You are bogged down with meetings, business travel, invoice reviews, project management, contractor oversight, and laboratory questions, all while trying to meet budgets and deadlines. Your contract laboratory program needs closer attention, but higher priorities keep the program and coordination with your contract laboratories on the back burner. Sound familiar? It’s a very common theme in my initial conversations with clients who have wisely elected to contract directly with laboratories and own the most important aspect of managing their environmental liabilities – their environmental data.
An outsourced Laboratory Coordinator may be exactly what you need but never knew existed. What is a Laboratory Coordinator?
A Laboratory Coordinator is a credentialed, experienced chemist who dedicates a portion of their time to make sure your laboratory program is running smoothly. Essentially, this person is a chemist who will organize and manage your laboratory program. Here are some of the ways a Laboratory Coordinator can support your efforts:
- Routine tasks – A Laboratory Coordinator performs routine tasks, frequently on a daily basis and acts as a liaison between laboratories, field teams, project managers, and/or contractors to ensure that samples are collected, analyzed, and reported in accordance with your project/state/federal requirements. Your project receives the quality oversight it deserves while freeing up your time to complete other tasks.
- Issue resolution – When a problem/obstacle surfaces, the Laboratory Coordinator acts quickly on your behalf to ensure quick resolution once all pertinent information has been collected and reviewed. You no longer have to track down the details of who, what, when, why, and how. You can focus on the expert advice of the Laboratory Coordinator to resolve the issue; the Laboratory Coordinator sets the plan into motion for you, and you move on with your day.
- Tracking – A Laboratory Coordinator tracks samples from field collection through data reporting, ensuring all samples are analyzed and all forms of deliverables (e.g., hard copies, PDFs, and electronic files) are received. The project information is organized and tracked in real-time.
- Invoice review – You no longer need to sift through the piles of invoices in which you have no quick and easy way of determining whether expedited lab fees (or any other cost) was correctly invoiced. Since samples and deliverables are tracked already, the task is quicker and easier for a Laboratory Coordinator. And when issues are identified, the Laboratory Coordinator works to resolve the issue so you do not need to spend your valuable time back and forth on the phone hashing out the problem. Clients routinely save on laboratory over-charge fees by having the Laboratory Coordinator review their laboratory invoices.
- Chain-of-Custody and Deliverable Reviews – A laboratory coordinator reviews all Chain-of-Custody records and laboratory sample receipts as the samples are received at the laboratory. Identifying documentation issues at the front end, prior to analysis and/or reporting, consistently reduces costs and time spent correcting the problem at the back end.
If your contract laboratory program has been a bit lacking and/or if you would rather outsource your laboratory program management to the experts, I encourage you to contact Environmental Standards, Inc. – a nationally-known quality oversight firm with a deep bench of chemists. Since 1987, our chemists have also performed hundreds of laboratory audits per year and they conduct independent third-party data validation on some of the largest, most complex environmental projects in the country. I would be happy to share with you more about Laboratory Coordination and how Environmental Standards can give your corporate laboratory program the attention it requires.