Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Labware can be optimized for your application. It is easier than you think. The
ability to make something new that meets a need in your lab can improve the
quality and quantity of work you can accomplish. Every lab has different drivers:
1.) Saving money on unrecoverable reagents.
2.) Decreasing liquid transfer times with optimized plate formats.
3.) Throwing less plastic in the landfill.
What is your driver?
Here are the top five things I suggest to people looking to deploy a custom piece of
1. Define your specifications
Everyone has heard this. Everyone has been asked for specs. It is often done at
first on a napkin. Specifications are key. Having a starting point for different people
to work around is the bedrock of a custom project. The more upfront thought that
goes into the specs, the smoother the entire process often is.
We have found the best way to activate the ideation has been with a simple
questionnaire, which is easy to answer and thought-provoking.
2. Look at big picture timelines
The need for custom solutions usually stems from a large, long term need for
change. Make sure the timelines for large projects are clearly understood and your
deadlines are transparent to everyone involved as soon as possible.
Working back from the required completion date often goes a long way in
determining when a given project needs to start.
3. Have the right people at the table
Often there are not enough people involved as early as they should be. Labware
often requires input from your entire team.
A.) How is it ordered?
B.) How is it stored?
D.) How is it packaged?
E.) How is the project paid for?
F.) How is the end product used?
G.) How much documentation/certification/validation is needed?
All of these are legitimate questions that often need to come from different
people. Do not be afraid to invite more people to the table.
4. Keep the project flexible
Every project encounters bumps. Try to be ready for them. There is the chance of
a specification being overlooked or internal delays that slow the project validation
down. The more flexibility you are able to maintain, the smoother the project will
5. Think outside the box
The point of a custom project is to make something new that solves a problem that
is not currently being solved. Be creative. Do not limit your ideas to slight variations
of products you find in a catalog. Ask the big questions ... and reap the big rewards
of a satisfying custom project.
At the end of the day, coming up with new solutions that solve problems can be
Let me know what you think.