Attention lab supply shoppers! Big news: ZAGENO’s lab supply marketplace got a face-lift. On Nov 18, ZAGENO launched its latest update, featuring significant changes to simplify and make it easier to buy than ever.
1. HOMEPAGE: Enjoy a streamlined homepage. With this new layout, you can access relevant deals, brands, and products much faster and easily from the homepage. You'll see a simplified interface with applicable promotions and highlighted brands. These updates will save you time and effort.
2. SEARCH: The simplified search bar is another feature that will speed up your procurement process. It displays enriched and more relevant results, such as product details and specifications, allowing you to search more confidently. Additionally, enriched search results pages featuring easy-to-navigate product hierarchy and multi-select filters make it easier to refine your search results according to your specific needs. These upgrades help you cut down on time spent scrolling through pages of results, allowing you to select the best products more efficiently.
3.PRODUCT PAGES: You’ll also encounter upgraded product and vendor selections. The new product detail pages offer a cleaner design and cleaner supplier choice, making it easier to assess your options and pick the right supplier for your needs.
These new changes are an investment in our mission to provide the most comprehensive and efficient lab supply marketplace for life science and research supplies. We can't wait for you to explore the improved ZAGENO shopping experience.
PS: Schedule a free lab assessment if your company is not currently using the ZAGENO lab supply marketplace but could benefit from it.
A tweet by a new Principal Investigator went viral last year. Written in frustration with the lab supply inventory management process, the tweet received hundreds of thousands of views and was shared with hundreds of labs. As we know, the daily life of a researcher isn’t usually viral material, so this tweet obviously hit a nerve about a commonly shared R&D. Luckily, there are actionable ways to better manage the lab supply inventory management process.
Effective lab supply inventory management and ordering is the cornerstone of a well-run research organization and is pivotal to milestone achievement. Precise, real-time, automated inventory management enables researchers to make informed decisions, reduces the risk of errors, and fosters a proactive approach to resource utilization. By investing in better lab supply management and procurement processes, biotechs can give scientists the gift of more time at the bench — and avoid going viral for the wrong reasons.
Get a free lab assessment to see how ZAGENO could fit within your lab supply ordering processes and cure your scientist’s pain points today.
Is your incubator feeling a little cramped? Did you need more control over your operations? How about a little more privacy? Congratulations! This means you’re ready to leave the nest and move to a lab of your own. You already know it’s a lot of work (a typical laboratory move can take three to six months of planning before a single item is moved) and expense (new lab construction can cost anywhere from $375-$1325 per square foot). But there are other considerations when planning your big move.
As the leading lab supply marketplace, ZAGENO serves as the Amazon of the life sciences industry, covering 5,300+ brands and 40 million+ different product SKUs. ZAGENO’s experience within the R&D sector provides us with unique insights into best practices for major milestones, such as lab relocation.
Accessing a lab supply marketplace:
Read about how an incubator implemented access to ZAGENO one month before moving to a space 14x larger and saved $1.3M in labor costs, 9,000 hours, and saved 29% on supply costs.
Read about how a small biotech increased lab supply orders by 545% while saving 2,900 hours (31% of total spend) with ZAGENO.
Similar to moving out of your parents’ house to your first apartment, or buying your first house, lab relocation is a very exciting, stressful, and expensive time. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Contact ZAGENO today to save time and money during this phase of your company’s growth and beyond.
It’s an understatement that the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging for labs, with raw material shortages, labor shortages, transit issues, and snarled supply chains. The pressure for lightning-fast scientific discovery and unforeseen demand led to a flush of investment and spending in the lab supply market. However, post-pandemic, rising interest rates, increased inflation, and decreased funding have led to the return of value-based lab supply purchasing, as illustrated by market share trends. This shift requires agile tight-rope walking skills, as biotech and pharma seek to optimize lab supply budgets without sacrificing innovation.
Note on this article’s data source: As the leading lab supply marketplace, ZAGENO serves as the Amazon of the life sciences industry, covering 5,300+ brands and 40 million+ different product SKUs. The breadth and depth of products offered provides ZAGENO with unique insights into best practices and changing market conditions, which can empower R&D to make informed lab supply purchases that enable both resource optimization and scientific choice.
