The complex instrumentation and equipment used in today’s biopharm labs require regular service to keep them running efficiently and properly. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable third-party vendor can provide a consolidated, holistic approach to equipment maintenance, service, and management across all leading equipment brands. However, the cost for such asset management services is often at the top of budget expenses.
As companies like yours are tasked with methods to cut costs while simultaneously procuring high-quality and low-risk maintenance services, it is important to use processes to set parameters for quality and risk. This ensures that the right vendor is chosen; a partner who will provide quality service and can work within the company’s projected budget. This process typically involves creating a Request for Proposal, or RFP, to invite vendors to bid on these services.
Before tackling an RFP, it’s critical to understand top level objectives and desired outcomes. In some cases, it’s helpful to consult with a few of the vendors you are considering so they can help solidify exactly what services you may want to consider. Once your goals and objectives are defined, you can start researching various types of maintenance programs that will help you achieve them. Some typical goals in a sourcing initiative might include:
- Providing better control and reporting of maintenance expenses and asset effectiveness
- Achieving cost-saving goals
- Improving lab productivity, capacity, and efficiency
- Reducing cost of compliance
- Reducing time to market by enabling a greater focus on core competencies
- Maintaining quality and compliance while delivering timely and reliable results
- Streamlining maintenance of instruments and lab equipment into one integrated solution
- Reducing equipment maintenance costs
What do I Include in an RFP?
When creating your RFP, start with the goals you defined in the previous exercise ̶ it’s important to make sure these are clearly communicated. Below is a practical list of categories you may want to consider:
- Project Scope
- Statement of Work (SOW)
- Term of the Contract
- Definitions - Define any terms or systems specific to your organization that are related to asset management, maintenance, and inventory referenced throughout the RFP.
- Program Governance - Outline team members – from your organization and the supplier’s – that are responsible for program governance, i.e., Executive, Project Management, Site Operations.
- Asset Services - Describe the technical and nontechnical asset services required.
- Corrective Services - Describe the processes required to diagnose and repair maintained and managed equipment.
- Preventative Maintenance (PM) - Explain the process, including initiating a work order for each asset, logging the planned PM for each scheduled date and the description of the service. List the reporting requirements and intervals for scheduled PM for each asset required by the supplier.
- Qualifications/Calibrations - Detail the process, including the frequency and intervals of operational qualification guidelines for each asset. How will the supplier and your company work together to level load calibration services throughout the calendar year?
- Equipment Software Services/Lab Computing Services
- Outline what the delivery of lab computing support services and Computer System Validation (CSV) support services may encompass.
- Describe the roles and responsibilities required in the incident handling process. Include any additional service requests for nonbreak fix services for lab computers, peripherals, and other IT assets.
- Detail Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for response time and resolution time.
- Equipment Parts and Inventory Services - Manage parts inventory and all acquisition costs associated with parts inventory and inventory consolidation.
- Asset Services - Specify that the supplier will:
- Maintain an accurate list of all assets and systems with updated equipment records.
- Provide asset onboarding services from the time of purchase to the time the instrument is retired via resale, disposal, or donation.
- Identify asset candidates for disposition based on age, utilization, redundancy, lifecycle state, and repair history; request supplier to provide disposition recommendations.
- New Assets and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Warranties - Clarify what services are covered by the OEM warranty or supplier.
- Elective Service Options - Document any services outside the scope of the SOW, including relocation, asset refurbishment, and hardware/software upgrades that you may want to use.
- Moves, Adds, and Changes - Define what the process is and what the requirements are to track the asset count on a monthly basis for moves, adds, and changes – and the costs and schedules associated with this order.
- Service Levels for Laboratory Asset Management - Service levels should be clearly defined and monitored, enabling you to measure the performance of the supplier. At this point, it’s also helpful to identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) to define how you’ll measure success. For example:
- Corrective Maintenance:< X Hours: Call Placed to Call Completed
- Down Time – Maintain – On Site
- Down Time – Maintain – On Hand
- Down Time – Manage
- Preventative Maintenance: > X% PMs Completed by Due Date
- PM Completion – GxP
- PM Completion – Non GxP
- Operational Performance
- Customer Satisfaction
- Equipment Inventory Accuracy
- Continuous Improvement/Project Completion
- Repeat Calls
- Ontime Completion of OEM Contracts with Preferred Supplier
- Safety: Target RIR Set by Industry Standard
- Corrective Maintenance:< X Hours: Call Placed to Call Completed
In addition, at the end of the year, it’s extremely useful to compile a score card that measures vendor performance and identifies areas of improvement. To achieve this, you can plot your vendor’s performance against your KPIs, as illustrated in the table.
|Performance Category||KPI||KPI Metric Definition||Green||Yellow||Red|
|Corrective Maintenance||Down Time – Maintain – On-site||< x hours; Call placed to call completed||< x # of hours||Between x and y # of hours||> y # of hours|
|Down Time – Maintain – On Hand|
|Preventative Maintenance||PM Completion – GxP||100% PMs completed by due date||100%||n/a||< 100%|
|Operational Performance||Repeat Calls||< x%; Count of repairs that did require 2nd visit within 30 days||< x%||Between x and y %||> y%|
What Steps do I Need to Follow to Create an RFP?
As you begin to develop your RFP, it’s important to have all of your key internal stakeholders review the document and provide feedback. This allows for a more comprehensive and complete proposal – one that clearly defines the goals and objectives that are required by all parties.
Next, identify vendors whose services match your requirements and provide them with the RFP as well as deadlines for response.
After reviewing their responses, you should be able to narrow down the list of vendors to a select few who can then be invited for in-person presentations. This format will help you achieve a better understanding of their level of expertise and culture, and will help you determine if you will be able to work together in a collaborative manner.
How do I Choose a Vendor?
When selecting the right strategic partner from your lab asset management vendor shortlist, value needs to be assessed and quantified. Purchasing decisions should not be based solely on cost, as this may result in unexpected downstream expenses that negate the initial benefit. Finding a vendor who can positively impact the entire organization will lead to greater cost savings.
Having a multivendor partner, one who can be your dedicated point of contact to manage your service, instrument qualification and equipment calibration, is a great step forward in helping to improve your lab’s efficiencies.
A good vendor should be able to provide high-quality preventative and corrective maintenance on a variety of instruments from all leading manufacturers. They should also be able to place an experienced engineer in your lab to ensure day-to-day activities are kept running smoothly, with little to no downtime.
Who Should We Consider Working With?
OneSource® Asset Management Services offers a consolidated, cost-effective solution that can keep your instrumentation at peak performance. Replacing a piecemeal approach, we consolidate all your equipment maintenance activities using our trusted team, delivering a fast response each and every time. When you only have to deal with one contract and one point of contact, you are able to reduce multiple service visits and phone calls with many different providers.
Our highly trained engineers are dedicated to providing the highest level of multivendor preventative maintenance, repair, and qualification services on all of your instruments, regardless of manufacturer.
In addition, we empower your key decision makers with analytics and key information detailing exactly how the services are being performed, whether or not service levels are being met, and what costs are being incurred. With real-time access to reporting, capturing spend, performance, and other metrics, you can improve compliance and keep your lab running smoothly and cost effectively.
Building an RFP can be a grueling process. However, by defining clear expectations for your vendors, you are setting yourself up for success. A smoother selection process will help ensure you find the right partner to meet all your asset management servicing needs. Instead of choosing a vendor based solely on price, you are able to carefully ascertain the right strategic partner who can provide significant value to your operations.