What is Contract Laboratory? How Do you Choose One?
Contract Laboratories are third-party labs that accept contracts from external companies to carry out their tests. Bigger companies might have in-house laboratories with an ample staff but smaller organizations cannot perform in-house testing satisfactorily. The reason for this is simple- in-house laboratories for smaller companies have limited staff with limited knowledge and resources.
So, if you have a very out-of-the-ordinary demand that needs to fulfilled, you should opt for contract lab services instead.
The difficulty with contract laboratories, however, is that you must choose the right one. Even if you get the exact results that you wanted, telling your clients that you chose a sub-par contract laboratory can impart a dangerous blow to your company’s reputation. So, how exactly can you ensure that you are utilizing the correct contract lab services? This article will give you an answer to exactly that.
How to Choose the Right Contract Laboratory for Yourself?
Verify the Accreditation
Make sure the contract lab that you chose has an ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. This is the accreditation that globally accepted for testing laboratories.
Checking the accreditation of a contract lab is the easiest way to ensure that their services are reliable. Accreditation is the process of standardizing the quality management system. The ones who grant this accreditation make sure that they have scrutinized every last aspect of these contract labs before granting the ISO/IEC 17025. And contract laboratories constantly have to keep audited by these accreditation experts to make sure that they are sticking to the standard quality guidelines.
So, even if you are not a great auditor, you can rest assured that your products tested in a lab that follows globally accepted standards of experimentation and quality maintenance.
Make Sure They Have the Regulatory Approvals
Your product must necessarily have approvals from certain organizations if you want to introduce it to a particular industry. And this approval also depends on the contract lab services that you employed to test your product. If the testing center itself does not have regulatory approvals then the product will not approved even if it passes the testing criteria.
For example, a contract lab that is testing out products for a pharmaceutical company in India needs to approved by the Drug Control Department. Otherwise, it will not be able to issue any reports on Form 39 of The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Similarly, say you are trying to export food. Your lab needs regulatory approvals from the Agriculture and Processed Food Production Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the Export Inspection Council of India.
A Team with Prior Experience
While choosing the right Contract Laboratory services, what you need to focus on is the team. That will be running the experiments. You must have a team that has previously worked with products. Similar to yours or at least with clients in the same industry. You also need to review the experience of earlier clients. Not just this, to get the best results, you should also ensure that you have a team that correctly understands your demands. Not only is experimentation a time and effort-intensive process, but you are also spending a considerable amount of money on this. So, always start by providing a sample that illustrates the kind of services you want from them.
Also, make sure that the team you’re working with participates in regular proficiency testing programs. These are programs where hundreds of labs asked to test the same sample and provide their findings. If your lab is good at doing what it supposed to do, its results are going to belong to the realm of average results. This means that it obtained a result pretty close to one that found by the other standard high-quality labs.
Latest High-Tech Instruments
Since you’re doing this extensive research before choosing the right contract lab for yourself, it is safe to assume that. You intend to stick with them for a long time. Thus, you have to ensure that the contract lab services. That you are employing, keep investing in the latest, state-of-the-art equipment.
The lab needs to have the right infrastructure to carry out experiments in the long term. You cannot just satisfied with the results they have now. You have to make sure that the contract lab. That you are using fully equipped to keep pace with the changing scientific world. Unless the contract lab is progressive, you will end up having to switch labs after a while. And this is a disaster because the continuity of the entire process ruined.
Have your competitors used the services of this Contract Laboratory? How many repeat clients does the lab have? What has the contract lab contributed to your industry so far?
These are all questions that you need to be asking yourself while choosing a contract lab. Remember, the contract lab services you choose can make or break your business. This is exactly why you should always follow the suggestions mentioned in this list before making the final choice.