To meet the huge increases in demand wrought by the pandemic, companies spent heavily on capital expenditures (CAPEX) such as massive machines and equipment. In the past year, CAPEX spending fell by 43% as the industry runs current experiments, continues previous investments, and postpones new, larger purchases due to high interest rates and other more recent macro conditions.
To ensure the lab has access to everything it could possibly need to run experiments, the ZAGENO platform categorizes data according to many dimensions, including non-CAPEX product categories. Per ZAGENO’s data, non-CAPEX category share has remained relatively steady over the past year.
Biotech and pharma are transitioning from a time of massive demand and spending to one more focused on value and resource optimization. ZAGENO’s data showcasing the top ten brands with the highest market share growth over the past year shows a correlating purchasing habit shift. The scientific community is increasingly focused on value, willing to try new brands, and also willing to try suppliers who are newer to the market.
Industry lab supply ordering trends show procurement strategies that seek to extend the life of capital and stretch budgets during times of uncertain demand and funding. As such, the top ten fallers in terms of ZAGENO marketplace market share include some of the largest players, with pricing and service that may not fit current conditions.
Budget optimization that supports scientific discovery requires a purchasing strategy that helps scientists deliver more with less. Since the scientific community is increasingly willing to try different brands and newer suppliers, they need an outlet that makes it easy to shop, order, and track purchases from a variety of qualified, easy-to-find vendors. ZAGENO provides scientists with the choice of millions of products from thousands of vetted suppliers who compete according to price and quality.
Operating a lab supply marketplace enables ZAGENO to produce this first-of-its-kind analysis for the life sciences industry with insightful trend data, such as supplier performance and supplier pricing trends.
Did you know that it’s possible to walk the tight-rope of value-based lab supply purchasing, without sacrifice? Contact us to see ZAGENO in action, visit us at www.zageno.com/marketplace-access.
Lab supply pricing is a bit of a good news/bad news situation right now. The good news? After a few rocky years, inflation is slowing and lab supply MSLPs (Manufacturer Suggested List Price) are stabilizing. The bad news? Despite stabilization, pricing trends show that distributor list prices are continuing to rise. The very good news? Lab supply marketplaces, such as ZAGENO, provide a way to shop smarter in the face of the paradoxical pricing trends by leveraging the powers of price transparency and competitive bidding.
Note on this article’s data source: As the leading lab supply marketplace, ZAGENO serves as the Amazon of the life sciences industry, covering 5,300+ brands and 40 million+ different product SKUs. The breadth and depth of products offered provides ZAGENO with unique insights into best practices and changing market conditions, which can empower R&D to make informed lab supply purchases that enable both resource optimization and scientific choice.
Coming out of the pandemic, prices increased across the board, not just in the life science supply and capital expenditure (CAPEX) worlds. Wholesale costs rose rapidly, with multiple price increases occurring within short timeframes as suppliers struggled to source raw materials as well as manage their huge price fluctuations.
AT THE MANUFACTURER LEVEL: In the past year, manufacturers have gained better supply chain control and access to raw materials, as well as experienced softened demand, translating into slowdowns in price increases and steadier MSLPs.
AT THE DISTRIBUTOR LEVEL: Despite steadier MSLPs, global distributors have not followed suit. ZAGENO’s data shows ongoing distributor list price increases, further widening margins between MSLPs and distributor list prices.
While shipping costs have not fallen in the past year, this is not unusual due to the nature of the supply chain industry. However, ZAGENO has seen the substantial shipping cost increases characteristic of the past several years slow down significantly.
Just as manufacturer price increases have stabilized, so have ship cost increases. This is due to carriers better handling demand and volume, suppliers shipping goods in an orderly manner, and the overall effect of volume becoming more predictable and easier to manage across the network.
The gap between suggested retail prices and manufacturer suggested retail prices is widening. For example, a globally preferred distributor lists a product at a certain price and then offers a customer-specific “discount” of, on average, 29%.
While this creates the perception of discount, further investigation shows that the MSLP is actually 39% less than the distributor’s list price, showing a true remaining price difference of 10% between distributor and manufacturer.
