4 Processes to Plan For When Moving Your Lab

free shipping for lab supplies

Recently, we were requested to help move one of our labs to a new location. There are a handful of processes that need to be managed accordingly to most efficiently spend your time and money. After interviewing several biotech companies about their moving experiences, here are four processes you need to plan for:

1) Address updates. You will need to visit all of your online accounts for suppliers (Amazon, Fisher, Sigma, Pipette.com, etc.) and change your shipping address. Some companies require an official letter from management to confirm the new address (Sigma requires this).

HappiLabs hire a virtual lab manager2) Packaging. You need boxes, bubble wrap, tape, razor blades, and a few other essentials. How much do you need? Where do you get it? What about the big equipment, like a centrifuge….how do you move that w/o disrupting its internal components and possibly the warranty?

3) Non-shared Equipment needs. If you’re moving from a location that utilized shared equipment (like an incubator or accelerator), you might not have access to certain large pieces of equipment anymore, like refrigerated centrifuges, sequencers, or -80 freezers. You’ll need to put together a list of your needs and budget to buy them.

4) Logistics. Now that everything is packed up, how do you move everything? You might want to save money and do this yourself. Don’t. Hire a professional. They will probably provide most of the packaging as well.

How to shop for expensive 384-well plates

Photo from Sigma Aldrich website

We work with several biotech companies who are developing high-throughput processes for identifying drug candidates. Therefore we’ve spent much time shopping for 384-well plates. Pricing for plates is EXPENSIVE and variable. If you don’t pay attention, you might spend $903.22 instead of $565.20.

Here is a list of 6 companies that sell 384-well plates with black walls, transparent bottom, sterile, and a lid. These companies sell the EXACT SAME product (#781687 from BrandTech). If you use these types of plates, you have the decision to buy for:

Who would you buy from?

Keep in mind, this is “List Price” and some organizations/companies/universities receive a discount and/or “free shipping” from certain suppliers, but it still doesn’t bring you down to the Pipette.com price.

As one former Sigma employee told us, “You’d be surprised at how many scientists pay list price.”

Here is a list of plates on clearance at BrandTech Scientific: Clearance, Discounted, and Overstock Web Specials

PAY ATTENTION to your lab shopping and your funding will last longer.

Lab Shopping: Barcode labeling options

Recently we’ve been shopping for a barcoding system for two of our customers. This post is a summary of our findings. For bar code labeling, we have 3 options.
lab shopping tips for virtual lab managers (photo from Brady Corporation)

1. Semi-auto and fully automated bar code labeling

This option is best suited for high-volume labeling of microplates. Typically, for labs that will label hundreds of microplates per month or more.

Examples include:
The price range is typically $20K-$30K, depending on brand and configuration of options.
A bar code reader/scanner is not included and is purchased separately. Stand alone bar code readers/scanners range in price from $50-$300, depending on configuration.

2. Manual bar code labeling

For labs that are labeling smaller volumes of microplates, such as 100’s per month, bar code labeling kits that include a small thermal printer, software and label accessories are a good option.
Such kits can be obtained from vendors such as:
Pricing for these printer/accessories/software bundles is generally in the range of $800-$1000.
Bar code readers/scanners can be bundled with the bar code labeling kits or purchased separately. Pricing, as mentioned above, ranges from $50-$300.

3. Custom bar code labeling services from vendor

This option is basically an outsourced custom bar code labeling of microplates. The lab specifies labeling options and custom number IDs to the vendor, who then bar code labels microplates for end user.
Services are offered by vendors such as:
Pricing for these services varies and is dictated by the number of microplates ordered. Generally, expect about $0.50 per plate or tube.

If you have questions, contact our Virtual Lab Managers at hello@happilabs.org.