Investing in new lab equipment can stretch the boundaries of your budget. And with funding cuts and other economic issues, now is the time to make prudent budget decisions. One of the easiest ways to save on instrument costs is to buy pre-owned and re-certified equipment and parts. Here are 5 reasons to buy pre-owned/re-certified over new:
- Same product at a reduced price
- Discontinued stock
- Finding the ‘hard-to-find’ part
- Increasing your return on assets
Same Equipment at a Reduced Price
Pre-owned lab instruments can come from a variety of sources:
- labs upgrading equipment
- closing or consolidation of labs
- inventory overstock
- damaged equipment
- cancelled orders
If a lab is upgrading their equipment, it doesn’t necessarily mean their old equipment in not in proper working order. It just means that you can get a great bargain. Closing or consolidating of labs is an everyday occurrence. Again, this doesn’t mean the pre-owned appliance isn’t in perfect working order – just that it can be had for a great price. Overstocks and cancelled orders are the best value just like any other piece of electronic gear. Buying damaged equipment is a little trickier.
First, you want to be familiar with the seller. Check out their reputation and any online reviews. Second, find out what the extent of the damage was. Small dings can be easily fixed without a great deal of expense. With a larger problem, ask for test results to see if it is working properly. Some damaged items may be sold ‘as is’. Check to see if there is a warranty. And make sure the engineers are factory-trained technicians. Pre-owned units should be repaired to meet factory/manufacturers’ specifications.
Manufacturers choose to discontinue products when a new (better, faster, etc.) one reaches the market. Along with the instrument, they may also discontinue creating parts made specifically for that model. When that occurs, finding a pre-owned piece or part is your best, and probably only, bet.
Sometimes the manufacturer or their dealers may still have the unit or a part you need in stock – even if the equipment has been discontinued. Places like eBay and Craigslist are good places to check. Contacting a local parts or third party equipment dealer may also help you find exactly what you need. And if not in stock, they can usually locate the part or apparatus.
Remember too, that just because the manufacturer has decided to stop producing a certain piece of equipment, that the equipment is not obsolete. You may not need all the new bells and whistles. Buying a discontinued piece of equipment could mean years of production without increasing your overhead.
Finding that ‘Hard-to-find’ Part
It can be very frustrating to try to find that part you need that you know must be out there somewhere. The manufacturer doesn’t have it in stock and neither does the local retailer. A company that sells used lab equipment may have that part on hand. Lab equipment normally has a long life-span, so if your equipment is still running, there’s a good possibility parts are available.
Recycling, or buying used, lab equipment is a way of maintaining sustainability for several different reasons: the item is not taking up place in a landfill, there’s no worry about hazardous waste, and upholding your corporate social responsibility program.
Many labs now have Sustainability programs that require the concerted effort to reduce costs and waste. Harvard Labs have instituted a Harvard Labs Reuse List to find new homes for their unused lab equipment. Purchasing pre-owned instruments, is an easy way to uphold your labs sustainability program.
Increasing Your Return on Assets
The biotech industry is very competitive. Whether it’s finding new treatments or manufacturing new medications, first to market can mean millions of dollars for your lab. Buying used will save you a lot of time and money – which goes a long way towards improving your ROI. The most obvious way to increase your return on assets ratio is to spend less to acquire the assets necessary to run your business. Reducing your inventory costs helps to increase your revenues. Additionally, you will save time on training your employees if most are already familiar with how to operate the device. Taking time away from work won’t be necessary for your researchers to learn new systems, software or procedures.
Five Practical Reasons Why
So there are five great reasons to furnish your lab with pre-owned lab equipment. Finding a reputable dealer in used equipment is your next step. Research the companies out there, look at eBay or Craigslist, and then decide on the best deal. Don’t think “used” means “non-operational” or “unreliable”. It means saving time, money and the environment.