Designing and building your own laboratory is no small thing. It is perhaps the greatest asset that a scientific or industrial organisation could have. Often manufacturers, institutions, industrial organisations, and those in the medical field rely on the lab for quality, research, and the consequent success of operations in either sector. Therefore, designing your lab must be done properly to maintain the efficiency, success, and capability of the organisation.

Employee Input in Decision-Making

The more actual laboratory workers you can have injecting inspiration and ideas into the laboratory designing process, the better. No-one knows the laboratory flaws or strengths better than the workers themselves. As with any workplace, small investments in comfort or convenience for employees are not merely extra cost on a realistic budget, but a small thing that will make a big difference. Small conveniences for staff will ultimately allow them to focus more on the task at hand rather than the presence of inconveniences and increase the efficiency of the worker.

However, while employees will be useful, the real efficiency in the laboratory will come from the holistic design, where crucial efficiency metrics will improve with workflow analyses and lean designs.

Maximum Efficiency using the LEAN Principles

Optimising the processes involved in laboratory workflows is the crucial step in planning your new lab. For example, clinical diagnostics processes such as pathology-related testing require specific sequences and processes. Samples will enter in one area, be passed from one process to the next, and ultimately end up with testing complete at the other end of the process.

From the phlebotomist to the cytotechnologist, processes must minimise waste in all areas. Minimal waste is the denominator to maximum efficiency. The pathologist relies on the efficiency of the lab to generate accurate diagnoses and maintain financial profitability and thus the lab itself as an investment must be designed to maximise performance and ROI.

The laboratory design in most cases directly facilitates processes. Particularly if the pathology uses a range of equipment and processes, e.g. automated processes, the layout of joinery and furniture is the key in enabling or disabling the process.

To maximise efficiency, the design must cater for minimal movement of staff, minimal use of resources, and maximum throughput. Patients’ outcomes often rely on the performance of a pathology and thus this is arguably the most crucial step in the design process. Therefore, consider it indispensable, and use strategy. Another key requirement in this step is the use of a reputable laboratory design specialist. Rather than employing a regular commercial architect (unless they have adequate experience), who lack the needed knowledge of laboratory requirements, use specialists in lab design to ensure that the laboratory’s design potential is not needlessly wasted on financial resource.

Westlab’s Projects Team are well-equipped and well-versed in laboratory design and have maximised efficiency for many organisations and provided increased return on investment. For more information on LEAN processes and laboratory design, contact our specialists.

About Westlab Pty Ltd

Since 1993, Westlab has been dedicated to supplying the laboratory sector with innovative and reliable products and services. The company has built a solid reputation as a reputable provider with a focus on exceptional customer support.

In 2011 Westlab introduced its Projects division to leverage on its extensive knowledge in the laboratory industry and deliver further value to clients. Westlab’s Projects division focuses on providing organisations with laboratory design, modular furniture and joinery solutions.

Some of the sectors where Westlab offers its solutions include Universities, School science and STEM facilities, TAFE, Quality Assurance, Research facilities, Pathology, Life sciences and Physical testing laboratories.

Westlab is an ISO 9001 certified company and strives to deliver fast, friendly and hassle-free service to the science industry (guaranteeing global quality solutions at competitive rates).