Economy in storage products and practices is a necessity that must be woven into present day lab operations and more importantly, planned for the future. In Histopathology laboratories, as in most labs, there are specimens, records, documents, etc., that are all a daily metric of increase. For example, paraffin blocks and slides are maintained for years by legal and regulatory requirements. Recent patient cases must not only be stored out of the immediate working space, but they must be readily accessible to pull and review. Storage systems provide the laboratory many options that are specifically designed for their environment and space restrictions. In the storage system illustrated in the right image we see a steel shelving system that is designed to accommodate paraffin blocks and/or slides, in an organized, compact, sturdy structure. This design can accommodate the weight requirements, offer a pullout shelf for filing, and occupy a limited wall space in dimensions. This provides a great economy of space for materials that must be accessible, but that must also be kept out of the way.
When we take a more granular look at this system, we see economy built into the individual storage boxes themselves. Storage within storage is designed down to individual box units with tray inserts that can easily be accessed or temporarily removed from the shelving system. In this example, economy is built into the design from an environmental perspective. The housing unit for the box system here is corrugated carboard designed from partially recycled and new material. The two tray inserts within the box unit can also be purchased from this same environmentally conscious material, as well as the hard plastic trays.
The storage shelving system illustrated in the first image is not solely designed for histology (paraffin blocks and slides) but is also designed for other specimen items such as vial storage containers, slide boxes, small liquid containers (as in pre-filled specimen jars), gloves, or most other laboratory use items. In the image to the left we see cytology storage boxes for liquid ThinPrep vial containers. Whether stored in the steel shelving system or just in whatever shelves available in your lab, this is another example of economy in storage that can solve many of your space efficiency needs.
These are only a few examples of how laboratory products in today’s lab environment are designed to make your environment and operations streamlined and organized. They provide an essential element necessary for LEAN efficiency and the most effective utilization of given space.
The final image to the right demonstrates how a small cost-efficient slide box organizer has been designed to centralize staining control slide boxes in one area and avoid the disorganization of control boxes randomly placed around the staining area. One of the greatest benefits is that commercial vendors provide a plethora of options that, with the proper thought and planning allow you to tailor your products to your individual laboratory.
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, the economy of storage is not simply a matter of cost reduction, but instead a matter of streamlining your total lab system to make your total operations cost effective to the entire organization. It is advised that all laboratory directors, managers, and supervisors first take time to take critical look at their systems, rooting out the areas of backlog, overflow, and cluttered space, then develop multiple designs with product additions to address the problems. Once you have a basic idea, begin researching catalogs and product manuals to see what companies have to offer. Most vendors have technical staff that can help you select the most ideal products for your needs.
Lab Storage Systems has a complete line of economy efficient products as well as the technical marketing support to assist you with your ideas. Given them a call and share your ideas and needs. It is a call that you will not regret and one that will save your lab from wasted efficiency.References:
- Brown, S., “Reorganizing the Small Stuff”, Newsletter Article-LSS, 2020.