Advantages of shared resources in an accredited laboratory

At LabShare online meetup "Testing industry and sharing economy" Ágoston Lóth - ConformiTICs Ltd. gave several helpful solutions during his presentation.

How to make testing cost-effective, smart and environmentally friendly? Ágoston Lóth, the managing director of ConformiTICs Ltd. delivered a presentation on the topic, entitled “Advantages of shared resources in an accredited laboratory”. ConformiTICs itself is an accredited lab in the medical, mobility, energy and consumer segment, with an accreditation for 15 different standards.

As Lóth explained, there are three specific testing models in use today at accredited laboratories. The classic model entails the lab buying its own equipment, creating processes and then obtaining accreditations. This model works well, however, it’s not the most effective since the management cannot keep up with the demands of a fast-changing market.

A slightly more efficient solution is offered by the subcontractor model. By involving a subcontractor, the lab can provide a range of tests or entire product tests, even when they don’t have the necessary knowledge or equipment. This model, however, has a number of weaknesses: most importantly, the general contractor has to take responsibility for the work of the subcontractor, including the deadlines. Moreover, the report can only be accredited if the subcontractor also has accreditations. A practical difficulty can be handling test samples between the two labs.

This takes us to the shared model, a particularly smart solution: in this case, the contractor lab leases equipment from another lab. The shared model can help with the lack of capacity, while equipment is under repair or when special equipment is necessary. For instance, if a patient simulator is necessary for a Holter EKG, the lab can avoid buying one for a single test. By using this model, the lab can keep its CAPEX level low by avoiding the unnecessary purchase of equipment, save space and cut down repair costs while leaving no capacities unused.

Should you choose this model, there are a number of principles to keep in mind: the lab needs to have its own equipments, especially the critical ones, as well as staff with the the necessary competences. Without these, the lab cannot obtain accreditation. There also has to be a permanent contract between the equipment owner and the lab, and all of the leased equipments need to be calibrated by a third party.

“It is recommended to keep two or three sources for the leased equipment, just to ensure that each time there will be free capacity. Also make sure to follow the calibration of the leased equipment, and warn the owner if it’s going to expire” - Lóth added.