9 Key Features for a Modern, Efficient BSC Maintenance Management System

Successful biological safety cabinet (BSC) maintenance is crucial for peak lab performance.

However, there are organizations relying on haphazard processes to manage maintenance operations—and this introduces the risk of breakdowns and other performance problems. Fortunately, simplifying and improving these is easier than ever, via proven and readily available electronic solutions. A modern, cloud-based, electronic maintenance system can enable the successful replacement of your legacy BSC management systems.

Such a platform should be capable of harvesting data, creating reports, sending alerts, managing workflows, and the like, with one central source of truth. This enables a complete set of new and improved BSC maintenance processes. Ultimately, the solution becomes part of an overall, high-efficiency environmental, health, and safety (EHS) operation. It also can assist in reaping a greater overall return on investment (ROI) on these costly appliances.

BSC Maintenance: A Competitive Advantage

As we’ve noted previously, BSCs are of growing importance for academic and corporate research, as well as industrial processes. In 2021, the worldwide BSC market was worth $207 million; by 2027, it likely will hit $320 million.

Top-performing BSCs can offer a competitive advantage for healthcare, life sciences, and industrial organizations, for many reasons. They also support lab worker safety, help guarantee experiment integrity, enable a reduced carbon footprint through energy efficiency, and more.

However, modern and efficient BSC operations require creating a data-driven maintenance solution. This typically involves establishing relevant key performance indicators (KPIs), closely monitoring performance, checking for deviations, and storing all relevant data in an easily accessed repository. And, of course, it requires addressing any BSC performance issues as rapidly as possible.

Proactive BSC Maintenance

However, BSC efficiency is about more than just fixing problems when things go wrong—preventive maintenance is crucial, as an article in Lab Manager notes. Proper preparation can save money and time—as well as prevent complete breakdowns caused by cumulative wear and tear. It can also enable maximum financial ROI.

Preventative maintenance includes:

  • Decontamination
  • Repair and servicing
  • Calibration
  • Certification

These activities are the backbone of successful operations.

On the other hand, BSCs with degrading capacities will almost certainly prevent top performance and ROI. They can also pose hazards. For instance, substandard machines may cease to filter out harmful chemical vapors and injure lab workers.

Or if the BSCs fail outright, they may compromise experimentation sterility—and this can prevent reproducibility and research integrity. That is no way to manage a successful, competitive organization.

Disciplined BSC Maintenance Solutions

Thorough, comprehensive, and agile BSC maintenance requires an intelligent and rigid management solution. Ensuring optimum BSC performance is particularly challenging in large academic or corporate labs and similar facilities. In these operations, there may be a variety of BSCs of different types, and from multiple manufacturers. These different appliances may require diverse types of maintenance, and at varying intervals.

Frequently, lab or factory BSC maintenance schedules, checklists, information sheets, and other documentation are paper-based or live in various Word or Excel files (or some mix of these formats). Without one cohesive set of data formats and processes. the maintenance complexity grows for managers and technicians.

The more manual and disconnected the processes, the more likely errors may creep in—causing late or missed maintenance deadlines. In the worst cases, there may be little—to no—formal system involved, and managers and staff are cruising by on instinct. And that is the perfect condition for Murphy’s Law, where anything that can go wrong, likely will.

BSC Maintenance Management for Improvement

Obviously, the larger or more distributed geographically the BSC operation, the less visibility into real maintenance conditions. For managers, relying on these types of jury-rigged systems makes it nearly impossible to keep, say, 50-100 BSCs (or more) in proper running order.

Luckily, it’s simple to maintain these BSCs with an electronic database-enabled platform, accessible via mobile devices or laptops. When seeking a new electronic hardware-software solution, consider adopting one that can support:

  1. Robust communications: The solution should be web-cloud enabled, with stakeholders sharing information and updates with any other stakeholders, within the system, via text or alerts or other channels.

  2. Mobile connectivity: For full enablement, it’s crucial to extend the solution to the network edge—this way team members can use a smartphone tablet to easily, quickly, and proactively collect and share data for remote and in-facility inspections.

  3. Your equipment portfolio: There is no point in applying a solution whose software that does not work with your machinery—and it's best avoid to customizations to meet your needs.

  4. Recurrence planning: This feature will ensure managers and staff properly budget, schedule, and execute maintenance and remediation work.

  5. An embedded compliance calendar: This tool specifically tracks deadlines for regulatory activities, such as annual certifications.

  6. Deadline alerts: This will allow teams to proactively receive emails or texts to ensure their technicians perform timely maintenance.

  7. Document management: Inspections, certifications, training records, and regulatory documents should be stored in a central location for easy access by all relevant stakeholders, at any point, from any location.

  8. Analytics: The solution must harvest and manipulate operational data—such as maintenance, model, and parts information—allowing stakeholders to perform analysis to find ways to save money, improve performance, and create general excellence benchmarks.

  9. Reporting: Managers will need to take the data and create easy-to-read graphics and charts for easy sharing with stakeholders.

Partnering for BSC Management Systems

To help meet these needs, Triumvirate Environmental offers ADVISE™, a proprietary web-based software service that makes hazardous waste compliance management easy. The solution collects, stores, and reports on your BSC and other EHS compliance activities and metrics. Contact us today to learn more about how ADVISE™ can help you retire your old, outdated, legacy BSC management system—and enable your move into a new and improved process set.

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