Lab Manager actions while physical distancing and COVID19 Supply Chain Updates 4/15

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.

Courier Updates

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.

COVID19 Supply Chain updates 4/8

Life sciences suppliers are still largely operational and working, albeit a bit slower than usual as they work to manage processing orders while protecting their own workers as much as possible.

PPE supplies remain tight. Gloves are more available than masks, gowns and sleeves.

Supply Chain Updates

Charles River and The Jackson Laboratory

Animal deliveries affected (via an email from Charles River):

  • As of 4/13 will not be making animal deliveries on Wednesdays in the Bay area
  • Throughout the rest of the week, they are making fewer stops along their routes.
  • Delivery times will be earlier than usual as well given their reduced delivery schedule.
  • Jax has a resources page for managing animals, including cryoperservation and pre-ordering for when labs re-open
  • Jax is also sending around a truck on April 13th and 20th in the San Francisco Bay Area if a lab wants mouse strains picked up for cryppreservation (contact to inquire).

VWR (could be affecting other suppliers as well)

Some suppliers are experiencing a high volume of unauthorized returns (i.e. couriers unable to deliver and returning items to sender).

  • VWR has told us they have a lot of returns they are sorting through
  • If you *need* an item you ordered, they recommend placing a new order while they sort things out.
  • As always, call the supplier to talk to the shipping compay regarding misrouted/returned packages.
  • VWR has cancelled PPE orders drop shipping from manufacturers like 3M due to high demand. 3M is essentially refusing the VWR purchase orders.
    • This is evidence that suppliers are prioritizing fulfillment for hospitals/companies directly involved in working on COVID-19.


  • Fisher Scientific now has a statement on their site akin to what most other suppliers have said about prioritizing PPE orders for customers directly doing work on COVID-19.
  • As with other suppliers, take extra time to order and note the full name of a recipient and let the supplier know a location is open to deliveries.

Twist Bioscience

Twist Bioscience is the first supplier we have seen to actively state they will accept an order and delay shipment until a lab re-opens. If you ask when placing an order, some suppliers will do this for the scientific community even if not stated as openly as Twist Bioscience did.

Courier Updates

Couriers are operating as they were last week and still working to sort out non-delivered packages (often just returning to sender). Get in touch with the supplier to attempt to re-route any packages. See our last post for how couriers are being affected.

The Happi Note

Suppliers are managing this and as essential businesses in response to COVID-19, remain open.

Keep washing hands and ensure that surfaces are properly cleaned. Production Automation Corporation has gathered guidelines for cleaning surfaces to mitigate COVID-19 spread (though note: these are recommendations based on what we know has worked against other coronaviruses and can reasonably be expected to work as well against SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID-19).

If you have extra supplies, Biocom has a site of places requesting items and to register if you are needing supplies.

HappiLabs is contining to monitor the supply chain and is still working along with our partners to help scientists during this pandemic.

#LabShopping Tip 6: Shop at Amazon for Scientific Supplies

Let’s get straight to the point…we are happy to see Amazon entering labs. They are nice competition for the monster distributors that exist, they have free shipping on most orders, and their return policy is the best in the Life Science industry.

Shop for lab supplies at Amazon

Supplies we recommend you buy from Amazon:

  1. Gloves. They are fairly priced and with the free shipping, you can’t beat it. We recommend the Aurelia brand of latex and nitrile gloves.
  2. General and common lab supplies, such as beakers, stir bars, basic centrifuges, spatulas, and tube racks.
  3. And it won’t be long until consumables like PCR plates, conical tubes, and pipette tips are competitively priced.

Last, pay the $75 for Amazon Prime. It’ll be worth it for 2-day free shipping.

For more tips, see the #LabShopping hashtag or view previous posts.


Lab Shopping Deals of Week 13 of 2014

Welcome to our new Wednesday series where we’ll post the best lab supply deals from around the internet.

Part of shopping for lab supplies is finding the best prices of lab equipment and consumables. To help do this the HappiLabs team is going through vendor promotions and providing recommendations for the best deals out there.

This week we are highlighting three promotions.

  1. The USA Scientific catalog has deals and special offers on general lab consumables valid through May 31st
  2. The Daigger mini centrifuge is 30% off, making the price $204 through April 30th.
  3. Shopping for a new pipette? Utilize Eppendorf’s pipette trade-in program. You can trade-in your used pipettor of any brand for a new Eppendorf pipettor at a discounted price.

Tune in next week for more deals. And check in on Tuesday for #LabShopping Tips.

If you want help with searching or shopping for lab supplies, contact us.

Can 3-D printing reduce the supplies costs of scientists?

In the last several years, 3D printing has progressed to the point where the cost of printers and consumables is within the range of a modest laboratory’s budget. A 3D printer, with the ability to produced custom lab supplies on demand, can be a cost-effective addition to your research. Many lab supplies and consumables can be printed directly as needed. We went through Thingiverse, an open-source database of 3D printing designs, and found three of our favorite cost-saving lab tools.

IMG_1709_preview_featured1. 96-microwell plate. The workhorse of many biomedical and genetics laboratories, according to our forthcoming HappiLabs survey of PCR supplies, the average cost for a commercial plate is $3.44 (sign up to receive the full HappiLabs PCR Report). This alternative can be printed for a few cents worth of filament.

biorad_miniprotean_comb_preview_featured2. Gel Combs. Gel electrophoresis is a simple way to visualize and filter DNAs and other proteins. The little combs needed to create wells in the gel are easy to break, even easier to lose, and expensive to replace. Replacement combs from Fisher go for $73.15. BioExpress is only slightly better at $65.93. Why pay such an exorbitant markup when, with a little 3D printing skill, you can replace broken gel combs for pennies?

bild_preview_featured3.Laboratory Pipette. Granted, a 3D printed pipettor isn’t going to have the precision of a $333.50 Pipetman Classic, yet, but not every experiment demands sub-micrometer precision. For labs that need to transfer fluids but don’t require extremely high precision, a 3D printed pipettor might be the cost-effective choice.

The cost of the 3D printer itself is the biggest barrier to incorporating one into a research lab. That cost is shrinking every month and the latest models can produce high-quality products for less than $1000. A single printer, shared among multiple labs, could result in a major reduction in the cost of laboratory consumables.

If you want help shopping for lab supplies and equipment to cut your costs, give us a call –> Contact Us