This guide to buying refurbished lab equipment outlines what to consider and compare before purchasing.
As a lab manager, you must procure the samples and tools that equip your team for success. Researchers and technicians need accurate and reliable devices to get their jobs done the right way. Whether you are finding your first set of tools or replacing old equipment, here is what to consider before buying refurbished lab equipment.
Define Your Equipment Needs
Laboratories rely on brilliant minds and scientific instruments to complete their testing and research. Laboratory managers are responsible for finding the right devices to aid scientists in their work. When looking to buy refurbished lab equipment, it is vital to define your needs first. This way, you know exactly what gadgets and features are necessary.
Audit Your Operation
A great way to define your equipment needs is with an internal audit. The word “audit” may sound scary, but it is simply an evaluative tool that creates the space to analyze your processes. Start from the very beginning of your workflow and follow each step that a product or material would take to the finish line. This thorough thinking process will help you find holes and needs you otherwise would not see.
As a laboratory, you will likely start with the procuration of your raw materials. You should look for ways to improve the delivery, unpacking, and organization processes. You would then move to the first step each material will experience—mixing, boiling, sampling. During this part of the audit, it would be best to have a scientist trained on the procedure to walk you through. This procedural space is where you will find most of your equipment needs since it is the most hands-on part. After this, you should analyze your storing, packaging, and distribution methods. With the entire arc of production in view, you can make wise and informed decisions about your equipment needs.
Ask Your Team
Every laboratory is full of scientists, technicians, and researchers who know their field and the best tools for the job. As the lab manager, it would be best to consult with them for guidance on choosing the right equipment. You do not have the specifications and education to know what tools are best and which features are the most desirable. So, ask your team and learn from the experts in the room.
Laboratories often perform multiple functions, so explore the niche needs for each system in your operation. A team member working on a gas chromatography machine will have different understandings and needs than someone operating a blood centrifuge. When looking for refurbished lab equipment, you should know what your team thinks is valuable and what will propel your business forward.
Consult Professional Sources
If you need input from people who are in the know, you should check out online professional resources in your field. There are academic journals, research institutes, and industry-related businesses that all have a unique take. You should network with all willing and available professionals to figure out which models and makes are the most efficient or best built. You can also consult professionals in the field who make and service the machines you want to find.
For example, suppose your laboratory specializes in mass spectrometry. You will need very specific analytical equipment to finish the job. So, reach out to manufacturers and suppliers to learn about their products. Our team at GenTech Scientific has a thorough knowledge of the field and can help you find the right tools to bolster your laboratory efficiency. We even have extensive selections of lab equipment for sale that we can help you navigate through.
Explore Equipment Options
There is no single purveyor of all things laboratory equipment. You have many equipment options, and it is up to you as the lab manager to explore every avenue in order to make the right choice for your business. These are some of the things you should investigate when it comes to your lab technology options.
Request Live Demonstrations
Lab equipment is an investment, and you should have a demonstration before committing to a contract or purchase. You would not buy a house without walking through it first, nor would you purchase a car without test driving it. When you have specific needs, you must have all assurances that the device will work for you.
It may not be as feasible to physically visit a manufacturer or vendor on-site in this pandemic world, so ask for a live video call. During the call, you can ask the vendor to use all the various facets of the machine and show your team the essential functions.
Ask About Service Contracts
The thing most people worry about with refurbished lab equipment is that it is not new. Many correlate this lack of newness with a tendency to fail or poor construction. However, this notion could not be more misguided. Refurbished equipment is lightly used but repaired, refreshed, and good as new. In fact, most vendors that sell refurbished machines offer service contracts along with the product.
A service contract is a form of insurance that gives you a lower-cost form of maintenance should anything go awry. Instead of paying more for outside contractors to come in and service your products, you could have knowledgeable people who refurbished the machine take a look. Service contracts typically involve nominal monthly fees, but they come in handy if you experience unexpected issues.
Inquire About Training
While you and your lab staff are highly trained professionals, everyone must learn the ins and outs of new systems. Whether you are acquiring a new chromatography machine or a new business operating system, everyone must understand how to navigate the brand-new thing. So, inquire about training from your vendor. You should set up remote learning opportunities and invite all staff to join the sessions, especially those who will use the product each day.
Learning new machines takes time, and speed bumps appear along the way. So, you should ask about customer service after the purchase. How can you contact the vendor with questions? Where can you submit work order requests? What ongoing support will exist for this product? All these questions and more will guide you toward the perfect product.
Knowing what to consider before buying refurbished lab equipment enables laboratory managers to make wise decisions. Scientific instruments are vital to the success of a lab business, so entrust your tool selection to us at GenTech Scientific. Give us a call or email us today to start your path toward high-quality refurbished lab equipment.