Laboratory Service & Support

August 17, 2011

E-Separation Solutions

E-Separation Solutions-08-17-2011, Volume 0, Issue 0

Laboratory service and support includes a wide variety of services that aim to maintain, restore or improve the functionality of industrial laboratories. Instrument repair is only one aspect of this complicated business area.

Laboratory service and support includes a wide variety of services that aim to maintain, restore or improve the functionality of industrial laboratories. Instrument repair is only one aspect of this complicated business area. This category involves out-of-warranty systems or parts not covered under a service contract. Preventative maintenance, calibration, validation, remote support, training, asset management, and various types of consulting are other areas where vendors can provide additional service and added value to their product offerings. As a result, the service business has become the main driver of increased revenues for some companies in the instrumentation industry.

Preparedness for Instrument Failure

Preventative maintenance is generally performed to avoid unexpected downtime, while calibration of instruments is oftentimes performed to ensure that the performance and accuracy of the systems is up to par with the regulatory and user standards.

Although thin-layer chromatography (TLC) can be fully automated, it is commonly a manual technique. Consequently, aftermarket supplies and consumables dominate the market with nearly three-fourths of the share. TLC faces competition from high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, flash chromatography.

With respect to validation, instruments must themselves be tested to ensure they are running according to the standard operating parameters. Remote support encompasses a wide variety of services including sending small instruments to a service center, phone support, internet-based instrument diagnostics and software support/services.

Laboratory asset management is generally a customized solution to track laboratory instruments, validate laboratory instruments, manage instrument maintenance, and document service histories. This has become an important part of large, multi-national companies to maintain accurate appraisals of their lab assets.

Over the past several years, many instrument vendors have successfully transformed their service business from a cost-center to a profit-center. This has been a popular trend throughout many industries, and service has changed from a necessary evil to a source of profit. However, there is significantly more room for growth and prosperity with respect to the service and support in the analytical and life science instrumentation market. According to SDi’s recently conducted survey of 269 analytical instrumentation users, nearly half of the respondents indicated that they would experience a major downtime should their most critical instrument go down. Only 15% mentioned they would be prepared and not experience any significant downtime. A few end-users indicated they would outsource their research while the instrument is being repaired.

The foregoing data were extracted and adapted from SDi’s Market Analysis and Perspective report entitled Laboratory Service and Support, Instrument Maintenance, Value Added Service, and Asset Management. For more information, contact Glenn Cudiamat, VP of Research Services, Strategic Directions International, Inc., 6242 Westchester Parkway, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90045, (310) 641-4982, fax: (310) 641-8851, e-mail:cudiamat@strategic-directions.com