LPS Customer Update

LPS Customer Update

LPS Customer Update

  • Back to the lab / office?  Maybe…
  • Supply chains create feasts and, more often, famine.
  • Changes we are making at LPS to better serve our clients.
  • Steps you can take to ease stress in your lab.

Are we returning to “normal?”

Masks are increasingly hard to find on faces.  Hand shakes are more common. It’s easier to get things for the lab that were hard to find not long ago.  Things are looking more like “normal” and we all gave thanks for the reprieve.  And then Russia launches a war on Ukraine which spikes the worldwide price of oil and sets off another round of inflation.  Things are more normal and then they aren’t.  It’s a topsy-turvy world right now.

What we are seeing at LPS

Remote v. Office

We have found that our team works more efficiently remotely.  A few of us come in to do shipping on Tuesday & Thursday but we will be continuing to work remotely from this point forward.  Many of our vendors have adopted similar policies.

Shortages & supply chains

If you want to purchase masks, hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes, many vendors who loaded up on these items are now having fire sales to unload huge inventories.  There are signs that pipet tips may be more plentiful in the near future!  We have recently received our first shipments of macro (5ml & 10ml) tips!  Serological pipettes are becoming more available.  It appears that the empty polypropylene resin pipeline from 2020 is getting filled again.

On the other hand, we are seeing shortages now on polystyrene items such as weigh dishes and boats.  One of our main vendors just stopped selling them altogether!  This has created a huge demand on the other manufacturers.

Microbiological media is another problem area.  Making prepared media is labor intensive, and with many people not able to come to work during the pandemic, B-D, a main supplier, has decided to scale back dramatically.  This cutback shifted the load to Remel and Hardy, who are now struggling to meet the demand. We have had reports of several problems beyond just increased demand at Remel as well.

For some reason I still don’t understand, 2ml chromatography vials and caps are in short supply.

To sum it up, we are not back to normal and shortages continue as suppliers struggle to keep up with shifting demand.

The changes we have made at LPS

Our customers have told us that they want LPS to focus on getting products to their labs on time.  When things were “normal” we sourced a product, loaded it to our system and could nearly always count on the item shipping at the quoted price.  Covid and supply chain disruptions have made this model obsolete:

  • Products are routinely on backorder or discontinued.
  • We are spending far more time on vendor price changes.
  • Vendor price changes are often made with no notice and shipments are blocked until the price discrepancies are resolved.
  • We must monitor a much higher volume of items that aren’t shipped from stock.
  • We are spending far more time finding alternate items for backordered items.

We have three ways of learning if an item won’t arrive on time:

  1. Order confirmation states that the item is backordered.  (Unreliable!)
  2. We don’t receive an invoice from the vendor within 14 days from date of order.
  3. You give us a heads up!

If an item is delayed, send us an email to [email protected].  Squeaky wheels get greased at LPS!  We hate backorders and delays as much as you do!

We have decided to discontinue maintenance of the Google Sheets.  Data has shown that people use www.labproservices.com to find and order products.  However if you would like us to update the sheets for you, we will do so on request.

We have made some significant inventory investments of hard-to-get items.  These include Nitrile Exam Gloves, 4-Mil.  We have bought a significant inventory of 5, 10 & 25ml serological pipettes.  (Note:  You may not get the brand of serological pipet that you order, as we may sub what we have in inventory.)  We are also in a good stocking position on Biologix brand pipet tips - filtered and unfiltered.  And as mentioned earlier, we have 5 & 10ml macro tips now!

Steps you can take now

Things are far better than they used to be but they have a long way to go before they are close to what they were pre pandemic.  Here are steps you can take to help us serve you better:

  1. Place orders before noon and try to avoid ordering on Friday to prevent weekend delays.
  2. Popular brands are often backordered.  Be willing to accept alternate brands (e.g., serological pipette, pipet tips.)
  3. If you need a product urgently, let us know via email or phone!  Don’t wait two weeks and end up in desperation.
  4. We are in a time of high inflation - don’t shoot the messenger if you see a higher price!  We still sell everything on a cost-plus model.Recent  increases from a plasticware supplier ranged from 23% to 56%.  Everything plastic comes from petroleum, and crude oil prices have been volatile.    Expect frequent price changes this year.
  5. Vendors - especially Thermo Fisher - seem to have a problem canceling orders.  We have had a number of shipments that were on “indefinite backorder” long ago which you asked us to cancel.  We did but the vendor apparently did not, so now, out of the blue, they are shipping.  The only thing that can be done in this case is either keep it or send it back.  

Are some vendors taking advantage of the situation to boost profits?  Of course.  The only way to know is to cross check with other vendors selling similar items.  We do this every day.  We have seen price inflation with HPLC grade solvents and, of course, nitrile gloves.

LPS is working hard to make things “normal” for you again.  You order a product, you pay a fair price and you get prompt delivery.  It’s simple but it takes a lot of work to make it happen!  Talk to us about your concerns, so we can assist in finding the most cost-effective and readily-available products for your needs.

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