Scientific services providers can make drug discovery more efficient by helping organizations optimize their most valuable resources, eliminate the inherent financial risk of temporary staff, effectively manage lab equipment, control capital spending, ensure the safety and integrity of data essential to drug discovery assays, and empower scientists to stay focused on research and discovery, not on laboratory operations and instrument maintenance.
Onsite scientific staff are integral to nearly every success factor related to pre-clinical drug discovery, yet many organizations fill these roles with temporary workers who rarely gain the tenure to become top performers.
As a result, highly skilled full-time scientists often spend a significant amount of time performing simple tasks that take them away from the important work that actually contributes to drug discovery.
Effective co-sourced scientific services solutions empower scientists to stay focused on research and discovery, not on laboratory operations and instrument maintenance. Qualified, experienced technicians improve productivity and outcomes by ensuring high compliance standards and reliable data integrity.
Comparing co-sourced services to traditional staffing solutions
A comparison of staffing solutions to co-sourced scientific services clearly demonstrates the superior outcomes possible when laboratory staff have the training, resources, and job security necessary to perform at top levels.
Contract workers from staffing agencies almost always require extensive onboarding and training resources, not to mention weeks of ramp-up time, before they can contribute maximum value to the organization. And during that period, they may actually cost their employer quite a lot.
In fact, industry research indicates that most organizations spend an average of $400 to onboard a single employee.1 Furthermore, companies spend an average of $1,886 per employee on training.2 In the life sciences field, those costs can be much higher.
Training to be proficient with specific instruments and software takes time and dedication. Mastery takes even more effort. By the time contract workers approach a high level of expertise and familiarity with equipment, it’s time for them to move on to another job. Co-sourced employees, however, arrive on day one with a complete knowledge of the scientific techniques and lab equipment they will work with.
Contract workers often don’t have access to the same benefits as full-time employees, which makes them more likely to leave prematurely if more appealing contract or full-time roles appear. In fact, Staffing Industry Analysts reported that nearly a third of all temporary workers have left a position early because they were offered a better job.3
The broader picture of staffing employment turnover is even more bleak. According to the American Staffing Association, the turnover rate for contract employees was 420% in 2018, up from 386% in 2017.4 Over the same period, the average tenure for staffing employment fell to just 10 weeks.
Temporary workers rarely fully integrate into the broader organizational culture, because they have no incentive or motivation to do so. On the surface, this might not seem like a significant business risk, but research has shown that company culture has a direct impact on productivity and, ultimately, revenue.
Failure to integrate into the company’s culture can lead to lower levels of engagement. The Harvard Business Review reported that disengaged employees have a 37% higher rate of absenteeism, contribute to 49% more workplace accidents and are responsible for 60% more errors and defects.5 Organizations with high rates of employee disengagement experience 18% lower job growth and 16% lower profitability, compared with businesses with highly engaged employees.
Co-sourced employees, however, can offer the same advantages of contract workers, but with added benefits that contribute directly to organizational success.
Key elements of best-in-class co-sourced scientific services
An important benefit of co-sourced solutions is the ability to systematically simplify processes to make labs as efficient and effective as possible. To achieve that goal, organizational leaders need to conduct deep analyses into everything they do. Then, things that add value to the advancement of R&D projects should be assigned to lead scientists, while the remaining tasks are allocated to co-sourced workers.
So, what does a best-in-class scientific services solution look like? Stakeholders need to consider not only the quality of work service providers can guarantee, but also the cost savings and overall level of support available.
Quality of work
Best-in-class co-sourced scientific services solutions improve the quality of laboratory work in a number of ways, including:
- Establishment of dedicated workflows
- Customized training and routine instrument checks
- Management of lab operations
- Trackable performance metrics tied to service-level agreements
For example, every minute scientists spend maintaining and testing lab instruments is a minute that could be spent on tasks that actually contribute to drug discovery. Co-sourced service solutions can ensure that all equipment necessary for an assay is functional and calibrated, so scientists can begin their work immediately.
Scientific services solutions that utilize established management techniques, like Lean Six Sigma, can identify and control soft costs that may be difficult to forecast. Within every assay, there are many opportunities for developing efficiencies that contribute to faster drug discovery.
Beyond scientist utilization, co-sourced solutions can help labs uncover blindspots in OEM contracts that claim to be full-service, for example. Likewise, necessary tasks like running quality control samples should be conducted in advance of an assay, not afterwards, to ensure confidence in experimental data.
When things do go awry, such as when equipment malfunctions or requires troubleshooting, the scientists shouldn’t have to wait for remote customer service—especially if support is off-site. Organizations that utilize co-sourced scientific services have the luxury of an in-house expert who can perform initial troubleshooting to fix the issue.
It is typically found that most instrument issues can be solved immediately, thereby reducing the downtime associated with instrument repairs. If issues are more complicated, then a visit from the OEM can be coordinated by the scientific services specialist. The idea is to simplify and speed up the process. Not only are they immediately available, they are also a part of the company culture.
Modern drug discovery involves substantial IT infrastructure. In many cases, scientists are responsible for collecting, processing, manipulating, and storing data. When problems with hardware or software occur, they either spend hours troubleshooting the issue or waiting for the IT department to solve the problem. However, corporate IT stakeholders rarely understand the lab environment, which can lead to further delays.
Scientific services providers can help organizations recapture resources by managing the computers attached to lab instruments. They can ensure the safety and integrity of data essential to drug discovery assays.
Co-sourced scientific services solutions make drug discovery more efficient by helping organizations optimize their most valuable resources, eliminate the inherent financial risk of temporary staff, effectively manage lab equipment, and control capital spending.
These benefits represent only a slice of what PerkinElmer’s OneSource® Scientific Services has to offer. Powered by over 80 years of scientific capability, OneSource provides the expertise required to optimize lab operations and empower researchers to focus on their most valuable resources. Through effective management of analytical instruments, evaluation of lab processes, and on-site technicians and staff, OneSource helps lab directors prioritize their time and efforts toward important breakthroughs in drug discovery.
To learn more about how OneSource can support your organization’s mission, schedule a conversation with a trusted PerkinElmer consultant today.