With today’s rapidly changing business environment and the availability of outsourced services, businesses need to know the benefits of outsourcing their laboratory activities versus establishing an in-house laboratory.
In-House Laboratory Challenges
Some challenges associated to operating an in-house lab are:
- The incredibly high cost associated with training personnel, operational man-hours, consistent problems of employee turnover and retraining. (Clark, 2013)
- There are typically few employees trained to run all the various instrumentation needed to obtain accurate data.
- We have observed multiple situations where companies have invested heavily in the equipment and training of personnel to set up an in-house lab, only to lose their personnel and have the program fall by the wayside. (Hetherington, 2003)
- In-house labs are often under-utilized and can deliver the lowest return on capital deployed in the company. (Brett, 2003)
- Most in-house labs don’t have the same caliber of reporting software that an off-site lab would have. In-house reporting software falls short when trying to manage reports, trend data longitudinally and having the ability to filter reports by severity.
- Another major challenge for in-house oil analysis is overcoming the problems associated to an OEM honoring a systems warranty. OEM’s do not typically accept the results of an in-house lab when there is a warranty concern. A proper oil analysis program through a certified off-site lab is a stipulation of warranties. Establishing a relation with an off-site lab is beneficial to have the data to uphold warranties. (Clark, 2013)
Outsourced Laboratory Benefits
Using an independent outsourced lab generally has the following benefits:
- High quality off-site laboratories follow the industry standard American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) test methods. In doing so, the off-site lab will be maintaining a strict quality control program to ensure that results are repeatable.
- An off-site lab will typically have a higher quality of test data and will use more accurate equipment. In addition to more accurate testing equipment, calibration of their equipment is performed daily to ensure accurate results.
- They will interpret results based on an extensive database of test data (greater than one million samples) for a wide range of equipment in various operating conditions and environments. (Hetherington, 2003)
- In addition to the vast amounts of data, off-site labs also employ certified professionals to make recommendations based off data and to help consult if there are any questions.
- By outsourcing your laboratory needs, you are able to invest your resources back into your company and focus on your core value proposition and focus on what you do best.
- Outsourcing provides powerful operational and financial tools to help streamline operations and increase quality. Companies are able to save on total cost, investment and man power (Brett, 2003)
Since 1989, PetrolinkUSA has established partnerships with over 400 companies throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, assisting them in the development and support of an oil analysis program. In addition, PetrolinkUSA offers reconditioning services and plant-wide preventative maintenance programs
Brett, Caleb. “The Outsourcing Laboratory” www.intertek-cb.com, 2003.
Hetherington, Paul. “Round Table: Off-Site Labs, Industry Professionals Voice Their Opinions about Off-Site OIl Analysis” Machinery Lubrication. Machinery Lubrication, 1 January 2003. Web.
Clark, Randy. (May 1, 2003). Email Interview.