Despite the rate at which MSLP and ship costs are stabilizing, ZAGENO has not seen a corresponding slowdown in distributor-suggested retail prices or consistent increase in “discounts” offered by the distributor. The result is an increasing price gap, meaning that lab supply purchasers must proceed with caution when shopping based on price.
When subscribing to ZAGENO, there are instant savings opportunities available for commonly used products. A ZAGENO study found that clients are able to save an average of 19% simply by using the marketplace to compare product list prices across suppliers before purchasing, using competitive bidding to triangulate varying list prices, markups, and discounts. ZAGENO’s subscription-based service provides price transparency and lifts the curtain on pricing models, while also offering customers the ability to maintain their own previously negotiated discounts with suppliers.
Operating a lab supply marketplace enables ZAGENO to produce this first-of-its-kind analysis for the life sciences industry, with more insightful trend data to follow, such as supplier performance and market share trends.
Did you know that you and your purchasing teams can start shopping smarter for lab supplies within days? Contact us to see ZAGENO in action, visit us at www.zageno.com/marketplace-access.
This decade has been heavy on the curve balls. Despite the most careful business planning, no one could anticipate the global pandemic that snarled our lives and our supply chains. Add to that an expected war in Ukraine which made recovery even more of a herculean task. There is, however, a feel-good update to this story. Lab supplier performance data, such as lead times, transit times, and billing cycles, tell a tale of resilience and recovery.
Note on this article’s data source:
As the leading lab supply marketplace, ZAGENO serves as the Amazon of the life sciences industry, covering 5,300+ brands and 40 million+ different product SKUs. The breadth and depth of products offered provides ZAGENO with unique insights into best practices and changing market conditions, which can empower R&D to make informed lab supply purchases that enable both resource optimization and scientific choice.
KEY TRENDS: Leading up to 2022 Q2, the lab supply industry wrestled with pandemic-related international supply chain issues, as well as the war in Ukraine and other complicating factors. Chaotic supply chains, massive backorder volumes, extended lead times, raw material sourcing difficulties, and transit issues all affected suppliers’ ability to provide the goods needed to run experiments.
However, since the peak backorder times seen in 2022 Q2, the average time between order and ship has fallen by 46% in the last year.
KEY TRENDS: Carriers experienced similar struggles to suppliers during COVID and beyond. Caused by driver shortages, truck shortages, and other obstacles, carrier delays impacted biotech and pharma significantly.
Carriers typically lag suppliers in times of both difficulty and recovery. So, as suppliers adjusted to new demand structures and began to address ship and lead times, carriers were also able to adjust. Trailing suppliers’ recovery, average time between order and ship fell 10% in the last year.
KEY TRENDS: Supply chain issues also adversely affect the billing cycle. With suppliers unable to bill until goods are shipped, protracted backorder and lead times trickle down to negatively impact the billing cycle.
Per ZAGENO data, invoice lateness statistics peaked right on schedule in 2022 Q3, following the peaks of backorders and carrier delays. Since then, billing cycles have seen massive improvement, with the average time between ship and invoice falling by 55% in the past year.
ZAGENO’s data tells the story of recovery, as supplier performance continues to transition from a period of tremendous supply chain disruption and unseen demand.
Operating a lab supply marketplace enables ZAGENO to produce this first-of-its-kind analysis for the life sciences industry, with more insightful trend data to follow, such as supplier pricing and market share trends.
Did you know you and your purchasing teams could also start shopping for lab supplies on the ZAGENO marketplace? Contact us to see ZAGENO in action, visit us at www.zageno.com/marketplace-access.
Ordering lab supplies can feel like running through a maze. Just when you think you’re finished, another potential dead end appears. As R&D organizations scale, most functions get more complex, especially the lab supply ordering process. A small start-up can get by with a manual process at first, using spreadsheets and Smartsheet, but not for long. The next step is to begin to digitalize procurement, often by implementing a procure-to-pay (P2P) and/or source-to-pay (S2P) platform. While this is a big step towards reducing manual tasks that waste time and resources, the uniqueness of the R&D space complicates P2P implementation and can limit automation. Luckily, there is a way out of the maze.
