Oct 9, 2007

Saving a little leads to spending alot

Like any start up medical device company, my company is very conscious of costs, unfortunately we can sometimes take it too far. A few months back we bought a used spectrophotometer on EBay for about a grand. It took us two months to figure out the problem with some experiments we've been running are due to the spectrophotometer. The thing has some complex quarks and while on one day it will perform great and hit all the standards correctly, the next day is anyone's guess. A good OQ could have caught it, but we decided due to QA/QC priorities that lab equipment doesn't have to be controlled until the studies start to count (on sterilized final product).

A new basic spectrophotometer costs about $3,000, so to save the $2,000, we wasted about two months of our lab techs time and probably $5,000 in lab supplies as he tried various tests to zero in on the problem. Not to mention the hours it takes generally highly paid people to find these "deals." You'll be glad to know that we have a new working spectrophotometer that we got from ... EBay. Hopefully next time I can convince us to at least stay away from older used equipment that we're not experts in.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Great Point. It is important to assess how important a piece of equiptment will be to your expt data. Then use this information to buy used or new accordingly.

We just bought a tensile tester last week and decided to buy new based on this arguement.

One exception is if you have lots of experience troubleshooting the piece of equiptment.

Anonymous said...

This is a common problem, especially in small labs where there is more than one person with the authority to purchase such equipment. The other problem is, if the item of test equipment takes measurements and calculates results that are critical to product quality, the software will be judged to require, Full Life Cycle Validation. Second hand, and often off the shelf software don't have the required documentation to support this.
Alex Kennedy, Validation Online.