How to Improve Lab Operations
Leads to certification

How to Improve Lab Operations

Much of lab management is ensuring that the lab delivers the technical work properly. The first two courses of this track emphasize the lab manager’s role in ensuring that the lab meets its quality and safety responsibilities. The Quality Assurance course will teach lab managers the fundamentals of a lab quality program to ensure accurate output, and the Safety course will ensure the lab manager has the knowledge to create and sustain an effective safety program to keep staff healthy and whole. All labs need the equipment and instruments required to execute the science. The Asset Management course will help lab managers develop effective processes to obtain equipment, keep it running, and when to retire it. The Effectively Advocating For The Lab course will help lab managers differentiate between needs and wants, and improve their process to win support for investment in the lab. Finally, the Metrics and Productivity course will help lab managers use the data within the lab to ensure the operational objectives are met, and to recognize how to improve lab productivity, when needed.

Curriculum content

  • Effectively advocating for the lab is a critical role for the lab manager. Lab managers need to effectively prioritize the various needs, plan a strategy to communicate, advocate, and win some of what the lab needs to be successful, and influence people in the chain of command around approval decisions. To be successful, lab managers need to write effective business cases and be agile to accept the feedback from key decision makers. Learning Objectives: Build plans for approval and evaluate alternatives, Understand the approval process, Navigate the approval process and influence approvers, Effectively write a two-part business case, Learn different ways to build the trust required to gaining approval.
    • Lesson Effectively Advocating for the Lab

  • Lab safety is a critical responsibility for all lab managers. Being comfortable with the requirements and elements of lab safety is necessary to generate an effective lab safety program. The lab manager must demonstrate safety by explicitly leading from the front, following the details of the program, and working hard to improve the safety performance of the lab. Learning Objectives: List the number of fundamental elements of lab safety, Explain the responsibility of lab leaders to safety, Determine how to develop better safety habits, Explain the fundamentals of a lab safety culture, Recognize how and where to improve lab safety, Integrate the basics of emotional and psychological safety into your lab.
  • All labs want to deliver high quality science that meet the requirements of their key stakeholders. Building the appropriate quality management system (QMS) helps the lab meet these goals. The right QMS will improve the lab’s document control, documentation of appropriate processes and procedures, consistency, communication, ability to improve, and help keep the staff engaged with quality work. Learning Objectives: Understand the value of a lab quality program, Identify the elements of a lab quality program, Differentiate the benefits of some different lab quality standards, Recognize the benefits of having an accredited QMS, Describe how to prepare to be accredited.
  • Assets are the things the lab uses to create value. Labs have many different kinds of assets. The most important is the people on staff. Lab managers must invest in, effectively use, and protect the lab’s assets. Due to competing priorities, lab managers must find the right balance of investments in the assets to meet budget and deliver technical value. There can be a variety of alternatives around obtaining and maintaining the assets required by the lab. These alternatives need to be investigated to find the high-value choices.  Learning Objectives: Describe the different kinds of assets, Recognize that people are the greatest asset, Determine alternatives to obtain new equipment, Discover alternatives for repair and maintenance, Identify alternatives for instruments that are no longer needed.
  • Building effective metrics enables better setting of goals and targets, and more clear understanding of performance against those targets. Having metrics that are balanced and reinforce one another enables the lab to improve the work processes, deliver for the stakeholders, and grow the organization. Aligning the key metrics with measures of productivity enables the lab manager to focus on the things that matter. Learning Objectives: Identify the basics of lab productivity, Understand the importance of balancing metrics, Select metrics that matter most to the performance of the lab, Judge how different metrics can impact the performance of the lab, Reflect on the kinds of actions the lab manager can take to improve lab performance.