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Respondents cited instrument maintenance and downtime, complexity of testing requirements, and time-consuming sample preparation as the top challenges in their laboratories.
Agilent Technologies recently commissioned a survey, “Understanding Key Challenges and Pain Points in the Global Laboratory Market,” to identify main issues and any unmet needs facing laboratories. Market research firm, Frost & Sullivan, conducted the independent survey on Agilent’s behalf, which included 700 lab employees across four countries-Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and China.
When respondents were asked to rank the top five challenges in their laboratories, instrument maintenance and downtime (73%) was the most frequently cited, followed by the complexity of testing requirements (63%), time-consuming sample preparation (60%), keeping up with changing regulation (52%), and the need for better data management (50%).
Productivity was one of the main themes of the survey. More than half of the respondents indicated that they would like to improve productivity by increasing the reliability of their results, implementing new technologies, and maximizing the use of already installed instruments. The following were cited as factors that limit productivity:
Most laboratories today are faced with a high volume (500–1000) of samples to process each week, and 45% of survey respondents have said that there is pressure to increase the number of samples over and above their current processing figure.
Forty-one percent of respondents indicated the need to optimize workflow. It was reported that the main strategic changes that can be introduced to enable this are improving productivity and throughput as well as streamlining processes to manage growing workloads.
Approximately one in five lab managers consider lab size/footprint to be a challenge affecting their lab's performance and operations. Of those, 75% believe that space-saving designs of instruments could help overcome this issue.
The top two personal goals of laboratory managers globally are to develop their staff and expand the services they provide. They highlighted the need to improve working environments for staff and increase their customer base.