The global supply chain has endured many challenges in the last two years, resulting in significant delays in delivery times since the pandemic began. Disruptions include shortages and increased cost of raw materials, labor shortages, decreased efficiencies due to new COVID-19 safety measures, logistics delays, increased shipping costs, and temporary increased demand for materials used for COVID testing.

Although these disruptions have affected every industry, it has significantly impacted the life sciences and healthcare industries. Laboratory equipment is typically custom built; therefore, manufacturers keep inventories relatively low. The combined result of the factors listed above has created increased lead times, product shortages, and increased costs.

Watchdog Senior Project Manager Andrew Louden has seen increased lead times in the field, specifically for fume hoods. Multiple pandemic shutdowns in key fume hood manufacturing facilities have created a backlog in production. Shortages for raw materials have also had a significant impact on fume hoods. Resin, which lines the inside of the device, has been in short supply and high demand. In addition to these setbacks, labor shortages across the globe, particularly in manufacturing and shipping, have contributed to the longer production and delivery time of the fume hoods.

If you’re planning to procure lab equipment, we recommend the following:

Plan in advance. Critical equipment lead times have been over 6-10 months in some cases, so be prepared to submit your order as soon as possible in case there is a backlog.

Have a flexible budget. Unprecedented inflation can increase the cost of laboratory equipment. Anticipate future price increases.

Research your options thoroughly. You may need to consider alternative vendors or brands to meet deadlines and stay under budget. Thoroughly research other manufacturers and check user reviews, ensuring that you don’t sacrifice quality.

Ask about pre-owned equipment. If you have an urgent need for equipment with a long lead time, look into refurbished or pre-owned equipment as a viable option.

Digitize your supply chain operations. Use an IoT solution to track product shipments in real time, giving you the ability to anticipate and react to disruptions quickly.

Understanding the global and local supply chain will help you to procure your critical equipment promptly. It’s essential to anticipate any disruptions so that your equipment can arrive on time and on or under budget.

To learn more about our Life Sciences experts, visit Life Sciences – Our People.


Watchdog is an independent owner's representative and project management firm that provides customized and consultative real estate services. With oversight of the budget and schedule, Watchdog participates in every step of the project ensuring quality is met and your interests are being represented.


Owner’s Representation, Master Planning and Programing, Site Selection/Analysis, Budget/Schedule Administration, Project Coordination, Work Letter Analysis, Closeout Management, Vendor Procurement, Contract Negotiations/Admin, Capital Budget Planning, Process Management, Construction Admin, Multi-site Rollout Management