Choosing a Contract Laboratory – Practical Guidance

contract laboratory

First a disclaimer… We are a Contract Laboratory, specializing in metals and minerals/heavy metals testing, and are admittedly a bit biased when it comes to providing guidance for choosing a laboratory!  However, we feel that much of the criteria for choosing a laboratory for heavy metals testing applies to many types of testing with a prospective contract laboratory.  For that reason, we thought it would be helpful to provide guidance in your selection process, whether seeking our type of testing services or others.

For those who do not have a metals laboratory with ICP-MS instrumentation, they often find contract labs to be more cost-effective vs. setting up their own ICP-MS lab.  During a recent PQRI Conference, a major pharmaceutical company estimated the cost of setting up an 800-square foot lab, with two ICP-MS instruments and two Microwave Digesters, to be $1,600,000.  Moreover, they estimated the annual operating costs at $400,000.  Given these figures, outsourcing metals testing makes sense for many companies.

However, choosing a contract lab is not usually a choice between building a lab vs. outsourcing.  Many of our clients have their own labs with ICP-MS/OES instrumentation; and yet, still find it helpful – and at times necessary – to have a trusted outside lab to supplement their in-house capabilities.  In future blogs, we’ll cover examples of why clients find this helpful, but in the meantime, will start with practical guidance for selecting a Contract Laboratory for your testing needs.

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding these guidelines, or wish to discuss SGS’s capabilities for your outside testing needs.  You may check out our website, email us at or call us at (717) 697-7536.

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