The Simplicity of Scheduling

How Alana Hamilton improved online booking and billing systems with LabArchives Scheduler

When Alana Hamilton joined the Flow Core Facility in the Institute of Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow, she assumed the responsibility of billing for instrument use. With seven instruments and one hundred users, the online booking system is a critical component.

Despite its importance, the billing system was inefficient and not easy to use. The imaging technologist had tasked an acquaintance with creating the system; when he left, little information could be located on how to pay for the yearly charge and when. Since no remaining staff knew when the bill was due, the entire system would be suspended, with no insight as to who had booked equipment to use. It was impossible to know which instruments needed to be set up or which configurations were needed.

When Alana returned from maternity leave in 2016, she made it her mission to improve their system. The priority for the facility was cost; if they went with a free system, they would not need to worry about losing access without warning because of billing issues.

With many free and paid options available on the market, Alana decided to look into what other labs were using. Many were using LabArchives Scheduler, which came highly reviewed. Comparing their current system to what LabArchives offered made it hard for Alana to understand why they stuck with inefficient, nearly unusable software for as long as they did. LabArchives Scheduler was free, yet fully customizable to meet the facility’s needs.

Alana found that adding or removing resources is done in a few simple clicks. With COVID-19, this extremely useful feature made it easy to meet social distancing requirements by making areas of the lab bookable and the schedule able to be seen from home. With new, added areas, Alana was able to add two more schedules for histology and tissue culture. As restrictions have changed, LabArchives Scheduler has allowed Alana to add more resources as space opens back up. Without LabArchives, Alana felt that they would not have been able to safely manage space within the facility.

The switch to LabArchives Scheduler made Alana’s job significantly easier. Before, she was left to manually count the hours each user used each machine to bill them. LabArchives eliminates this task, providing a list with the hours for each user, removing free-to-use equipment. After using the original system and LabArchives in tandem, users voted in favor of LabArchives.

Alana couldn’t be happier with the support they have received during their use of LabArchives Scheduler, receiving fast responses to any questions they have. This support was particularly invaluable during the recent integration with other LabArchives software.

Since first adopting LabArchives, the facility has switched to a paid version, which Alana believes reflects their faith and satisfaction in LabArchives Scheduler. She hopes they remain customers for years to come.

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