Cost Reduction is Key

Cost Reduction is Key

Purchasing trends survey finds price matters most to clinical laboratory leaders

Erica Tennenhouse, PhD

Clinical Lab Manager recently surveyed over 100 leaders of clinical laboratories to learn about how they purchase equipment and supplies. Nearly 80 percent of the respondents identified themselves as the laboratory manager, director, or supervisor.

While only around 15 percent of labs noted that they are planning to increase their budgets for products and services next year, just 10 percent are decreasing their budgets. Indeed, the majority of labs surveyed are planning to maintain the status quo in terms of budget into 2020.

Cost reduction in the laboratory remains a significant concern for all respondents. It is therefore unsurprising that the top feature that influences the purchase of new products and services is price. The importance of cost savings may explain why 32 percent of clinical labs either currently purchase or are considering purchasing pre-owned equipment.

Among those clinical labs that are planning to purchase new equipment in the next year, some of the most common reasons include an expiring contract or lease agreement, an increase in test volume or an expanded test menu, the need to replace aging equipment, the availability of a new product, and starting a new project.

Over the next year, respondents' laboratory budgets are changing in the following ways:

Here’s how respondents say new technology purchases in their labs are initiated:

The lab manager or lab leader makes a request/proposal73%
A lab member identifies a problem or opportunity43%
A department makes a request/proposal33%
Corporate or administrative management makes a request/proposal24%
An individual outside the team (e.g. IT, facilities team, purchasing agent) makes a request/proposal10%

The top five features that influence respondents’ main considerations when making decisions on purchasing products and services:

Price/value of vendor's products84%
After-sale support, maintenance, and warranty78%
Long-term efficiency and operating costs77%
Compatibility of vendor's products with current systems73%
Vendor reputation and brand awareness69%

Respondents were asked if their labs currently purchase or are considering purchasing pre-owned equipment:

Don't Know16%

Concerning laboratory operations, here’s what respondents had to say:

Strongly AgreeSomewhat AgreeDisagree
Our laboratory is among the most innovative compared to other labs of the same type.31%52%17%
Our lab prefers to source products from as few brands or manufacturers as possible.26%55%19%
We tend to find products that best serve our needs regardless of brand.49%43%7%
Cost reduction is a significant concern when purchasing products for our lab.59%41%0%
Our lab is among the first to adopt new technologies.25%48%26%
Our lab is in expansion or growth mode.33%41%27%

Major reasons for respondents purchasing new equipment in the next year include:

  • Expiring contract or lease agreement
  • Increased test volume and/or expanded test menu
  • Replacement of aging equipment
  • Availability of a new product
  • Start of new projects