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.
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 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.
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).
Have a generic credit application on hand. We even made a sample one you can use as a reference below. This is a document to provide basic info to a supplier about your lab that includes
Lab shipping and billing addresses,
bank info and contact
FEIN and D&B number
date founded and where it was incorporated
Contact email addresses for purchasing and invoicing
Credit applications generally also include trade/credit references. These are suppliers who can say your lab reliably pays its bills on time.
This document can also allow you to get credit terms with a supplier. Rather than pre-paying for everything with a credit card, the supplier will invoice the lab and they will have 30 days to pay that invoice by bank transfer or other means.
Suppliers Vary in Account Setup
Suppliers vary widely in their requirements to set up an account and extend Net 30 credit terms. The simplest is registering online and ordering (Amazon). Some suppliers require more work to set up account, but extend terms immediately (Thermofisher). Some are draconian, requiring the most stringent requirements like multiple bank accounts to check as well as full financials of the lab (BD Biosciences).
Some account set up requirements are negotiable, some aren’t. No matter what though, a generic credit app will save your lab time in getting set up to order with suppliers.
Glossary of useful terms
FEIN – Federal employer identification number (like social security number for a business)
A virtual lab manager spends about 4 hours of their day navigating supplier websites. Placing orders, checking prices, hunting for tracking numbers, comparing product specs. The efficiency of a website influences decisions about which suppliers we do business with.
Many suppliers have brain cramping UX, but a few have done a great job with optimizing the user experience. Here’s what they do well.
3 Suppliers and What we love about them
1. Automatic email updates
New England BioLabs. Well known as @NEB. We love your automatic email updates for order confirmations, shipping updates, and invoices. Thank you for making our life easier.
McMaster also gets a shoutout for automatic email updates.
2. Online chat
Integrated DNA Technologies. Well known as @IDT. Your online chat has been very helpful recently with customer service. Quicker than a phone call. Friendly.
Amazon. Well known as Amazon. We heart you for many things. But you are miles ahead of the competition when it comes to returns. Hassle free. Costless. Thank you for making it easy to receive a shipping label.
If you want help with managing your lab, contact us…