What Lab Managers Wish Procurement Understood About Lab Services


The process of choosing a laboratory asset management partner seems simple enough. Sharpen your pencil and do the addition: people plus time equals cost. What many lab managers wish would happen in a request for proposal for laboratory services may be quite different because one plus one doesn’t always add up to two. In fact, lab managers hope procurement teams might consider that the selection of lab management partners is less about arithmetic and more about calculus.

Calculating what may seem like slight differences between lab management partners makes the selection process a bit more complex for everyone involved in the procurement process. This can be confounded by situations where multiple procurement teams represent functions of the scientific workflow, sectioned off, for example, between asset management and information technology, or staffing research upstream and compliance services downstream.

Slight differences between management partners can add up in a big way. So just what do lab managers hope their procurement partners take into account during the lab management selection process?

Look at workflows the way a scientist would

Managing maintenance and qualification for a variety of manufacturers’ instruments and systems can be challenging for scientists who work with multiple vendors across the scientific workflow. For example, if automated high-throughput screening systems in target identification falter, how does it affect workload in downstream hit stratification and profiling? Is it the instrument or software? Do you call in an instrument service engineer or a software engineer? Nonintegrated asset management models may require that both vendors get called. While troubleshooting can usually identify problems within a couple hours, it may be the availability of service engineers and travel time that sinks productivity for scientists up and down the workflow. Lab managers would like procurement to be their partner in understanding the scientific workflow so that the the right team is chosen to manage assets efficiently.

Seek vendors who can expand their services beyond instrument repair

Instrument repair and maintenance services are often the foundational request in most RFPs. Other lab services such as compliance, scientific services, automation, informatics, and training and education are either outsourced by other vendors or performed by in-house resources. Lab managers wish their procurement partners understood that the most streamlined approach, and often the most successful, is for labs to concentrate on science, while “insourcing” with a single source partner. This makes it easier to evaluate and optimize all their scientific activities and objectively determine the progression of R&D project deliverables.

With services that touch virtually every part of the scientific laboratory workflow, OneSource offers an efficient consulting platform based on three simple premises:

  • Create a standardized environment that meets the needs of everyone.
  • Simplify routine laboratory tasks through robotics or informatics.
  • Match the right skill set to the right task.

By taking a holistic approach, lab needs can be quickly identified, addressed and implemented, resulting in what both lab managers and procurement wish for – a productive, cost effective operation.

Recognize the importance of data

A company’s ability to capture, connect, and extract value from operational data can make or break productivity goals. Lab managers hope their procurement partners understand the importance of real-time data in capital expenditure planning, the use of utilization data to optimize time and human resources, and the implementation of condition-based maintenance programs to help ensure appropriate service levels. Using sophisticated analytics tools, companies can now correlate instrument usage, service data, and instrument age to extract actionable insights that lead to improved efficiencies and best-in-class laboratory optimization. With a cohesive data set, lab managers can now realize real results: minimal instrument downtime and decreased operational costs.

Understand hidden costs

What if you could quantify the time scientists spent troubleshooting instruments, escorting service personnel or running routine maintenance and diagnostics? One lab manager found that his staff was spending over 25% of their day on nonscientific tasks. Hidden costs can eat into laboratory productivity and efficiency. Lab managers wish procurement would understand the efficiencies gained by using a single source vendor, eliminating the hidden costs of multivendor spare parts silos, redundant or underutilized staffing, compliance issues and lab relocation. Even disaster recovery can be a hidden cost when multiple vendors must act urgently towards a unified purpose.

OneSource provides an integrated suite of multivendor laboratory services, including corrective and preventative maintenance, qualification, calibration, relocation, and asset disposition covering all major equipment manufacturers and technologies. Scientists hope that their procurement partners understand that lab management resources may not have the same breadth of experience nor offer the same services. With OneSource laboratory management services, it is the interwoven network of scientific services, actionable analytical data and deep project management experience that offers added value and helps to make the procurement equation add up to so much more.