A laboratory needs to introduce high-technology through sophisticated analytical instruments. The reasons for such introductions are mainly:
- To meet increased sample workloads through automation features of sophisticated instruments
- To meet the requirements set by national and international regulatory bodies which specify use of prescribed techniques
- To reduce operational costs
Sophisticated instruments meeting your technical requirements may or may not be available from national sources and more than often you may be required to import them direct from the manufacturers abroad or through their local representatives. As in most cases third parties are involved it is advisable that you have a complete understanding of your analytical requirements before initiating the procurement process. The suggested guidelines, which may not be applicable universally, will serve to justify the heavy investment and make the new introduction an asset in your laboratory.
- Know your analytical requirements beforehand so that you are able to justify the need to your higher management
- Find out the possible sources and cost involved before you decide to put up a proposal
- Find out in advance if any clearances are needed from local authorities regarding safety and environmental concerns
- Verify the credentials of the manufacturer and the local representative on abilities to provide latest version of instrument and software, expertise for installation and commissioning and post installation maintenance support.
- Ask for updated user list and seek independent opinion of other users. It is also advisable to take a demonstration and analysis report of your sample before short listing the supplier
- The supplier should have trained manpower for imparting operational training and application support
- Commitment should be taken from the shortlisted supplier on minimum downtime
- The supplier should commit availability of essential spares for a minimum of 10 years from the date of discontinuance of the selected model
- Take pre-installation guidance in advance so that you are ready to install the system by the time your consignment arrives and you are aware of the additional costs on operational utilities
- It is a good practice not to disclose your budget allocation to the supplier as the supplier may try to undersell or oversell accordingly
- Keep your application needs always in mind before finalizing the system configuration
- You should convince yourself that you are getting the best return for your money and do negotiate in terms of prices, credit time, free of cost accessories or spares/consumables, additional training and extended warranty
- Ensure that the package is inclusive of essential spares and consumables required for trouble free operation
- The supplier should be clear on payment mode and terms. If necessary the supplier or his representative should be requested to provide assistance to your commercial department to ensure smooth transfer of funds
- In case of imported instruments the supplier should provide the necessary documentary support to enable clearance of consignment without delays through customs and under subsidized import categories. Such assistance also limits demmurage charges.
I’m sure that if you adopt the suggested guidelines you will put up a strong justified proposal for introduction of even most sophisticated instruments and your efforts will be appreciated by your management.
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