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Jul 1, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 13)

Outsourcing Asset Management

  • Saving Money

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    According to Thermo Fisher Scientific, its SmartCapture system provides knowledge of asset utilization and the power to make informed lab productivity decisions.

    In 2011, Thermo Fisher Scientific took the step to reorganize a large portion of its long-standing, instrument-centric service organizations under a new structure known as Unity™ Lab Services. This new organization combines the firm’s expertise in laboratory support services into a single solution to optimize productivity and reduce the total costs for laboratory operations.

    How much can one expect to save by streamlining services utilizing their asset management program? The company says typical first year savings should average 10% or greater, with additional savings in subsequent years as customer programs expand.

    “One of the biggest challenges that Unity Asset Management Services helps clients resolve is streamlining asset maintenance to drive efficiencies, increase uptime, and decrease inventory costs,” says Keith Martinko, global product development manager, Unity Lab Services.

    Pointing to how outsourcing asset management played out in the real world, he adds: “One of our Unity Lab Services clients—a large pharmaceutical company—was faced with the challenge of migrating service managed by individual researchers on more than 2,500 instruments at three individual geographic sites into an integrated asset management solution. Their goals were to collect and maintain an accurate instrument inventory, establish a single point of contact for all service management to deliver improved service quality, and provide performance metrics that could be used to monitor performance and drive cost savings.”

    Unity Lab Services implemented a custom solution. The program consisted of dedicated onsite service engineers and site managers who managed day-to-day operations and utilized a centralized call center that streamlined operations and PM scheduling, which allowed for the delivery of planned services and improved uptime. This client also gained online access to all maintenance activity, and executed more informed decision making through leveraging detailed business reports. Ultimately, this customized solution resulted in savings of more than $2.2 million with faster service response, increased uptime, and improved laboratory productivity.

    “Saving time and money via outsourcing asset management is something that is here to stay,” adds Rodney Smith, president, Unity Lab Services. “Innovations in technology, such as asset utilization monitoring and comprehensive data mining, will deliver the expanded knowledge that laboratories need to drive proactive services, and improve researcher productivity and instrument uptime.”

  • Managing Real Estate

    No longer does the life science industry often hold on to large tracts of land for future development, notes Richard McBlaine, international director, life sciences, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

    “Because of the economy as well as patent cliffs, most of the industry is no longer banking real estate. Now companies primarily are right-sizing and leasing or acquiring only the facilities they immediately need,” McBlaine says. “Some of the challenges faced in managing these facilities include hazardous waste management, roof maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, security, and even window washing, et cetera. Increasingly, companies are outsourcing these duties so they can focus on their core missions.”

    JLL’s life sciences business manages 70 million square feet of research, manufacturing, and commercial space for some of the largest life sciences companies in the world, providing integrated facilities management, engineering and operations, energy and sustainability, transaction advisory services, lease administration, project management, and laboratory management services.

    According to McBlaine, outsourcing to an expert facilities team specializing in life sciences is important because “these facilities often have special needs, for example, hazmat or research materials and equipment that are very sensitive to vibrations, heat/cold, humidity, et cetera. Choosing an experienced partner to do this assures everything is done safely and efficiently.”

    He adds that another advantage to outsourcing is the ability to save on energy costs through use reduction and price negotiation. “Utilizing best practices and centralized purchasing, both the cost of power and the amount of energy utilized can be significantly reduced,” McBlaine says. “Including the latest smart building technology and service platforms helps ensure that each building is operating at peak efficiency.”

    When looking into acquiring or leasing facilities for R&D and other operations, a new trend among life sciences companies is to cluster where prospective employees live.

    “Years ago, the norm was for workers to relocate to get a job. Now, younger workers place more of a priority on choosing where they want to live, according to the quality of life they want to have. Thus, companies are increasingly seeking locations with access to the best pools of expert workers,” McBlaine says. “Places such as San Diego, Greater Boston, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco are among the locations that companies are now selecting. For life sciences companies, managing their corporate real estate portfolios now requires not only expertise in the unique aspects of their facilities, but also an understanding of site selection dynamics in light of these clusters—establishing locations where talent, funding, and facilities are available for life science needs.”

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