P2P platforms integrate purchasing and accounts payable systems, resulting in an end-to-end process from product selection through payment. S2P platforms incorporate P2P, but also include sourcing and contracting. While these platforms help automate back-end functions and interface with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, they are not geared towards the lab supply ordering process. P2P/S2P directs lab supply purchasers to PunchOut catalogs, which enable buyers to purchase supplies from pre-determined suppliers through the buyer’s own procurement portal. PunchOut catalogs often have outdated pricing and product availability data, as well as lack the necessary product variety that scientists need to conduct experiments. These limitations lead to maverick spend, loss of bargaining power, lack of price transparency, limited spend visibility, and overall process inefficiencies.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, ZAGENO, the leading lab supply marketplace, surveyed hundreds of research scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals across various biotech and pharmaceutical R&D labs about their lab supply purchasing processes, both with and without P2P/S2P platforms. The results showed extreme dissatisfaction with the lab supply purchasing process that actually worsened post-P2P/S2P implementation.
The complexities of the R&D space combined with the limitations of P2P/S2P platforms actually serve to hinder the goals of procurement automation and end-user process satisfaction.
Research findings show that post-P2P implementation, R&D scientists and lab operations staff feel disconnected from suppliers and procurement and that technology decisions are made on their behalf, without their input. Accessing a self-service lab supply marketplace such as ZAGENO during or after P2P implementation directly connects scientists with purchasing, receiving, and suppliers, drastically improving end-user satisfaction.
|P2P Implementation Challenge||Lab Supply Marketplace Solution||Benefits|
|Time spent searching, comparing, and purchasing lab supplies triples post-P2P implementation||Build one cart from millions of products from thousands of vetted suppliers. Receive one consolidated monthly invoice.||Price transparency and comparison via an Amazon-like experience. Significant cost and time savings.|
|Time spent tracking orders doubles post-P2P implementation||Self-service order tracking and automated order, shipping, backorder, delivery, and receiving notifications. Centralized inventory management and order history.||Less time spent chasing down orders, freeing up scientists, procurement, and receiving to reinvest effort in more value-added activities.|
|Time spent finding qualified product alternatives in the face of backorders increases post-P2P||Feature-rich marketplace enables easy identification of qualified, in-stock alternatives. ZAGENO team on hand to help source hard-to-find alternatives.||Empowers scientists to become active end-users. Reduces time-to-milestone achievement by ensuring supplies are available when needed.|
|Time to add and onboard suppliers to the system more than post-P2P||Thousands of vetted, onboarded suppliers available through the ZAGENO marketplace. Non-catalog vendors added by the ZAGENO team within 24 hours.||Eliminates vendor addition delays, free-text requests and maverick spend. Improves SLAs, enhances bargaining power, and reduces long tail spend.|
Lab supply marketplaces serve as a central hub on a single platform for scientists and purchasing to find the supplies, equipment, and tools they need from onboarded, vetted suppliers. With thousands of vendors displayed side by side, lab managers reap the benefits of complete cost transparency. In a life science marketplace, specialty vendors are afforded the same visibility as more dominant brands and scientists can find what they need using advanced search functions. They can also save their orders for one-click re-ordering, saving hours of manually adding lab items to the online shopping cart. At the same time, finance and procurement teams benefit from a SaaS-based management solution, ERP integration for centralized invoicing, and analytics to accurately forecast spending and inventory needs. Contact ZAGENO today to learn how to overcome P2P implementation challenges, achieve total procurement automation, and emerge from the maze of lab supply ordering.
Picture this. You want to order from a restaurant you’ve never tried before. When getting ready to place the order, you are notified that the restaurant is not “in the system” and to add it will take several weeks... Then you can order your food. It sounds pretty ridiculous, but this is what many scientists and lab managers experience when attempting to procure much-needed lab supplies. Fortunately, there is a way to put an end to the waiting game and reduce the supplier addition process from weeks to hours.
