When it comes to lab management, what comes to mind should be managing a lab, right? However, there are many other things that need managing in order to manage a lab. Below we will discuss what to consider, from the scientists to supplies.
First off, whether you are new to a particular lab, or have been managing it for some time, it is crucial to make sure you are familiar with it. You will be peoples’ first port of call when it comes to questions, be it about equipment, supplies or protocols.
As a lab manager, it is your duty to know the ins and outs of the lab. As well as being able to advise others on it. This ranges from knowing how to use the equipment, everyone working in the lab, the regulations needing to be followed, supplies procurement and data handling.
The people working in the lab are ultimately the ones driving it forward. Without the scientists, the lab would cease in all senses. Getting to know them will help in terms of organizing projects or teamwork and enabling collaboration between them.
Another part of your work will be training the scientists and lab technicians in how to work in and with the lab. In order to do this effectively, you will need to know how much expertise they have already in the relevant areas. Knowing how they are best trained is also key. This is in terms of whether theory- or practice-based training works best before they start the research.
Never stop improving your lab! Even when you have the best of the best scientists, there is always room for improvement. Note, this does not mean criticism, but how you are all able to become even better at what you do.
This means supporting and training your team where necessary, enabling them to excel. You should also assess yourself on occasion, to see what is working well and what you can improve in yourself. By also making yourself the best lab manager you can be, your scientists will see that you are committed to them and the lab, which is motivating.
Another task you will be in charge of is likely the allocating of resources and scheduling use time for your scientists. It is likely that there are more people than resources, so planning the rotation of them is important to ensure a smooth workflow. This also links to scheduling who should actually be in the lab when and which equipment they will be using.
You may also need be procuring supplies or preparing the ordering lists to be passed onto the procurement team. This requires a complete knowledge of what you have in the lab at all times. Having a system to keep track of equipment and supplies is key in doing this. This is where we, labfolder, can come in handy. Not only is a digital lab notebook needed for data logging, but it can also be used as a material database; explained more below.
If there are experiments that are often repeated in your lab, make sure there are readily available templates for scientists to work from. This should make the learning process quicker and the lab run more efficiently. Since, if your scientists are able to refer to preexisting documents, they can save time and become more independent when working.
Having SOPs for the equipment, tools and software will also help the lab run more smoothly. They help in concreting your teams’ training and ensure they continue to carry out procedures correctly and safely. Again, using labfolder can make life easier for you here, keeping reading to see how.
When managing your lab, having a little help can go a long way. This can be in the form of labfolder, your digital lab notebook. Not only can you easily create and share templates, but you have somewhere where groups can be overseen, you have one single place for data to be stored and one platform to communicate on. The material database further aids in keeping track of your inventory and makes organizing it easier.
Whether your team is large or small, being able to manage them, their data and the lab supplies in one platform will speed up and simplify the process substantially. So, what are you waiting for?