Coordination & Strong Communication-Pillars of success of Laboratory Operations

Harmony and cordial relations between individuals and groups play an important role in streamlined and efficient operations in an organization. The same holds true for a laboratory where different individuals play defined roles and unless there is a close coordination between them the output will be chaotic and unproductive.

Communication and Coordination between laboratory analysts.

Communication and Coordination between laboratory analysts.

A laboratory comprises of several groups of individuals having individual responsibilities and job functions .Close coordination is a must between them to lessen or even eliminate low laboratory throughputs, customer complaints, and frustrations on account of non-achievement of targets.

Good communication among employees and management promotes a friendly work environment and helps achieve positive growth patterns in terms of business and credibility among clients. The article offers some suggestions on how close coordination between different sets of laboratory individuals contributes to overall operations.

Analyst to Analyst

A laboratory has several analysts who are assigned different responsibilities matching their expertise and qualifications. In addition, they are provided adequate training as per their job requirements. A laboratory manager assigns individual tasks to all depending on requirements on daily basis. However, due to the availability of limited resources need for sharing often arises. The analysts should be flexible and accommodate each other for sharing labware and systems with proper planning so that their assigned schedules get disturbed minimally. Analysis of the same sample for several parameters calls for close coordination between different analysts and even with those from other sections. All analysts should communicate and coordinate their activities so as to complete the analysis within committed timeframes.

Analyst to QC Manager

The QC Manager is responsible for strict compliance with analysis methods laid down in the standard test procedures. He should assist the analysts with the planning of their daily tasks and ensure that there are no test procedure deviations unless such deviations are authorized by competent authorities.

Analyst to QA Manager

 The QA Manager assures the quality of results obtained to the clients. He is responsible for compliance of procedures with the established global guidelines and standards. The QA Manager also has to coordinate with suppliers and vendors to ensure that the quality of procured materials and goods is as per approved specifications.

Analyst to Purchase Manager                                                        

It is very important for the analyst to communicate his requirements to the Purchase Manager well in advance. The indent approved by the laboratory manager should provide complete details such as the make of item, technical specifications, catalog number, etc so as to minimize back and forth clarifications on requirements with the purchasing department. The purchase manager should make it a point to inform the lead time to the analyst. The communication should be through approved indents as verbal requests serve little purpose.

Analyst to Sanitation Staff

Sanitation staff is often required to undertake more specialized tasks in addition to routine brooming and mopping. Based on the hazardous nature of spills the analyst should properly guide the sanitation worker on safe procedures for cleaning up such spills. The same applies to the cleanup of waste bins containing hazardous chemical or microbiological waste materials.

Analyst to Stores Manager

The Stores Manager receives and stores items ordered by the Purchase Manager. He is responsible for safe storage and should also inform receipt of items ordered by the concerned analyst. Such communication would help reduce hold-ups due to non-availability of items by the analyst even after they reach the laboratory.

QC Manager to QA Manager

Communication between QC and QA Managers plays a significant role. The QA Manager based on his expertise and experience should offer his suggestions on any problems faced by the QC division. He should coordinate with QC Manager on compliance with mandatory requirements such as periodic calibration and maintenance of instruments, validation of standards, consumption records of reagents, standards, spares, and consumables so that fresh supplies can be arranged based on consumption patterns.

Production Manager to QC Manager

In the industrial environment, the Production Manager is mainly concerned with uninterrupted production schedules. This requires close coordination and prior intimation of analysis requirements to the QC Manager so that any shortcomings can be resolved and at same time quality standards are also maintained.

QC Manager to Commercial Manager

The Commercial Manager is responsible for regular inflow of revenues which is possible only if reports are released in time, materials are despatched as per committed timelines after completion of stipulated test procedures. This calls for close interaction and constant followup with the QC Manager.

Instrument User to Instrument Supplier

Instrument user should communicate honestly instrument failures and breakdown details supported by user logs to servicing representatives of the supplier. The responsibilities of the instrument supplier do not come to an end once systems are delivered and installed. The instrument supplier should keep the user updated with innovations, recommended inventories of spare parts and software upgradations.

Customer Care Executives to Clients

A customer care executive serves as an interface between the client and the laboratory. The executive has to maintain politeness in his communications and ensure all required details are made available to chemist before analysis is taken up. On the other hand, he should be able to communicate the progress of the analysis on his own while avoiding direct contact between the client with the analyst.

Laboratory Manager to HR Manager

The laboratory Manager should communicate his manpower requirements to the HR Manager well in advance after seeking approval of top management. The HR Manager, in turn, should contact prospective candidates from his database and arrange selection interviews with the Laboratory Manager.

Laboratory Manager to Laboratory Head

Strong communication and coordination link between Laboratory head and Laboratory manager are crucial for the sustenance of efficient laboratory operations. The Laboratory Manager should keep the Laboratory Head appraised of accomplished targets, shortfalls, need for upgradation of existing facilities, manpower requirements and related issues. Such deliberations are a must for improvements of operations.

 In the end, it can be summarized that all laboratory staff is like members of a family and close communication and coordination for improvements should be encouraged. Periodic review and implementation of suggestions forwarded during brainstorming sessions will certainly leave scope for advancements and sustained growth.

About Dr. Deepak Bhanot

Dr Deepak Bhanot is a seasoned professional having nearly 30 years expertise beginning from sales and product support of analytical instruments. After completing his graduation and post graduation from Delhi University and IIT Delhi he went on to Loughborough University of Technology, UK for doctorate research in analytical chemistry. His mission is to develop training programs on analytical techniques and share his experiences with broad spectrum of users ranging from professionals engaged in analytical development and research as well as young enthusiasts fresh from academics who wish to embark upon a career in analytical industry.

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