Choosing the Right Maintenance Model for Your Lab


Selecting a maintenance model for your lab is no easy task. With different lab characteristics and goals, one size does not fit all. In a typical lab, there are hundreds of instruments that require service and vendors that need managing. As a result, there are multiple maintenance models to choose from to effectively maintain your fleet of instruments.

So how do you determine which model is the right fit for your lab? The following criteria should be considered:

  • Regulations Services Only: If you have a regulated lab, some service plans, by request, will provide regulation services only. Regulated labs require a higher level of service due to the specific regulatory requirements.
  • Lab Size: The size of your lab is a factor in determining the maintenance model you require. While smaller labs don’t generally have inventory issues, they often struggle with limited resources. Larger labs have increased inventory issues with more unaligned resources.
  • Sites to service: Are there multiple labs needing service? Ensuring all your labs experience the same level of service so that you can anticipate instrument downtime is critical to maintaining your lab operations.
  • Cost: The expense of the service option is an important consideration. When placing such a high level of investment into your instruments and equipment, you want to ensure they are protected and well maintained, but you also must be mindful of your budget.
  • Number of Service Providers: Some model options see a variety of service providers by both OEM and subcontractors. Subcontractors may have varying approaches and levels of expertise. In addition, scheduling a service call can take more time, increasing your downtime. It’s important to ensure your providers are certified on each instrument they’re performing service on.
  • Analytics to Manage Your Lab: Do you have a large inventory? Tracking asset inventory and events in real time can help you understand if service levels are being met, determine what costs are being incurred, and provide continuous improvement recommendations, among other critical data.
  • On-Site or Remote Support: Do you have a variety of instruments from multiple manufacturers? Placing engineers and administrative support directly in your lab can provide the best combination of response time, data analytics, and efficiency.

Maintenance Model Options

There are five main types of maintenance models that can be considered, each with different options and levels of service.

  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM): This approach typically sees labs purchase annual service contracts with each OEM, ensuring that the service provider has the proper certifications to service your instrument. Managing multiple OEM service contracts can quickly become both cumbersome and costly for your lab.
  • Third-Party Equipment Maintenance Management Providers (EMMPs): EMMPs develop a plan by subcontracting multiple alternate sources and OEMs. Service of this type can be lower cost, single-event, pay-as-you-go service for repairs and preventative maintenance. The challenge is that these subcontractors may have different approaches to service and documentation with no stipulated conditions for service such as response or downtime, and they may not be properly trained and certified on your instruments.
  • Multivendor: This option replaces a piecemeal approach by consolidating all equipment maintenance activities under one service partner. With only one contract and one point of service contact, you’re no longer managing hundreds of vendor contracts, service requests, and payments and invoices.
  • In-House: An in-house service model is a lower cost option that utilizes lab personnel to conduct most of the service. Most labs don’t possess the in-house expertise in both lab instrumentation and information technology needed to keep the lab running optimally.
  • On-Site Multivendor Asset Management: This is a consolidated, holistic approach to equipment maintenance. A dedicated on-site and certified team of engineers and administrative staff provides multivendor preventive and corrective maintenance on a variety of instruments. The on-site team can easily perform calibration and qualification where required. This plan is all inclusive -- the service provider handles everything.

Third-Party EMMP’s
OnSite Asset Management
Regulations Service Only
(if requested)
Small Lab Size
Large Lab Size
Multiple Sites
Low Cost
One Contract
One Service Provider
Technical Expertise
On-Site Support
Analytics to Manage Lab


Every lab is unique, with its own sets of goals and challenges. While not every lab is going to benefit from the same maintenance model, it’s important to choose the right fit for your lab, making sure that whatever program you choose helps you obtain higher levels of lab optimization.