Biopharma R&D teams added up to 50% new suppliers in 2021, some adding hundreds per year. The supplier addition process encompasses the actions needed to purchase from a supplier that is new to the organization or, in some cases, is non-preferred. The process entails due diligence by finance, addition to the accounting and/or procure-to-pay (P2P) platform if applicable, and onboarding. Not only does it prolong the ordering process, but it costs money in the form of the labor required.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, ZAGENO, the leading lab supply marketplace, surveyed hundreds of research scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals across various biotech and pharmaceutical R&D labs about their lab supply purchasing processes. Data came from organizations both with and without P2P platforms.
ZAGENO’s research found that adding new suppliers to the procurement system is an inefficient, protracted process that causes experiment delays.
A senior research associate shared, “There is a multiple day lag between when I request orders and when they are actually placed. This lag causes many delays in our workflow and causes us to stop experiments.”
A chemistry director expressed frustration that, “New vendors should not take 6 weeks to add. It should be the next day if it is even necessary at all.”
During these delays, products might go out of stock or become affected by shipping issues. Sometimes the scientist must start the process all over again and find an alternative product.
Scientists often need very specific products, within a specific timeframe. If the organization’s PunchOut catalogs don’t have the necessary items available, the lab is forced to make free-text, maverick purchases from new suppliers, resulting in a hard-to-manage long tail. The key is to increase scientific choice while also focusing on supplier consolidation, which becomes possible with a lab supply marketplace, such as ZAGENO.
ZAGENO users can build a cart from over 40 million products across 3,500 suppliers with ZAGENO as the sole vendor of record, meaning that there is only one consolidated invoice each month.
When a specific item is unavailable from a scientist’s “usual” vendor or a niche product is required, ZAGENO allows users to bypass the normal, protracted supplier addition process in several ways:
Get in touch with ZAGENO today and learn how to streamline your lab supply ordering process so you can stop playing the waiting game and get back to what matters; those eureka moments.
Do you hold your breath and cross your fingers until certain lab supply orders actually arrive at your lab? Have you ever waited for an order for weeks only to find out that it’s gone on backorder, and you weren’t notified? Nothing can derail an experiment like an unexpected backorder, which can occur at any point in the purchasing process. Certain protocols require specific supplies, and finding qualified, in-stock product alternatives from onboarded suppliers can take time that your experiment can’t spare.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, ZAGENO, the leading lab supply marketplace, surveyed hundreds of research scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals across various biotech and pharmaceutical R&D labs about their lab supply purchasing processes.
When faced with an unexpected backorder, the lab must decide whether to wait for the product to become available or search for an in-stock alternative, often from a long tail supplier which can take days or weeks to be added to the system. These delays add an average of 3 hours per week to find suitable alternative solutions to keep experiments going.
As organizations scale, so does the amount of time spent on finding alternatives. On average, scientists in more established R&D labs spend 26% more time each week on such tasks than their counterparts in early-stage biotechs.
To address these issues, many life sciences organizations are turning to a lab supply marketplace, such as ZAGENO, to automate the purchasing process and make ordering lab supplies as Amazon-like as possible. ZAGENO users can build a cart from over 40 million products across 5,300 suppliers with ZAGENO as the sole vendor of record, meaning that there is only one consolidated invoice each month.
7 must-have features to stop timeline slide before it starts, with a lab supply marketplace
Even though scientists carefully plan experiments to try to control every variable, not every bump in the road can be avoided. However, using a lab supply marketplace such as ZAGENO can help the lab make informed ordering decisions and quickly react to procure qualified, in-stock product alternatives and keep experiments running on schedule.
Does tracking down your lab supply orders sometimes feel like a wild goose chase? How many phone calls and emails does it take to learn that your order hasn’t been approved yet or that it hasn’t left the warehouse or that it was delivered to the wrong loading dock? The truth is that even one phone call placed, or email sent to locate an order is one too many for scientists, lab managers, and procurement.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, ZAGENO, the leading lab supply marketplace, surveyed hundreds of research scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals across various biotech and pharmaceutical R&D labs, both with and without procure-to-pay (P2P) platforms, about their lab supply purchasing processes. Not surprisingly, the number of hours wasted tracking lab supply orders arose as a major pain point for all involved.
For those without a centralized, consolidated ordering hub, order tracking remains a very manual process, usually happening via email and phone calls to the tune of an average of 6 hours per week.
While most of the burden falls on procurement (who spend a whopping average of 22 hours per week tracking orders), research scientists also must divert critical time away from the bench for these tasks.
