Many labs continued to operate below the regulations and remained unaccountable to the requirements and uninformed about quality benefits these standards were providing. Scientists and managers, who had grown accustomed to the onsite pipette services, became increasingly curious about the validity and integrity of these traveling providers, as these competency standards and published methodologies circulated the scientific community.
A market divergence was being created for laboratory managers, one which still remains today. While the quality, compliance, and controls of a standards-based calibration was on the rise, the convenience and low price of a traveling onsite pipette service provider continued to draw the interest of basic research labs, who were not held to any compliance standards. With little perceived risk, lab managers were less interested in the shortcomings of onsite pipette services and the risk to their science. Instead, they continued to value the convenience and low pricing available from an onsite service provider, accepting lower and lower price bids.
By the end of the decade, many independent pipette calibration service providers, who were attracted to the regulated laboratory market, began seeking accreditation to the new ISO 17025 standard. This new standard was designed to provide testing and calibration laboratories an unbiased, verified compliance of service competency. Accredited pipette calibration labs became the provider of choice for regulated laboratories, to meet their growing quality assurance programs. Unaccredited pipette providers were no longer capable of meeting the needs of the regulated lab market.
Still, with few barriers, little overhead, no oversight and seemingly limitless revenue streams, traveling pipette service providers thrived. New outfits popped up regularly. From 1-man service units to small armies, they arrived at academic laboratory facilities, each with a suitcase and scale in tow, moving from move lab to lab and soliciting low priced service and ultrafast turnaround. Oversight was absent and access to these facilities was unimpeded.
On September 11, 2001, the world changed…