Every laboratory has a specialization which is decided by its expertise and available facilities. Specialization covers areas of analysis such as pharmaceuticals, foods, building materials, geological specimens, environmental analysis covering water, air and industrial wastes, etc. Within the broad spectrum of analysis there are numerous sub- sections and some laboratories enjoy repute due to their expertise in offering quality services in such sub-classes.
The review of requests for tenders and contracts is covered in depth under clause 4.4 of ISO 17025:2005 guidelines. Requests for analysis need to be examined carefully before entering into a contract as these will help retain your client confidence which is essential for maintaining good business relations. The points that need to be critically examined are:
- Will service offered be in line with the requirements of the customer
- Means and capabilities are available to meet customer requirements
- Task can be completed within the committed time. This aspect is most important for sustaining good customer relations
During the review of contracts for analytical services the following points should be kept in mind:
- Clarity on customer requirements. Whenever there is any doubt it should be clarified in the initial stages otherwise such doubts can create embarrassment and wastage of time and effort later
- Ensure if the analysis task is of routine nature or would require any specialized resources in terms of equipment or manpower.
- The method adopted should be a validated one. This applies even to methods recommended by the customer
- Required equipments are calibrated
- Manpower has the required training to meet the analysis requirements
- Clarifications, if needed, are made available before the task execution
- Customer approval should be sought before different analytical approach becomes necessary
- Prior customer approval is necessary if the analysis is to be outsourced to a different laboratory.
It is a good practice to allocate different laboratory personnel for different tasks and assign their responsibilities so that the task gets executed within the promise time. Typically such responsibilities cover the following groups:
Technical Manager should review all the tenders, analysis requests or contracts and decide if the services can be provided routinely or additional facilities would be necessary. Such confirmation should be made to the concerned before approval of the request
Section In charge of the laboratory should designate the analyst(s) who will execute the task and also confirm availability of required equipment, reagents and chemicals
Front Office Staff should follow laid down sample receipt practices such as ensuring proper sample receipt, check on sample quality and quantity, sample container condition, proper labelling and accompanying documents. The sample should not be accepted if any shortcomings are noticed.
Reporting Staff should ensure that reports are correctly made and are forwarded to respective customers within the allocated time
Customer Care Executives should keep a track on progress of analysis and inform respective customers in case there are unexpected delays so that customers do not get agitated due to unexplained delays in receipt of analysis reports.
All above activities require efficient coordination between concerned departments and individuals. This contributes significantly towards establishing cordial business relations with the customers.