Benefits including optimized life cycles for instruments entice labs to look at laboratory asset management.

Rather than tracking maintenance and more for lab instruments and other assets, many customers now let someone else handle it. Laboratory-asset management offers three key benefits, according to Deb Nunes, strategic customer product manager for multi-vendor services and laboratory resource management at Agilent. First, she says, “It really mitigates your technology costs and risks by looking at the whole lifecycle management process: uptime, maintenance requirement routines, and so on.” Second, this type of management can optimize the useful life of technology. “As instruments age, your uptime can diminish. Or, the technology can change and your speed of analysis may need to be increased,” Nunes says. Third, laboratory-asset management provides general business information, such as how a company acquires and uses equipment.

Thermo Fisher Scientific lab-management services
Thermo Fisher Scientific consolidates lab-management services across an entire enterprise to optimize service efficiencies for all lab assets, regardless of manufacturer, and provides detailed metrics to enable effective resource management and decision-making. (Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific)

Improving the Process
“Managing the complete asset lifecycle is poorly done in most labs,” says Sandra Rodrigue, vice president of global enterprise services for Thermo Fisher Scientific. Fortunately, Thermo Fisher can handle this for its customers. As Rodrigue says, “This includes products that we manufacture or ones that are manufactured by other suppliers.” In all cases, Thermo Fisher aims to improve an instrument’s up time. “We often put engineers on-site who are dedicated to that customer,” Rodrigue explains. “That creates a response time of hours rather than days.”

The services provided by Thermo Fisher do not focus on complex instruments alone. “We also provide support services, such as stock-room management, glassware washing, dock delivery, and even relocation services, which is becoming more important as labs consolidate,” Rodrigue says.

Consulting with Customers
Given the range of customer requirements in managing laboratory assets, Agilent takes a consultative approach through its Agilent Laboratory Resource Management Services. “We have a broad variety of offerings that can be personalized to meet our customer’s needs,” Nunes explains. “This ranges from working with a company’s in-house organization that manages assets, to us coming in and running a full, lab-wide handling of all the assets.”

Nunes points out that Agilent has developed specific tools to enhance laboratory-asset management. For example, Agilent Remote Advisor can monitor instruments from—as the name says—remote locations. “This can balance and standardize management across labs,” Nunes says, “and it takes some of the guesswork out of lab management, because you can get information on equipment utilization.”

Agilent Laboratory-asset management
Laboratory-asset management maximizes the utilization of all the instruments in this lab. (Source: Agilent)

Agilent can also customize an approach, because what works for, say, academic labs might be different than what is needed for labs that must maintain regulatory compliance.

Expanded Coverage
For PerkinElmer, laboratory-asset management covers the start to finish when it comes to managing technology. As Gary Grecsek, vice president of PerkinElmer’s OneSource Laboratory Services, explains: “The program scope begins with asset budgeting and acquisition and provides governance and insight through asset disposition.” He adds, “Initial deployment of an integrated, on-site OneSource asset-management program delivers immediate cost benefit of 15 to 20 percent while simultaneously providing dramatically improved service levels.”

When a customer turns to OneSource, some of the benefits might come as a complete surprise. For example, Grecsek points out OneSource’s vendor-to-laboratory escorting process, which he says, “positively impacts laboratory productivity by minimizing the distraction to researchers by removing the requirement to escort vendors.” Grecsek adds, “At one customer site we were able to quantify 125 hours of productivity gains through this process.” In addition, OneSource can plan and execute an asset move, whether it involves one instrument moving between labs in the same building or moving an entire department across the country or around the world.

Growing Markets
According to Nunes, “This field is growing significantly. Pharma started the trend toward laboratory-asset management, but it’s moving to multiple industries.”

Rodrigue agrees. “Not that long ago we saw this primarily as a market for large labs that had many assets, such as pharma, biotech, and the chemical industry,” she says. “Now, because of the cost and service benefits, we are seeing new trends across our customer base and expansion of the market.” She notes that some government labs take advantage of the productivity and cost savings enjoyed with asset management services.

One point is clear though. This range of services covers an expanding collection of companies.