A lab relocation, whether planned or unexpected, can be a complex and lengthy undertaking that consists of far more than the physical transportation of assets. Complex instrumentation requires decommissioning, recommissioning, and validation. Methods and measures must be put into place and instruments need to be inventoried and barcoded to ensure the chain of custody is intact throughout the process. While many choose to utilize internal project teams, a lot of these responsibilities fall outside of their skillset and thus can lead to additional downtime and excess costs if not handled properly. Given the logistics involved, it is recommended that you outsource relocations to a provider from the scientific community; a partner who has insight into key laboratory operational requirements, including compliance and regulatory standards that must be maintained.
Working with a third party who specializes in such relocations can help alleviate some of the stress because they have the skillset to carefully manage all of the moving pieces – from preshipment preparation to safe transportation of instruments – ensuring your lab is up and running quickly.
However, it’s not an easy task to decide who is going to be the best partner to handle such a complex project. When evaluating vendors, many companies develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) to invite vendors to bid on these services.
Before you start to develop your RFP, it’s helpful to set expectations; clearly defining criteria, goals and objectives. Once these are defined, vendors who provide such relocation services can be researched.
Some typical goals may include:
- Getting your lab back up and running as quickly as possible
- Maintaining lab productivity and efficiency as your relocation progresses
- Developing and adhering to a timeline
- Achieving cost savings
In this brief, we provide an overview of what you need to know as you develop your RFP as well as an outline of what the process typically looks like.
Development of RFP
The process of developing an RFP generally takes several months to complete. The following steps are involved:
- Develop and distribute the RFP
- Review and evaluate responses
- Clarify responses
- Schedule pre-bid walkthrough
- Conduct in-house presentations
- Clarify issues raised during presentations
- Review and evaluate new responses
- Conduct finalist interviews and presentations
- Select a vendor
As you begin to develop your RFP, it’s important to have all of your key stakeholders review the document and provide feedback. The parties that should be involved include Finance, Procurement, Compliance/Quality, Tech and/or Lab Operations, EHS, IT, and Facilities. These departments should play an active role in reviewing the RFP before it is distributed to vendors.
By building a team with key stakeholders early in the process, you are ensuring everyone is on the same page and understands goals and objectives. This allows for a more comprehensive and complete proposal – one that clearly defines the goals and objectives that are required.
Once the RFP draft is complete, it is recommended to identify vendors who offer the services you require and then provide them with the RFP as well as deadlines and timeframes that need to be adhered to.
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 provides a better understanding of their level of expertise and knowledge and will help you determine if you will be able to work together in a collaborative manner.
Components to Include in Your RFP
In order to have a clear definition of your relocation goals and objectives, it’s important to include the following pieces in your RFP:
- Scope of services
- Project timeline
- Proposal deliverables
- Evaluation criteria
- Attachments to include equipment lists, site maps, certification forms
- Overview of the vendor
- Details on vendor’s approach, terms, and conditions
A sample Scope of Services for a Research & Development and Product Development Lab Relocation RFP may include:
- Project management throughout the duration of this project
- Thorough site assessment
- Inventory tagging of all assets prior to a move
- Premove benchmarking of assets
- Preparation and scheduling of the relocation
- Acquisition of all required permits, certifications, and more
- Prepping of equipment for relocation, including decommissioning and managing OEM identified assets
- Adequate packing materials, containers, and moving equipment, where necessary
- Packaging of items to be relocated, where necessary
- Laboratory equipment
- Unpacking of items, where necessary
- Medical gas cylinders
- Office/conference room furniture, per drawings
- Reinstall office/conference room furniture, per drawings
- Guidance and direction throughout the relocation process
- Adherence to all relevant protocols (e.g., controlled substances, radioactive materials, and more)
- Utilization of proper moving equipment and methodology throughout the relocation
- A real-time project status tool throughout the course of this project
- Electronic tracking of equipment throughout the relocation process
- On-site walkthroughs throughout the duration of this project
- Tracking of fixed assets, asset recovery, and disposition
- Recalibration and recommissioning of lab equipment, where necessary
- Punch list to include debris removal, repairing of any damage, and replacement of lost goods
- Salvage unwanted equipment
It’s also important to ensure that the vendors you are considering have the expertise and ability to:
- Decommission/recommission all technologies in the lab
- Provide calibration, validation, and qualification services where necessary
- Understand regulatory needs and requirements
- Adhere to local and international laws in relation to the handling of dangerous goods and temperature sensitive materials
- Understand how to pack and transport sensitive, high-value technical assets
- Provide necessary insurance requirements
In addition, the following questions should be asked as you go through this process:
- What experience does your relocation partner have in this field?
- Can case studies or references from similar projects be provided?
- Can they provide SOPs and methodologies for each area of work?
- What makes their service unique?
- How are they resourced to handle your project along with others that may be in operation at the same time?
- How will they identify, manage, and overcome risk?
- How will they ensure that downtime is minimized or eradicated?
- What solutions will they bring to help guide the process for better outcomes?
- What capability in project management do they have?
- How will they integrate services across all of the different stakeholders?
Vendor Selection Process
When choosing a vendor, value needs to be assessed and quantified. Purchasing decisions should not be based solely on cost, as this may result in unexpected expenses that negate the initial benefit. Finding a multivendor partner, one who can be your dedicated point of contact to quickly and efficiently relocate your lab will lead to greater cost savings and minimal disruption. Keeping your science running while a relocation occurs in a cost-effective manner can only be done with an experienced vendor.
OneSource Relocation Services: Customized Solutions for Every Step of the Way
PerkinElmer OneSource® Relocation Services provides the necessary expertise, processes and tools to help keep your lab functioning throughout the relocation process. Whether 20 instruments or 20,000 – we will lead you through the steps of a successful relocation from transportation to the qualification of your instruments and complete lab compliance. Our project managers and multivendor engineers understand the complexities behind relocations and can help minimize any bumps in the road. As a result, you’re able to get back to doing what you do best: making groundbreaking scientific discoveries.
Outsourcing your lab relocation can be a daunting task given the complex logistics involved, but one that can be simplified when you have clearly defined goals and objectives. The development of an RFP enables you to make informed decisions so that you can choose the right vendor for your needs. A smoother vendor selection process will help ensure your relocation is executed efficiently.