Scientists working in high-throughput research laboratories understand the need to automate their work processes but making a business case for embarking on an automation project can be difficult. At Biosero, we have extensive experience on this topic based on years of working with our customers. Let’s look at some factors scientists should consider when building a business case for automation.
Upfront costs and the return on investment
In the manufacturing context, return on investment (ROI) can be measured by factors such as the number of widgets produced and the cost per widget due to automation. In a clinical diagnostics lab, ROI can be measured by counting the number of tests performed in a given time and the cost per test. In drug discovery labs, calculating ROI is a bit more complex. Scientists may use automation to screen millions of candidate compounds but only one or two may go on to become viable drugs. However, the cost savings from increased throughput, improved staff productivity and safety, lower risk of injuries, and reduced waste can offset automation costs. Additionally, automation significantly reduces error rates, ensuring that scientists don’t miss out on the next blockbuster drug because of a mistake.
Increasing testing capacity and eliminating variability
Scientists are under increasing pressure to find the next blockbuster drug. Automating lab processes can help them get to results faster since they can screen more samples in the same amount of time. Automated solutions eliminate variability, ensuring that experiments are performed in the exact same way every time. Implementing automation also gives scientists an opportunity to identify inefficiencies in their protocols and processes, and then take steps to correct them.
Supporting best practices
Scientists in different departments in research labs often work collaboratively on projects. Having a unified platform that seamlessly integrates robots and software across departments simplifies the work process and fosters better collaborations. It also ensures that everyone in the lab uses industry-standard practices and that all necessary data and metadata are captured throughout the experimental process for downstream use and improved reproducibility.
For scientists who are considering automation, it is important to weigh the costs and benefits of implementing these solutions. It’s also worth noting that there are different levels of automation. Researchers might choose to automate all aspects of their assays or only certain steps in the process. When people sign up for an automation consultation with Biosero, we walk them through the pros and cons of various options so they can make the best decision for their labs. If you need help with building your business case for adopting an automated solution, please reach out to us to schedule a consultation.
Interested in learning more about automating your lab or Green Button Go® software, contact us.