Lab Manager Actions
Here are some action items HappiLabs recommends while operations at the lab are limited:
- Chemical inventory (and gathering SDSs that are missing)
- Take refresher courses on safety and operations
- Inventory and document capital equipment on site
- Gather serial numbers, warranty expiry dates, service agreements, and maintenance contact info on a spreadsheet
- Plan to start up again (make a plan for people to ramp up work
- Including getting orders in place where possible (some suppliers will hold them until you’re up and running again)
- Review suppliers/supplies currently used and shop around for better pricing/quality (sales reps are pretty responsive just now)
- Catch up on reading papers
- Do technical research on supplies/equipment that might be needed
- Ensure any equipment not in use is properly shut down (e.g. BSCs)
Supply Chain Updates
Per our last updates, suppliers are mostly operating and processing orders.
They are practicing physical distancing and operations are a bit slower than usual.
Reminder that some suppliers are considering all sales final and not accepting returns due to COVID-19.
And some suppliers are noting that FedEx and UPS are no longer guaranteeing delivery.
Couriers continue to operate, but note they are still missing deliveries, at times only making one attempt before returning to sender. Last-mile delivery is still the biggest current issue.
FedEx and UPS, as we have noted are also not guaranteeing delivery and not offering reimbursement for lost packages.
If you do need an order processed, let the supplier know that the your lab is open and accepting deliveries and post signage at your delivery entrance to signal to delivery drivers deliveries are being accepted.
The Happi Note
Biocom is maintaining a list of institutions needs for PPE that are working on the COVID-19 front lines. If you have excess, consider donating.
There is a similar list of institutions in need in Illinois and a team is working to match those with supply to those with demand.
HappiLabs is continuing to monitor the effects on the scientific supply chain and continuing to help scientists get the quality items they need to continue their research.
Support Virtual Lab Manager at a growing life science company
If you have experience with lab management, purchasing, basic accounting, or customer service, apply!
HappiLabs is a small business with a startup mentality in Chicago that provides a service to scientists called the Virtual Lab Manager. We support scientists in various ways, virtually, which includes acting as an outsourced purchasing department (some might say a Personal Shopper) for biotech companies and scientific research labs.
We have a mission: to improve the happiness of scientists and the quality of their research.
By helping scientists do their job, we are helping all the people on the planet who benefit from inventions, creations, and knowledge that scientists create.
You will work out of our Chicago office where you’ll support our Virtual Lab Managers (who are PhDs or long-time lab managers) as they manage labs across the country. You will be interacting with suppliers, freight companies, accountants and scientists.
You will be trained to be one of the best lab managers in the world.
A strong candidate will have one of these backgrounds:
- Lab manager or tech experience in a lab
- Logistics or customer service experience (does not need to be in the sciences)
- Purchaser or bookkeeper
- Minimum Bachelor’s degree
- Utilize various apps and software for managing labs
- Communicate with suppliers (sales reps, technical help & customer service) to obtain pricing and technical info, place orders, retrieve order updates, and solve logistics and supply chain problems
- Keep detailed accounting records
- Report progress and solve problems at team meetings
Looking to start now, preferably in Chicago.
- Full-time, salary
- $35-55k, depending on experience
- Medical and Dental health benefits
- Company swag, coffee and snacks at the office, and weekly lunch
SKILLS AND TRAITS YOU SHOULD HAVE
We want a long-term commitment, someone who will help a small company grow into a large one.
- Tech savvy (very good with a computer, its keyboard and multiple monitors)
- Proactive mentality – help without being asked to help, and an ability to predict problems
- Knowledge of hardware or mechanical engineering, and/or chemistry, and/or molecular biology
- A passion for science and desire to make a difference in the world.
- Confident presence on the phone. We frequently call suppliers
===== APPLY NOW! ======
CLICK this link –> HAPPILABS JOB APPLICATION (VIA A GOOGLE FORM)
It will not hurt to connect with Tom on LinkedIn.
Ordering takes a lot of time.
