Signs of a Well-Managed Laboratory From an Assessors Viewpoint

Best Management Practices for Environmental Laboratories
Oral Presentation

Presented by M. Miller
Prepared by C. Newton1, M. Miller2
1 - NV5 Dade Moeller and Associates, PO Box 1147, Citronelle, AL, 36522, United States
2 - MQC, LLC, , , United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 251-243-3631


An experienced assessor, who has managed laboratories, can tell fairly quickly whether laboratory processes function effectively or not, and the attitude of management to lead the operation successfully. This presentation discusses ‘how to see the culture of the laboratory quickly and ways to improve management without breaking the bank.
Indicators of a laboratory not well managed:
• Lack of delegation and authorizing the staff to make decisions
• Fear to tell upper management the truth
• Insufficient staff to accomplish the scope
• Covering up or ignoring client complaints
• Make the numbers (profit) no matter the quality
Like most mature industries, laboratories struggle with employee retention and thus we are losing many experienced managers to natural attrition and retirements. Often new managers must learn leadership skills on the fly. Great technical people may not fully understand what good leadership is and how to accomplish it. Leadership creates a culture of mutual respect, team work, delegation of authority, and the realization that new managers may not always make perfect decisions but supporting them through the learning process.
Lastly poor processes make labs fail. Mapping the process allows streamlining. Automation may seem to be a silver bullet, but it often does not fix a bad process. In this discussion, we will explore concepts that can help identify areas of improvement.