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North American Survey of Laboratory Purchasing Trends
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


WASHINGTON, D.C.—As has become a tradition at the annual meeting of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS), K.C. Warawa provided her overview of the North American Survey of Laboratory Purchasing Trends, an effort that is a partnership between SLAS and the Laboratory Products Association (LPA). The annual meeting was the first presentation of this year’s annual report, which shows how laboratories across North America are planning to spend for equipment, staffing and facilities in 2015.
As SLAS notes, the survey allows laboratory managers and personnel “Understand the priority concerns of other laboratory professionals and management to make sure you and your organization are prepared.”
The survey focused on changes in laboratory personnel, laboratory workload, spending and operating and capital expenditures. Here are some highlights in each area:
Changes in laboratory personnel
For 2015, 25 percent saw laboratory staff number predictions increase, 57 percent stayed the same and 18 percent saw decreases. The increase was consistent with findings the previous year, but an improvement in terms of decreases, which were anticipated by 23 percent of respondents in the 2014 survey.
Laboratory workload
Fifty-five percent of labs responding to the survey say their workloads will increase, a slight drop from 57 percent the previous year. Those whose workloads will remain the same increased from 34 percent last time to 28 percent this time, and those that expect declines dropped from 10 percent in 2014 to 7 percent in the current survey.
Labs plan to spend more on chemicals, reagents and solvents, at 43 percent in the 2015 survey compared to 40 percent in the 2014 survey. Spending on lab equipment under $2,500 is set to increase in 26 percent of labs compared to 24 percent the previous year, while spending on laboratory instruments under $5,000 should go up in 19 percent of labs from 18 percent the previous year. Lab automation spending predictions also saw a slight increase from 18 percent of labs compared to 17 percent in the 2014 survey.
Increases in spending for glassware and plasticware should occur at the same rate as the previous year, as should spending on consumables other than chemicals and spending on lab equipment over $2,500.
Increases in spending on lab instruments over $5,000 are expected to occur in 28 percent of labs, compared to 29 percent the previous year.
Operating and capital expenditures
Operating budgets for capital equipment are precicted to go up in 25 percent of labs compared to 28 percent last time, stay the same in 59 percent of labs compared to 55 percent last time, and decrease in 15 percent of labs compared to 17 percent last time.
Operating budgets for non-capital equipment followed a similar trend, with increases expected in 23 percent of labs in the 2015 survey compared to 25 percent in 2014, the same spending in 64 percent of labs compared to 50 percent in 2014, and decreased spending in 13 percent of labs compared to 15 percent in 2014.

K.C. Associates Inc. is a full-service marketing research company thats conducts qualitative, quantitative and secondary research.
The LPA was founded in 1918 as part of the SAMA Group of Associations. LPA member companies are manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of lab products and services such as glass and plasticware, chemicals, equipment and supplies used in scientific research and applied science and life science worldwide.
SLAS is a global community of more than 18,000 scientists—from academia, government and industry—collectively focused on leveraging the power of technology to achieve scientific objectives.



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