Sadly, science – as vastly important as it is – does not have unlimited funding, and the fact of the matter is that the majority of laboratories in operation today have to work with constricted budgets.
This may be to attempt to maximise profits, or they may simply have few resources to work with; either way, the outcome is the same. If you find yourself in the position where you are managing the budget of such a lab, here are some ways to go about cutting costs, meaning you can put that money to better use elsewhere.
1 – Monitor All the Costs
The first thing to do is get in to accountant mode. Grab a journal (or an Excel spreadsheet) and start making note of every single expense. This includes the overheads, any salaries paid, the necessary supplies and equipment, as well as any fees, fines or benefits.
Make sure you are meticulous and accurate – decent accounting of the lab’s various costs will help inspire strategies to cut costs. Aim these strategies at the bigger expenses first and foremost, as you will likely be able to make the greater savings there.
2 – Determine Which Costs Depend on Volume
What that means is fairly simple – costs which are volume dependent increase as the laboratory’s output does. This includes things such as supplies: the more work you do, the more supplies you’ll burn through, meaning you’ll have to buy more supplies.
This means that supply costs will go up in line with your revenue. Separate volume dependent costs from independent ones, such as the overheads.
3 – Calculate Money per Procedure
First of all, look at how much each procedure is costing you. You can do this by totalling its monthly costs, then dividing that figure by the number of times you’d perform it in a typical month. You want to lower this figure as much as you can.
Then make note of how much it’s bringing in, whether that’s via reimbursement or revenue. Obviously, this is the figure you want to maximise, but changing this is not always possible.
4 – Weed out the Less Productive Work
Now that you’ve compared all the jobs and how much money they bring in, you can start limiting the less financially viable ones. It should be fairly obvious which procedures simply aren’t working, and are instead draining those precious funds.
5 – Increase Efficiency
Look around at the workstations and equipment – are they outdated? If you think they could be causing some less than optimal work, perhaps they need replacing. Take a look at the BES website to see how you could benefit.
6 – Order in Bulk
One simple method of saving money, in any walk of life, is to order all of your supplies in bulk. Of course, this doesn’t apply to any supplies which are time-sensitive or have short lifespans, but for anything else you should be able to secure a lower price when ordering many at once.