Run Your Lab Like A Business

Volume 10 Issue 1 | February 2015

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Cover Story

Run Your Lab Like A Business

By Nanny Bosch and Michael Bosch

When looking at best practices for running a lab, things as seemingly diverse as staff development and retention, inventory management, procurement, and efficient use of training spends, need to be looked at together. After all, equipment is only as good as the staff who uses it and your staff is only as good as their training.

Featured Articles


Editor's Buzz

Prepared for Success

It’s late January here in northern New Jersey. From Boston to Cape May, everyone is bracing for “the monster storm of 2015.” I’m having flashbacks to the winter of 2010 and 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, weather events similarly filled with drama, uncertainty, and hype—some real, some overblown. But we survived that and we will, I’m fairly certain, survive this. Which brings me to this month’s note.

Leadership and Staffing

Four Strategies to Deal with Abrasive Leaders

When you walk into the lab, you can feel the tension building. Even though you enjoy your work, interacting with your boss is affecting your overall job satisfaction. You are facing a dilemma: start looking for another job or endure the conflict.

Business Management

Working Together Makes Change Work

Screenwriters know there is a magic formula called “structure” that must be adhered to when writing a successful script. A key element is what occurs at the nine-minute mark in a film. That’s when the hero’s life undergoes a change that forces them to take action and regain their footing, which catalyzes the triumphant conclusion.

Leadership and Staffing

Speaking of Trust

“Trust me.” What sort of image do those words conjure up? Do you picture a parent teaching a child to ride a bike? A used car salesman talking with a customer? Or does your mind perhaps turn to the workplace, thinking of the promise for a future salary increase?

Lab Health and Safety

Sit Up Straight

In the last issue of Lab Manager, we began to explore the ergonomic risk factors associated with the use ofcomputers. To recap briefly, three of the fundamental ergonomic risk factors are: position/posture, repetition/duration, and force. These can all be influenced by the work area setup and the activities being performed.

Lab Health and Safety Tips

Ask the Expert

A Lifecycle Approach to Method Validation, Verification, and Transfer

Greg Martin is president of Complectors Consulting (, based in Pottstown, PA, which provides consulting and training in the area of pharmaceutical analytical chemistry. Mr. Martin has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and was director of pharmaceutical analytical chemistry (R&D) for a major PhRMA company for a number of years. In addition, he has volunteered for the U.S. Pharmacopeia for over 10 years, and currently serves as vice chair of the General Chapters—Physical Analysis Expert Committee and also serves on expert panels on Validation and Verification; Weights and Balances’ Residual Solvents; and Use of Enzymes for Dissolution Testing of Gelatin Capsules.


INSIGHTS on Tackling Food Fraud

For the general public, the concern over food fraud revolves around headline-grabbing examples, such as melamine—an organic compound used in plastics—appearing in infant formula from China in 2008 and beef replaced with horsemeat in the UK in 2013. 

Product Focus


2015 Titrator Product Survey

Modern titrators can be simply classified as one of two types: potentiometric and Karl Fischer, with the latter available in both coulometric and volumetric versions. While titration may be considered a basic analytical method, modern titrators are far from simplistic. Many titrators offer a variety of automation options and can perform titrations with great accuracy with minimal operator intervention. According to this year’s survey results, over 82% of survey respondents use automated titration in their labs, with fully half of respondents also using an autosampler.

Ask the Expert

Trends in Image Analysis Software

Dr. Anne Carpenter leads the Imaging Platform at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT—a team of biologists and computer scientists who develop image analysis and data mining methods and software that are freely available to the public through the open-source CellProfiler project. Dr. Arvind Rao has been an assistant professor in the Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center since 2011.


INSIGHTS on Streamlining Clone Selection

Like great athletes and musicians, cells employed in cell-based assays or as expression systems for biopharmaceutical production are not born, but made. Cell lines that perform specifically and predictably arise from a population of cells that have undergone one or more genetic transformations (transfection) and are subsequently selected for desirable properties such as viability, protein or virus production; high culture density; or binding to drugs or antigens.

Product Focus

Rocking Laboratory Shakers: Assuring Consistency of Results

Laboratory shakers come in a variety of configurations, including orbital, horizontal, incubator, tumbling, roller, overhead, rotator, and the subject of this article, rocking shakers. Within these categories, numerousvariables are possible: physical size and sample capacity, speed adjustment, shaking direction, sample pitch, direct temperature control through heating or cooling coils, and environment control through enclosures or use within incubators.


2015 Microplate Reader Product Survey

Microplate readers are commonly used in biological research for assay development (39.4%), measurement of biomolecule concentration (34.5%), cell biology (25%), biomarker research (24.0%), and DNA quantification (20% of survey respondents). In addition, microplate readers find use in disease study, IVF, proteomics, PCR setup, and stem cell research. With multiple read modes available and numerous accessories, choosing a microplate reader that meets your current and future needs can prove a daunting task.

Product Focus

Refractometers: The Fun and Efficiency of Personalization

Refractometer manufacturers quote accuracy and reproducibility to the fourth, fifth, and sometimes even the sixth decimal places. A good manufacturer will only advertise this level of accuracy after carefully running standards.


