Tracking information throughout a laboratory is a critical yet challenging task. Identifying samples and specimens, executing complex workflow and testing procedures, and analyzing data and results rely on flawless data integrity. Strategic planning, organization, and preparation are vital for success. Partnering with a trusted laboratory service provider and sourcing pre-barcoded and prepared labware is key to achieving a well-organized, efficiently run, data-optimized laboratory. Before we get into the top five essential elements of any pre-barcoded labware service program, we first need to answer two questions.
What is Pre-Barcoded Labware?
Pre-barcoded labware involves identifying and labeling any tube, vial, well plate, or other pieces of lab equipment before delivery at a laboratory or research facility. Several labware manufacturers sell barcoded vials in addition to their more extensive catalog of blank labware and sample containers.
Creating a barcode-optimized laboratory, however, requires custom prefixes and sequences to maintain accurate, detailed audit trails and execute consistent testing procedures. Certain types of pre-barcoded labware, even specific pre-barcoded test tubes, are difficult to source from a labware manufacturer, especially in smaller volumes.
To obtain custom laboratory barcode sequences, lab managers often require support from a labeling specialist or laboratory service provider to meet their exact needs.
Purchasing pre-barcoded labware from an identification and tracking expert can also have additional benefits, including advanced barcoding technology and the opportunity to enhance the labware with functional and branded markings. These markings include color identifiers, fill lines, write-on patches, and logos.
What are Prepared Labware Services?
Prepared labware services begin with pre-barcoded labware and add additional features, including tare weighing, sorting, kitting, etc. This service program aims to reduce laborious laboratory prep work, eliminate pre-analytical testing variables, and protect the lab’s sample and data integrity.
Our approach allows each laboratory to determine which service elements will add value to its bottom line and dismiss any redundant features. Our identification and tracking experts work with each lab to understand their workflows, the demands of their environment and testing procedures, any restraints in their facility or resources, and their budgetary needs to create a tailored solution.
We support scientific and medical research by providing labware ready to use immediately upon delivery – labeled, weighed, sorted, racked, and prepared to the most precise specifications.
Pre-barcoded labware and preparation services ultimately allow laboratories to strengthen their focus on their own goals, optimize resources, and increase efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.
5 Essential Elements of Pre-Barcoded and Prepared Labware Services
So, now that we understand prepared and pre-barcoded labware, how can we create the right offering for your lab? Let’s start by introducing five of the most fundamental elements of this service. Remember, this solution is fully customized to meet your needs without redundancy. When going through each of the elements below, ask: Can my laboratory manage this alone, or is it valuable to outsource this task? And if you’re unsure how to answer that question, start by consulting with an identification and tracking expert.
1. Labware sourcing and procurement
Our team of experts can source your preferred labware or recommend the best solution to match your environment and testing needs. Although we are happy to receive labware from your lab, we can save you an additional step by working directly with the labware manufacturer and managing the shipments for you. Additionally, our industry experience and knowledge allow us greater access and the ability to quickly source equivalent labware from alternate suppliers in case of emergency or supply outage.
2. Labware sequencing, labeling, and marking
The foundation of these services remains rooted in identification and labeling. Once we understand the nature of your research and testing, the samples and specimens you maintain, the instruments and equipment involved – even the layout of your facility, we can begin to develop an identification and labeling strategy fit for you.
Permanent identification solutions
Our advanced, proprietary marking technologies, including direct mark, laser, and ceramic, allow us to provide you with permanent or semi-permanent IDs that your facility could not achieve in-house.
RFID tags or hybrid labels
For higher security, increased data storage, re-writability, scanning multiple tags, etc., introducing RFID may improve data management in your lab. Hybrid labels blend form and function, providing you with a human-readable label and embedded RFID tag to support expert sample management and improve your technicians’ experience.
Practical labware marking
In addition to identifying information, consider enhancing your labware with practical markings and brand representation. Add graduated fill lines, write-on patches, logos, or any other custom marking to your labware for increased functionality. Make efficient use of space by utilizing the caps and bottoms of tubes or vials for color coding or additional identification with data matrix codes.
3. Professional sequence management
Proper sequence management for laboratories requires custom sequences, dedicated quality control to ensure no duplicates, and reliable data storage to track current and previous shipments. Expertly managed barcode sequences allow labs to reduce errors and rework related to readability, sequence gaps, or out-of-sequence use, ensure compatibility with your existing systems and reduce the risk of costly duplication errors.
4. Pre-tare weighed tubes and vials
Receive your tubes and vials pre-tared and measured with an accompanying output file for easy reference. Accurately tare weighing labware is required in most laboratories – however, it is a painstaking process that often diverts time and attention away from higher value tasks. Outsourcing the first round of this effort along with your labeling needs could reduce labor and add value to your bottom line.
5. Sorting and packaging prepared labware
Finally, receive your labware the way you need it with assembly, sorting, packaging, and kitting done to your exact specifications and brand standards. From sequentially ordered racks of tubes to custom packaging, our logistics experts can ensure proper fulfillment.
So, which elements does your lab require? Before considering improving sample identification and management in your lab, begin by auditing your current processes and identifying any existing roadblocks or challenges. If your lab has experienced errors resulting from mislabeled samples, time-consuming or ineffective labeling processes, or if you are preparing for growth, implementing pre-barcoded, prepared labware is the first step. Consider the five essential elements we introduced and discuss your needs with an expert today.