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How to Find Your Best Pharma Lab Vendor

How to Find Your Best Pharma Lab Vendor

Today’s biopharmaceutical labs use complex instruments that require regular service and preventative maintenance to keep those systems—and the entire lab—running efficiently. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable, third-party vendor can provide a consolidated, holistic approach to equipment maintenance, service, and management across all equipment brands. However, the price tag for asset management services can be high.

Every day, companies are challenged with cutting costs while also procuring high-quality, low-risk maintenance services. Setting parameters for quality and risk ensures the right vendor is chosen—a partner who will provide quality service on budget. This process typically involves creating a request for proposal (RFP) to invite vendors to bid on these services.

Before tackling an RFP, it’s critical to understand top-level objectives and desired outcomes. 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 include cost savings, improving lab productivity and efficiency, reducing time to market, and maintaining quality and compliance.

What do I include in an RFP?

When creating an RFP, start with defined goals—it’s important to make sure these are clearly communicated.

Here are some other essential points to consider:

  • Project scope, including statement of work (SOW), term of the contract, and termination
  • Defined terms or systems specific to your organization that are related to asset management, maintenance, and inventory
  • Team members who are responsible for program governance, for example, executive, project management, site operations
  • Description of the technical and nontechnical asset services required
  • Required processes to diagnose and repair maintained and managed equipment
  • Preventative maintenance (PM) for each asset in your lab
  • Detailed qualifications/calibrations process
  • Manage parts inventory and all acquisition costs associated with parts inventory and inventory consolidation
  • Provide asset onboarding services from the time of purchase to the time the instrument is retired via resale, disposal, or donation.
  • Define the process and the requirements to track the monthly asset count and cost for moves, adds, and changes

What steps do I follow to create an RFP?

As you begin to develop your RFP, it’s important to have all internal stakeholders review the document and provide feedback. This allows for a more comprehensive and complete proposal and 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 a strategic partner, 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.

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 can carefully ascertain the right strategic partner who can provide significant value to your operations.

For more about creating an RFP for asset management services, read the full guide here.

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