2015 Lab Oven Product Survey

Laboratory ovens are common instruments in most laboratories and are used across most scientific disciplines. Lab ovens are most commonly less than 12 cu.ft. in volume, although a great variety of sizes are available in benchtop, stackable, and floor-standing models. Over 25% of survey respondents reported using larger ovens in their labs. While lab ovens are most commonly used for heating and drying (75.6% of respondents), they find a variety of other uses including temperature-linked experimentation (41.7%), evaporating (37.0%), baking (16.5%) and sterilization (11.8%).

2015 Freeze Dryer Product Survey Results

Freeze dryers find use in a variety of research and manufacturing environments and are commonly used for material storage, food and pharmaceutical processing, as well as for less common applications such as taxidermy and document recovery. With a wide variety of options available, there is much to consider when purchasing a new freeze dryer.

Products in Action

Labconco's Full Line of Freezone® Dry Systems

For the past 40 years scientists from all over the world have trusted Labconco Freeze Dry Systems to lyophilize and protect their assets. With sizes ranging from 1L to 18L and over 17 drying accessories available, FreeZone Freeze Dry Systems can be customized to lyophilize almost any type or size of sample. Don’t settle for just any lyophilizer, order a freeze dryer that you have selected specifically for your samples.

How it Works

How Implementing an Asset Management Program Works

Problem: A variety of factors can result in obsolete laboratory equipment and R&D devices. Projectcompletion, equipment upgrade, lab closure, and downsizing all create surplus pharmaceutical assetsno longer required in the same capacity—or at all. Given budget restrictions and the importance placedon environmentally-sound business practices, organizations can’t afford to allow surplus assets to lieidle or dispose of them without thought to the process. Surplus requires an innovative and sustainableprocess that supports strategic business goals.

How Single Molecule Measurement Works

Problem: The human genome encodes thousands of secreted proteins, each of which is an actor inthe delicate biochemical balance of diagnostics. Even a slight change in any one of these proteins canmean the difference between sickness and health. Such a change also provides a critical window intothe body and helps to direct diagnosis and treatment, however, the vast majority of secreted proteinsare present in concentrations well below what conventional technologies can measure, and their role inhuman health is poorly understood.

Products in Action

SHELL's Pearl GTS Runs on LIMS

There are no shortages of world records when it comes to Pearl GTL. The facility,  located 80 kilometers north of Doha, Qatar, includes the largest GTL plant and one of the largest instrumentation and control systems anywhere on earth. The facility became fully operational in 2012.

Laboratory Technology

Bluetooth Boost

Recently released probe aims to change how pH is measured

Products in Action

Adam Equipment's Nimbus Balance

Nimbus analytical and precision balances from Adam Equipment feature a compact footprint and easy operation. With readabilities from 0.1mg to 0.1g, capacities from 80g to 22kg, plus USB and RS-232 connections, the Nimbus provides a streamlined weighing experience for discerning professionals worldwide.

White Papers and Application Notes

Development of a Method to Better Quantify Levels of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Iodinated X-Ray Contrast Media and Artificial Sweeteners Found in Water

Abstract: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can cause long term damage to the environment. Two classes of organic molecules have come to the attention of regulators and water treatment authorities in recent years; iodinated X-Ray contrast media (XCM) and artificial sweeteners (AS). These molecules, by design, have a high degree of stability. Aware of the increased abundance of these molecules in waste water, the IWB Water Laboratory set out to develop a robust, simple method to analyse levels of these molecules in water from the river Rhine, ground water and drinking water.

Products in Action

E-WorkBook 10: All the Power You'd Expect From E-WorkBook, Now on the Web

At IDBS, our sights are firmly set on enabling collaboration, helping research and development (R&D) organizations gain greater insight from their data and getting their products to market quicker. So we asked ourselves how we could make this simpler. With E-WorkBook 10, not only will you have the power and performance you’ve come to expect from E-WorkBook, you’ll also discover the simplicity and ease of use that comes from an intuitively designed interface, and the flexibility and mobility that comes from our web-based spreadsheet technology.

875 KF Gas Analyzer: Fully Automated Water Analysis in Permanent and Liquified Gases

With its new 875 Karl Fischer Gas Analyzer, Metrohm combines decades of experience in moisture analysis and sample handling. The KF Gas Analyzer is designed to handle nearly any gas sample – compressed, liquefied or native. It is fully equipped to measure the absolute moisture content of LPG, petrochemical intermediates, natural gas or other compressed or liquefied gases.

High Energy Ball Milling Equipment

The aim to achieve ultrafine and nano-sized materials is becoming of great importance as effort in nanotechnology is a key driver in the development of innovative products.  To attain particles in this region, many techniques can be used such as synthesizing such materials as well as high energy milling. 

How New ICP-OES Spectrometer Technologies Substantially Cut Operating Costs

Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) is used for elemental analysis of everything from soil and sludge to water and wastewater, plus various industrial process materials. In evaluating ICP-OES instruments, environmental contract laboratories may prioritize sensitivity and speed. Industrial research laboratories may emphasize stability and analytical precision. However, both agree on the importance of controlling costs.

Because Knowledge is Power: SmartCapture - Business Intelligence for Smarter Decision

Knowing how instruments are utilized throughout your laboratory is important information to help you optimize operations, drive cost savings and improve productivity.  However, capturing information on instrument ultilization in a lab comprised of an array of different manufacturers, techniques, control software and computer platforms presents a difficult challenge.  Until now.
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