The less time scientists spend in the purchasing cycle, the faster they can get back to happily focusing on science.
A HappiLabs summer intern, Lena, timed experienced Virtual Lab Managers (VLMs) placing orders online. The time ranged from just under four minutes to over seven. An average of six minutes per order may not seem like much, but it quickly adds up with multiple orders a day.
The VLM team are scientists and purchasing experts. HappiLabs frees scientists’ time to do research and innovate.
It is our intention to put a lot more importance on a very undervalued position.
The lab manager.
It shouldn’t be a position mixing operations with too much science. A lab manager needs to focus on operations, and if they are doing experiments too, your lab is going to be less efficient than the ones using a Virtual Lab Manager to support the people focused on science.
A good lab manager should be extremely proficient with a computer and apps. They will be receiving many emails, toggling through supplier websites, and communicating with everyone in the lab.
There are many reasons why a HappiLabs VLM is more efficient, but here are 3 reasons that have to do with technology:
We put our Virtual Lab Managers through training to become masters of a keyboard.
We estimate this saves a VLM at least 15 minute per day, simply by using (Command + Tab) or (Command + ~), etc. We can scroll through windows, tabs, and programs at lightning speed.
Copy, paste, scroll to the top, scroll to the bottom, undo, redo, and on and on. We aim to compete with a software developer’s mastery of a keyboard.
Logging in and out of supplier websites has never been easier, or more secure with password saving apps. Passwords don’t need to be retrieved from Excel or physical paper every time we order through Quartzy, Sigma, NEB, etc. They are automatically known. This saves 10-25 minutes per day for a busy lab.
Using multiple monitors
Every VLM has at least two monitors. One for monitoring communication (email, gchat, Slack, etc.), and the other is for other activity (googling, shopping online, analyzing quotes, etc.). By keeping a constant eye on communication, a VLM will respond quicker to all your scientists’ needs.
And a small shoutout to Moom. When analyzing multiple windows of data or comparing several quotes, resizing windows so you can see them all on one page is fast…HappiLabs fast.
THANK YOU FOR READING
Some feedback we’ve received recently was about new hires in the lab we work for. Scientists new to HappiLabs do not always know how to use their Virtual Lab Manager. Everyone knows us as the purchaser (“Hey HappiLabs, can you order more gloves?”), but don’t know our other features.
Therefore, let us clarify 4 things you can use us for. Our main goal is to absorb as many 5-20 minute tasks as possible for scientists. We staff PhDs who have been in the lab, understand the language, and have empathy for the difficulty of your job. Therefore, we want to help you, and it’s in our mission.
Do you find yourself googling or scanning supplier websites for pricing info, specs, availability, or features of products? Leave that to us. Don’t waste 20 minutes on the phone with tech support. Ask us to help. You can have that time to get back in the lab or in your office analyzing data.
Sample questions to ask your Virtual Lab Manager:
- Can you find out what the limit is for centrifuging Greiner 96-well flat bottom plates?
- Can you look into fridge shelving options for these microcentrifuge tube racks?
- Can you find a phosphoric acid source that sells by molarity (instead of volume)?
- Can you help me find a distributor for this glass/metal adhesive?
Getting quotes or pricing information
There are so many sales reps trying to win your business, it can be a distraction. They will all tell you they have the best price or offer a “deep discount,” but who do you believe? HappiLabs shops for a lot of companies/labs, therefore we know what a fair price is, and have internal knowledge about what works and if there are quality control issues with any brands.
When it comes time to finding the price of an item, let us take care of that.
This ties into budgeting. If you have to budget an experiment or equipment purchase to get approval from a manager, tell us what you want, and we’ll price it out for you.
Calling customer service
Never worry about calling 1-800…Your virtual lab manager will do it. Whether you want to follow up on an order, return an item, or complain about a product (Did you order something and it’s broken?), we will do this for you.
Ultimately, a scientist working with HappiLabs should rarely have to interact with suppliers (customer service, sales reps, and tech support).