When Things Go Wrong: shipping updates on your lab orders

When things go wrong with a lab order

Ordering lab supplies is not always as easy as:

  1. Find the item you need
  2. Place the order
  3. Receive the order

Between steps 2 and 3, a lot can go wrong –> the wrong item arrives, the item arrives damaged, and/or the item doesn’t arrive on time and the supplier didn’t notify you. An ETA of October 12 might mean October 23.

What we’re about to tell you is especially important for biotech startups and founders who came from academia and are used to university purchasing or a lab manager handling this task for them. Be prepared for this….

When ordering items, it is important to know what is in stock with the distributor and what is shipped direct from their manufacturer. Generally, shipping estimates for warehouse items that are in stock with the distributor are accurate and rarely a problem. However, shipping estimates for items that ship direct from manufacturers tend to be less accurate because the distributor doesn’t do a good job of communicating with their manufacturer.

Wrong shipping estimates will put your experiments on hold for days or even….weeks!!

Therefore, as a rule of thumb, when placing an order with a distributor, find out if your order is shipping direct from a manufacturer. If so, contact the manufacturer first to confirm that they have the items in stock and ready to ship. Do not trust the distributor to do this for you, although, smaller distributors are much better at this than larger ones.

Staying on top of shipping estimates will help you keep your experimental scheduling on track as your runway of funding shortens.

If you don’t have time to do this, that’s when you hire a Virtual Lab Manager.

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