Creating the Lab of the Future: A Shift Toward Agility, Flexibility and Efficiency

By: Michael Norris
Apr 13, 2016 2:55 PM ET
Michael Norris, CEO, Hospitals, Sodexo North America

Creating The Lab of the Future: A Shift Toward Agility, Flexibility and Efficie…

This is the eighth in a continuing blog series based on insights and findings from the Sodexo 2016 Workplace Trends Report. The Report examines nine key trends impacting business outcomes and affecting the quality of life of employees and consumers in the workplace. To learn more, access the full article: Creating The Lab of the Future: A Shift Toward Agility, Flexibility, and Efficiency

Highly trained scientists are working very hard to find treatment and technology advances to help our society better manage the needs of aging populations and chronic diseases. The demands from an aging global population and emerging societies that are spending more on healthcare means that this is a growth area.

But the opportunity that life sciences businesses have to improve the quality of life for millions can be constrained by the need to reduce costs and the difficulty of finding enough talent to do the work. The global life sciences sector is increasingly turning to collaborating with outsourcing companies to get the most value from their scientists, labs and other scientific services to adapt to the new demands placed on them.

In the 2016 Workplace Trends Report, Carl Stanbridge, MSc, Quality & Compliance Director — Global Pharmaceuticals and FMCG, Sodexo, offers insights on how outsourcing can give scientists more freedom to create breakthroughs by pointing out that 30 percent of their time is spent on non-scientific work. By managing non-core tasks, scientific services allow the highly trained scientists to focus on core activities.

Carl writes from his perspective as a leader of a global team of Quality Assurance (QA) professionals, who are responsible for ensuring that operations are conducted in accordance with each client’s requirements and regulatory expectations, and as chair of the Sodexo Global Centre of Expertise, which is responsible for developing the operational processes and tools in all areas of the services that Sodexo delivers to the pharmaceutical industry.

He writes that the fundamental benefit that scientific services delivers to the life sciences industry is the ability for scientists to spend as much time as possible working toward organizational objectives. The scientific community is increasingly engaged in the decisions and solutions around scientific services. As a result, service providers are expected to place an emphasis on “value” as understood and desired by the end user.

He notes that effective scientific services:

  • Provide highly qualified personnel — an extension of the scientific community.
  • Deliver innovative solutions.
  • Understand scientists’ expectations and the regulatory environment.

Carl also offers best practices for outsourcing scientific services:

  • Projects must start with defining and scoping the “core business” of both the life sciences organization and the service provider.
  • Technology demands require a clear strategy so that the solution benefits both outsourcer and service provider.
  • Staff skill sets need to be clearly outlined so that appropriate staff can be recruited to achieve the objectives within the scope of the defined facility.
  • The contract must be progressive and serve both the life sciences company and the service provider.
  • The definition of facilities is critical — does it extend to the “human” elements of the workplace or just the physical?
  • Senior management must set the overall objectives of the outsourcing arrangement and how they will be measured.

A strategic service provider optimizes the life sciences workplace and creates an agile, innovative and inspiring environment for end users — the scientists. Scientific services can foster collaboration among scientists through workplace design elements and open-access lab management. Finally, scientific services can save a company 15–19% over the course of the contract.

Michael Norris is CEO of Healthcare for Sodexo North America.  With responsibility for $3.2 billion in annual revenues and 33,000 employees, Mr. Norris is committed to increasing knowledge and awareness on how individuals, organizations and communities can improve their health and well-being.