaluate And Fix Your Processes
Running an efficient lab is impossible if there are inefficient processes in place. So, you need to evaluate your current processes, find efficiencies, and fix them.
You can start by conducting a thorough examination of your current processes. If you don’t have a detailed outline of your processes, consider creating one. Once you develop this outline, walk through the lab, and assess everything, gathering information on how long it takes to finish every step in a particular process.
Doing so will give you an idea of which steps take longer than expected and identify any areas for improvement or redundancies. Using this information, you can fix and refine your process. Then, make sure to standardise it across your lab to reduce inefficiency and error.
Whether you have a clinical lab or an industrial lab workshop, you need to increase efficiency with continued growth. Thus, making your lab as productive and efficient as possible should be on your agenda.
And while every lab is different, the above collective strategies can be used to improve any lab’s efficiency and productivity across the board.