Managing a lab research facility efficiently is difficult—on a good day. On a bad day, employees call in sick, spaces don’t get cleaned, researchers aren’t informed about a last-minute room change, and auditors appear at the worst possible moment. One surprise or miscommunication can set off a domino effect of confusion and inefficiency. Not only is it overwhelming, but resources are wasted.
Tracking everything with spreadsheets, print-outs, and white boards is challenging because they’re static and don’t reflect changes in real time. Lab facility management software provides an easier, more dynamic way to collaborate and react to the unexpected. Everyone benefits, from facilities directors and supervisors to researchers and health technicians.
Here are five major benefits of lab facility management software:
1. Saves time and increases efficiency
Software makes it easier to track everything in real time. With remote, cloud-based access, staff and stakeholders can log in at home or during the morning commute to check in and see exactly what’s going on. Critical information is available at a glance, so facility schedulers can monitor the real-time status of every room, rack, and cage.
Lab facility management software also increases efficiency by automating common processes. Completed services are automatically calculated so billing is easier. Procurement processes can be automated, so after an investigator places an order, workflows can route it to supervisors and buyers so nothing is forgotten. When procurement requests have faster turnaround, principal investigators (PIs) can get started with research sooner.
2. Reduces error
Not only do automated processes help save time, but they also track details behind the scenes that are sometimes overlooked, such as protocol debits and credits during census activities. Completely paper-based systems are vulnerable to error—someone writes down the wrong thing, handwriting is hard to read, or papers get lost. Lab facility management software helps prevent those mistakes, as well as delivering more accurate billing and reporting.
3. Helps you stay in compliance
Record-keeping at a research facility can be difficult, even if it’s partially computer-based. Between hard copies of forms and certificates, files on disorganized hard drives, and mountains of manila folders, it can be a nightmare to find the exact information you need when you (or auditors) need it. Yet without that access, compliance can be compromised.
With lab facility management software, reporting takes minutes instead of days, so inspection and audit requests can be filled quickly. There’s one central place for electronic signatures, health records, protocol data, billing, and staff training certifications. That centralized system makes it easier for training coordinators and management to verify that staff have the required training for any activity, which limits risk and ensures adherence to program compliance guidelines.
4. Leads to better planning
When you’re scrambling to keep up with the day-to-day, it’s hard to imagine long-term budget forecasting or staffing projections. Electronic lab facility management makes this possible by providing visibility into the past, present, and future. You can run reports on historical trends, identify patterns, and accurately project staff fluctuations. That way, it’s easy to maintain total coverage for rooms, equipment, and assignments regardless of scheduling changes such as vacation time or emergencies.
5. Improves staff communication
Typically, lab facility management software includes mobile and tablet access, and staff can see their daily schedules on their mobile devices before arriving onsite. That way, they know what to expect upon arrival to work. If problems arise, all staff members can report issues through easy incident reporting.
Researchers can also see all of the details and progress of their invoices, expiring accounts, and procurement orders from a homepage dashboard, so they don’t have to call the Business Office as much. This increased access and transparency for everyone contributes to higher productivity and morale. Who doesn’t like that?
As you can see, electronic lab facility management can make a highly complex operation simpler and more efficient. To learn more about how lab management software can help you, check out Cayuse’s facilities solutions here or request a demo today.