Technicians in laboratories conduct incredible experiments and run important tests. However, there’s more to laboratory work than scientific testing. Labs are businesses in their own right that need attentive management from a dedicated professional. That’s where lab managers and their staff come in. Here is more on lab quality management and why it matters.
What Is Lab Quality Management?
The words “lab quality management” may sound like unimportant industry jargon, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Lab quality management runs to the core of laboratory operational standards and work product quality.
A Quick Definition
Lab quality management is the method by which lab managers assess the success of their operation. Without this crucial system, laboratory businesses would have no quality control. Lab quality management typically involves a cadre of business-minded professionals who facilitate these internal processes. While technicians and scientists perform services for clients, these people keep the business running behind the scenes. The easiest way to understand where lab quality management fits in the scope of a laboratory business model is with an example.
A Laboratory Quality Example
Imagine a CBD testing facility that uses gas chromatography to test the raw materials and determine the chemical makeup of the sample. The gas chromatography machine this laboratory uses is old and finicky, sometimes making the technicians run tests twice to determine accuracy. While the machine is usable, it’s by no means an excellent tool that enables the staff to do their best work. One day, the technician runs a CBD test like normal and repeats the test to verify the results. The machine malfunctions and doesn’t pick up on dangerous pollutants in the raw material.
The rest of the product which the sample came from ships off to a local seller and enters the market. Now, any consumer that purchases the tainted product will ingest dangerous chemicals that could harm their physical health. This could then lead to disastrous legal consequences for the seller who trusted your testing facility with the quality verification. Now, there is a litany of problems at hand that can lead to an array of devastating consequences, all of which the lab could have avoided with a quality management system.
Connection to Business Tasks
As the example above demonstrates, the pivotal issue with the laboratory doesn’t involve their technical ability or work capacity, but their quality control. The technician did their job and used the tools available to them to the best of their knowledge. The problem lies in management that may not be responsive to the issue or concerned about the state of their technology. Lab quality management connects more closely to the business side of things rather than the scientific. The business tasks at hand include items like workflow review and maintenance schedules, which fall under the purview of a lab manager and their team.
Why Does Lab Quality Management Matter?
Laboratory quality management is of the utmost importance if you want your business to succeed. Without a quality control function, a laboratory is sure to let something slip through the cracks.
Develop Trust With Clients
The first priority in any business deal is the client. You want your client to succeed with your product or service, so you will likely go to exceptional lengths to make that happen. Lab quality management can go a long way in developing trust with clients. When the people who pay for your services feel like you added value to their endeavor, they will likely say so. A trusting client with a positive experience will write positive reviews online and encourage others in their industry to do business with you. In the end, a lab quality management team can boost your online ratings and encourage customers to spread the word.
Establish a Long-Lasting Reputation
A dedicated management task force can safeguard the product quality and reputation of your business. If you want long-lasting relationships with customers, you need a reputable service. In the arena of business, there is a deeply felt tension between quality and quantity. Some laboratories promise quicker turnaround with larger quantities, yet they allow certain imperfections to slide. This isn’t a sustainable business model in the long run, as people will notice these problems over time. Instead, prioritize quality and see how your reputation grows into an ironclad stamp of approval.
Abide by Regulations
When you have people tasked with quality management, they’ll have a different perspective on your work product than those performing the actual tasks themselves. Scientists know how to perform their work, but a lab quality team will know all industry and government regulations related to your specialty. For example, there are different parameters for a lab that runs blood tests with diseased samples and a lab that examines consumer products for pollutants. Ethics codes, sanitation measures, and disposal protocols all vary from lab to lab. A quality management team will have these restrictions in mind as they approach their monitoring and evaluation.
Avoid Unnecessary Downtime
Laboratory downtime is a problem that plagues all research and testing facilities. Logistical problems quickly arise when technicians must balance multiple tests, sample analysis, workstation maintenance, and product reports at the same time—especially when tests can take several hours or days. A quality management team will judge the quality of the end product and the process that comes before it. For example, your technicians may have trouble moving from one piece of analytical testing equipment to another. A workflow audit could reveal the value of adding more staff to focus primarily on one operation at a time. Or you could look into what other equipment systems are available to simplify processing and analysis.
Monitoring and evaluation are at the core of good business practices, and understanding lab quality management and why it matters can help you achieve higher standards as a company. If you have any questions about improving your laboratory functions and work products, reach out to us at GenTech Scientific today. Our team of lab specialists can help you find tools and systems that will streamline your business operations, so you can focus on other important tasks.