We are grateful for our scientists, suppliers, and accountants.
The Virtual Lab Manager team at HappiLabs sends thank you cards to scientists, individuals at suppliers, operations managers, and accountants that genuinely help us in our work to make scientists happy and improve the quality of their research.
We thank scientists for being scientists working to improve our world and our lives.
HappiLabs knows it takes a team and special effort to change the world and we say thank you to those helping us do that.
Quantities matter in science. Ordering the requisite items for present experimental needs is efficient, avoids clutter, and reduces waste.
The language of quantities when ordering lab supplies, however, is often ambiguous:
“Order a tube of Taq.”
“Get three boxes of serological pipettes.”
Some suppliers are easy with quantities designated by unique catalog numbers (Thank you NEB and Biolegend).
Some make it harder.
Each, Pack, and Case
Each, pack, and case can all be considered a box of an item and sometimes one catalog number corresponds to all three tiers (e.g. some listings at VWR).
Packs and cases can also contain single items. Requesting a case of media supplied one bottle per case will result in receiving one bottle. Unless the request was stated in number of bottles, less media than requested will arrive.
The good news there: ordering more is easier than having too much and trying to return some.
Item quantities are variable and every supplier is slightly different.
Check the Amount
Virtual Lab Managers meticulously checks quantity when ordering.
Asking the requestors to clarify is a best practice:
“This media is sold 1 bottle/case. Do you need more than one bottle?”
“A case contains 3,000 syringes. Do you need that many?”
In your lab, who is responsible for negotiating prices, placing orders, following up on them, and tracking receipts for proper accounting?
If you answer “the scientists”, your lab is in a lot of trouble. For people who are not trained to manage money, negotiate, and understand accounting…does this make sense? No. And your lab is losing time (and boatloads of money) over it.
Welcome to the future! Where the purchasing role of the lab, and most lab manager duties, are available for outsourcing, allowing scientists to spend more time on science–what they are trained to do.