Imagine showing up to work on Monday morning only to find that all of your work for the last year has been erased by a malfunctioning freezer. Now, imagine that you had also started monitoring some equipment in your lab, but had decided that the malfunctioning freezer wasn’t quite important enough to justify the expense of monitoring it. That would be a painful moment.
With the advent of Smart Lab technologies, equipment and environmental monitoring are well within reach of virtually every laboratory, from research to clinical. The conversation usually starts with concerns about ‘what would happen if…’ and inevitably touches on which pieces are the highest priority. It’s a completely understandable approach that allows teams to monitor their most important assets, often those containing valuable samples or reagents, for example. However, that strategy leaves a lot to chance and can have dire consequences if you place your bets incorrectly.
Rather than monitoring some pieces of equipment and not others, the better bet is comprehensive monitoring. This strategy gives teams visibility into the health of all of the equipment in the lab or production facility, while also providing higher-level benefits. With access to real-time and historical data from a monitoring system, teams can extract layers of value and support their operational goals. For example:
- Quality Staff who previously had to gather and record equipment data on a daily basis are now freed up to attend to other, value-added work
- With highly granular data, lab managers no longer rely on single daily data points from each piece of equipment as insufficient indicators of equipment health
- Teams have easy access to highly visual equipment utilization trends and patterns, enabling them to optimize equipment usage and load balance
- Facilities and operations teams can easily analyze the impact of environmental factors on the overall maintenance of expensive equipment over its lifetime
- Lab management staff can spot preventative maintenance needs in routine equipment performance data, eliminating emergencies created by unanticipated failures
- Teams can make informed financial decisions about repairing vs. replacing a piece of equipment based on actual data from that piece of equipment as compared to other comparable models
Every lab contains invaluable samples, expensive reagents, and/or years worth of research, which in many cases can not be replaced. So the question is whether it makes sense to leave the safety of these assets to chance events — whether human error or grid-scale issues — or whether it’s time to leverage Smart Lab technologies for peace of mind and operational advantage? For those focused on developing new therapies and materials, or other critical work, the stakes are too high to justify a gamble.