How to get good equipment for your lab



My sister has been a microbiologist for more than a decade and she’s the manager of a laboratory. From the talks that we have had in the past, I’ve figured out that she’s been having trouble getting the best equipment for the lab she works in as there are many retailers and at the beginning of her career, she hardly knew which one manufactured good-quality products.

The problem, in my opinion, is that everything she has to purchase has to go through some kind of system where another manager in the business has to approve her requests. Sometimes, even though she asks for pretty basic pieces of equipment, she doesn’t get her request approved. This is what makes it so difficult for her and her colleagues to keep doing what they’re supposed to. To make it worse, the person in charge with approving all of this process isn’t even a microbiologist. Susan, my sister, says that the man has studied marketing and management in college, and maybe that’s why he seems to be so wary of spending money, in general.

When she does have the necessary funds, however, Susan finds that she sometimes orders from Amazon, despite her having multiple sources that she could use to get the same equipment. The problem, in this case, is that most of the items she orders from distributors have a higher price than what she gets on Amazon. Nonetheless, here comes bureaucracy once again. As many other people do, Susan has a Prime account that she regularly uses to get detergent and other supplies she needs in her home. She can’t use the same Amazon account to order the equipment she needs in her lab because she requires an official bill that’s charged on the name of the lab business.

I find the entirety of this process to be a lot too cumbersome to deal with. I’ve talked to my sister in the past and have reached the inevitable conclusion that, until she manages to raise some money and open up her own lab where she makes the rules, she’ll have to go through the same hassle over and over again. I believe that it’s downright disheartening for someone to do his or her job properly and have to answer to other people above who aren’t aware of the actual activities going on in a laboratory.

It’s more a problem pertaining to miscommunication, in my opinion. While Susan has spoken with her boss, she doesn’t seem to be able to solve the issue anytime in the future as that manager guy has the decision-making power that my sister lacks.

Have you ever experienced something like this? I’d like to find out your answers if there are any other people working in microbiology labs that have encountered the same problem. If you’ve found a way to deal with it, please let me know in the comments.