Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced that a recently commissioned global survey will help the company continue to focus more intently on the needs of its customers around the world.

The market research firm of Frost & Sullivan conducted the independent survey — Understanding Key Challenges and Pain Points in the Global Laboratory Market on Agilent's behalf. The primary objective of the survey, which included 700 laboratory employees in four countries, was to understand key customer concerns and identify any unmet needs, as well as the differences and similarities of the challenges lab managers face.

"The results were very informative," said Lon Justice, vice president of sales, marketing, and customer experience at Agilent.

Survey respondents from Asia, Europe, and United States included experienced lab managers, performing a range of functions in laboratories large and small across the many market segments Agilent serves.

The survey centered on several main themes, including productivity, workflow optimization, lab size, and operational goals. Many respondents indicated that dealing with the challenges of sample prep, as well as unplanned and unexpected instrument downtime, remains a major problem, as well as the increasing complexity of the testing requirements and sustainability goals impacting their organizations.

"Agilent is dedicated to continually listening to our customers to ensure their success, and this survey positively underscores our customer-centric approach," Justice said. "We consult with our customers regarding the development of new products, and endeavor to understand their goals and day-to-day pain points so that we remain a trusted partner."

Lab managers were asked to rank their top five challenges which included instrument maintenance and downtime (73%), the growing complexities of instrument testing requirements (63%), time-consuming sample preparation (60%). Keeping up-to-date with changing regulations (52%) and the need for better data management (50%) also ranked in the top 5.

40% of respondents revealed a need to optimize their workflow, indicating that the main strategic changes that could help would be improved productivity and throughput (51%), followed by streamlined processes to manage growing workloads (26%). In fact, 45% of lab managers reported that they face significant pressure to process more samples per week.

"A big challenge is the size of our lab, as we are growing and experiencing a higher volume of samples," one respondent told Frost & Sullivan. Some respondents shared that they are managing this by outsourcing, but worry about compromised quality of results.

"Interestingly the survey told us that around one in five of lab managers (18%) consider lab size to be a challenge affecting their lab's performance. Of those, 75% believe that space-saving designs of instruments could help overcome this issue." Justice said - "The new Ultivo LC/triple quad mass spec system announced at this week´s ASMS conference, as well as the recent launch of the Agilent Intuvo GC system, are clear demonstrations of how Agilent is directly responding to our customers' concerns" he concluded.


What Lab Managers Want