Laboratories like any other business establishments need to keep pace and grow with advances in technology and customer expectations. In brief you will need to review your operations from time to time and consider viability of expansion of your existing infrastructure. Such decisions should be based on careful evaluation of following aspects:
- Availability of space to accommodate additional manpower and advanced testing facilities
- Increased workload resulting from increase in number of test samples
- Requirement of more space for storage of samples and documentary records
- Provision of additional space for additional activities such as training, consultancy services, stability studies, animal rooms,etc
Expansion plans leave you with two choices:
Expansion of operations within existing available space
Start up of a new facility in another geographic location.
In this article some critical considerations for expansion under both the options are discussed.
Expansion within existing available facility
Expansion within the existing infrastructure framework has several advantages:
- Internal adjustments within available space is easier to plan and execute
- Local civic body approvals are already in place
- Expert manpower is available readily and opinion is freely available
- It is easy for suppliers to install new equipment when your space and utility supplies are readily available.
- Suppliers of chemicals and other commonly used items are required to continue the supplies within an existing logistics framework
- Training of additional staff is convenient because of ready availability of trained manpower
- No need to make additional arrangements for waste disposal and treatment of laboratory water discharge unless any new facility demands it.
The only disadvantage in expansion within the existing framework is lack of space. In such situations it may become difficult if not impossible to accommodate additional manpower or test facilities
Expansion into a new facility
In situations when expansion of operations within the available space is not possible extension of operations to a new facility can be considered. It can involve starting a green field project or hiring a built-up facility and making renovations as per your requirements. However, before extending your operations to a new location careful thought should be given to the following aspects:
- Does the new location have provision of basic facilities such as electricity, water for drinking and laboratory use, discharge of laboratory waste,etc
- Does the government offer subsidies like tax holidays, subsidised power, subsidised housing, low rate of interest for loans,etc
- Will the location of industries and clients in the neighbourhood sustain a viable business growth
- Is trained manpower available in the region or existing manpower would be willing to relocate
- The new setup will meet necessary local approvals for start-up of testing operations
After going in depth into such details an internal project team should be constituted and external consultants appointed to turn your dreams into reality and transform your laboratory into a profit earning venture.