eLabBlog

Make Laboratory Equipment Management a Breeze with a Digital Lab Platform

By Jonathan Amadio 3 min read 28 Sep 2023

If you work in a laboratory, you know how important it is to effectively share equipment and resources with your colleagues. Advances in laboratory technology have given us access to remarkable analyzers and instruments for our research and diagnostic needs. But, while lab equipment can make workflows faster and more cost-effective, there are the added challenges of upfront investment costs, staying organized, continuous upkeep, and integration with other platforms. 

In the following blog, we’ll discuss these struggles in more detail and how to solve them with a simple and accessible solution.

The Problem: De-Centralized and Unconnected Organization

Whether coordinating a small or large lab, managing a suite of equipment and their associated operation is no easy feat. 

Here are a few challenges that we’ve heard over the years:

Lab equipment is spread across different rooms and floors. 

Validation and preventative maintenance schedules vary amongst instruments. 

When equipment issues arise, vital information, like a faded serial number or a lost user manual, can become unexpectedly unavailable.  

Multiple users with different schedules have continuous conflicts with equipment usage.

Different users have different experimental protocols or techniques, requiring time-consuming and error-prone setup transitions.

Many labs try to proactively circumvent these issues by implementing a shared spreadsheet or paper log. These approaches are not designed to be at the forefront of the lab workflow; they become “optional” rather than “necessary.” As a result, labs still experience delays and conflicts with equipment reservation and preventative maintenance schedules. A missed re-validation may result in unusable or non-compliant data and potentially weeks of downtime due to part availability or field service engineer scheduling. 

While each scenario is distinct, the result is the same: Limited equipment availability. Ultimately, the consequences can quickly halt research, leading to lost time and money.

The Solution: A Lab-Focused Digital Approach

Without a centralized approach that lab personnel can easily access and utilize, lab efficiency will suffer.

A digital lab platform is designed with the lab’s needs in mind and can help you and your colleagues manage lab equipment effectively and efficiently. By having a centralized repository for your lab equipment, you can optimize your workflow, increase productivity, and limit potential equipment downtime.

Here are the top features that can provide significant benefits to your lab:

  • Reservation System – Many platforms provide centralized scheduling systems that allow users to book preferred time slots for equipment usage easily. Researchers can view equipment availability in real time with a simple calendar interface, enabling them to plan their experiments accordingly. Additionally, digital lab platforms often include automated notifications and reminders, ensuring users know their scheduled time slots and reducing the chances of equipment being idle or unused. You can also use options to block equipment reservations or change equipment status if repair or maintenance is required. The benefits of these features are fewer scheduling conflicts and higher efficiency.
  • Equipment Summary – If something goes wrong or a new technician is getting trained to use a piece of equipment, do you have quick access to vital information? Digital lab platforms allow you to capture and store essential metadata such as equipment specifications, maintenance records, calibration data, and usage history. This centralized approach ensures that researchers have a reliable and up-to-date source of information about the shared equipment. Users can access detailed documentation, including user manuals, operating procedures, and troubleshooting guides, enabling them to make informed decisions and operate the equipment correctly. Furthermore, the platform’s search and filtering capabilities allow researchers to quickly locate specific equipment based on parameters like availability, functionality, or compatibility with experimental requirements. 
  • Equipment History – Digital lab platforms allow researchers to access a detailed record of past experiments, including experimental parameters, results, and any issues encountered. This historical data provides valuable insights into trends regarding the performance and reliability of the equipment, allowing users to make informed decisions about its suitability for specific experiments. Moreover, tracking equipment history helps identify any recurring problems or patterns of malfunction, enabling proactive maintenance and minimizing downtime.

Try eLabNext’s Digital Lab Platform for Your Equipment Management Needs 

Overall, digital lab platforms help optimize the management of shared equipment by streamlining scheduling, increasing equipment uptime, and lengthening the lifetime of an instrument. Additionally, they can help promote collaboration, facilitate remote access to equipment, and “future-proof” your lab. These platforms increase lab efficiency, enable sustainability, improve communication, and enhance productivity in shared lab environments.

eLabNext is the most advanced digital lab platform that can help elevate your laboratory equipment workflow. Request a personal demo or start a free trial today to see how it can integrate seamlessly into your lab’s operations. 
You can also explore the eLabMarketplace, where you can find and install add-ons and integrations that suit your specific needs.

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