Managing Life Cycles
Historically, laboratory managers would purchase scientific instruments and then use them until age and/or disrepair rendered them useless.
“Forward-thinking laboratory managers, however, use laboratory asset management programs and effective technology life-cycle strategies to optimize their laboratory infrastructures,” says Michael Pope, worldwide business unit manager, service and support division, Agilent Technologies.
Pope’s firm provides asset management services that chart instrument age, function, criticality, and annual failure rate in order to optimize equipment use and better assess life-cycle decisions.
“We began getting into the field of asset management five to seven years ago because we recognized the need for managers and chemists to better handle business decisions related to their laboratories,” Pope says. “We wanted to bring business solutions into the lab that enhanced workflow and not merely be an equipment provider/servicer.”
While big pharma is a frequent customer, the company is now seeing more business from academia and nonprofit research institutions. Pope cites the example of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“St. Jude’s has lots of assets. The question was how could they get their arms around and better manage their assets. They came to us, and we helped to provide the infrastructure to do that,” he says.
In the race for funding, even academia must carefully consider how not to lose new opportunities by utilizing older technology that could jeopardize future funding. Pope notes that the life cycle for typical instrumentation “used to be about seven to fifteen years. Now, it can be three to seven years or even one to two years for newer, cutting-edge technology.”
“We’ve looked about one to three years in the future and see even mid-tier organizations becoming interested in asset management,” he adds. “Regardless of whether you are big pharma or a smaller research lab, working from a more holistic view of equipment and asset management is a trend that is here to stay.”