On average, procurement professionals spend a whopping 22 hours per week tracking lab supply orders.
As organizations scale, the time spent sourcing R&D products increases dramatically. This is particularly apparent when searching for products and tracking order/delivery statuses. In fact, scientists spend more time tracking lab supplies as their companies grow.
While P2P systems play a strategic role in helping biotechs scale, they do not reduce the amount of time spent tracking orders, which jumps from 2.4 hours per week for biotechs to 10 hours for pharma. Further, scientists spend double the time tracking orders post-P2P implementation.
Accessing a self-service lab supply marketplace such as ZAGENO during or after P2P implementation directly connects scientists with purchasing, receiving, and suppliers and significantly automates order tracking, removing many unnecessary touchpoints.
The average R&D lab places hundreds of orders per week, each one requiring separate follow-up. Without automated ordering, a scientist described the following scenario:
“You have to check each item to see if it was dispatched since you don’t get a notification in the event of a delay. You think, ‘Oh, that should have arrived by now. Let me check what happened’ and discover it is not even dispatched yet because there is suddenly a delay for 4 weeks. Then you need to cancel that one because you can’t wait that long, start looking for alternatives and go back to the beginning of the cycle. With how often that happens, ordering is quite often a nightmare.”
While the life sciences industry has specific ordering needs, ZAGENO believes that the business-to-business (B2B) experience can and should offer the same convenience to its customers as that of business-to-consumer (B2C) experiences, such as Amazon.
All of these features and more are available with the ZAGENO lab supply marketplace. Within days, give your scientists, lab managers, and procurement professionals the gift of time better spent by contacting ZAGENO today to learn more about our self-service, automated lab supply ordering process.
If you were extremely dissatisfied with a personal purchasing experience, such as ordering groceries from a nearby store, would you keep doing it? Probably not. Especially if it costs hours a week that you can’t afford to waste. When it comes to ordering lab supplies, scientists, lab managers, and procurement are often trapped in a time-consuming nightmare that can take up to two-thirds of their time each week. The good news is that it does not have to be this way.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, ZAGENO, the leading lab supply marketplace, surveyed hundreds of research scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals across various biotech and pharmaceutical R&D labs about their lab supply purchasing processes. The results were not surprising; the lab supply ordering process is a source of extreme dissatisfaction.
When asked how likely they were to recommend their lab supply ordering process to a friend or colleague, the resounding answer was “not at all likely.” 67% were detractors (meaning they would not recommend), 25.7% were passive, and only 7.3% would actively recommend their current lab supply ordering process.
“Nothing.” – Scientist, Duke University
when asked to name their favorite thing about the lab supply buying process
A further measure of end-user satisfaction is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a well-established method in the business-to-consumer (B2C) world to assess overall customer experience quality.
When compared to the NPS scores for the online shopping (45) and software (31) industries, lab supply ordering received an abysmal -60. ZAGENO believes that the business-to-business (B2B) experience can and should offer the same convenience to its customers as that of B2C.
One of the primary reasons for the extreme dissatisfaction with this process is the sheer number of hours wasted searching supplier websites for supplies.
ZAGENO found that on average, scientists and lab operations staff are forced to spend one full day a week searching, comparing, and purchasing lab supplies. Procurement and/or purchasing teams spend three days a week doing the same.
Scientists spend even more time searching for the right products for their experiments as an organization scales.
In the life sciences industry, many stakeholders waste too much time each week ordering lab supplies. This very manual endeavor takes scientists away from the bench, negatively impacts time-to-milestone achievements, ramps up costs, and stifles innovation.
Unlike personal purchases, where you can visit a site like Amazon to easily compare products and prices, many companies utilize multiple PunchOut catalogs and supplier websites for their lab supply spend.
We’ve all heard that more is more, right? Well, in the case of navigating catalogs, more is, unfortunately, less.
Prior to partnering with ZAGENO, a biotech lab manager found herself searching and ordering from up to twenty sites per day (which added up to two-thirds of her week) in order to fulfill the lab’s ordering requests. To avoid this, the goal is to make the lab supply purchase process as Amazon-like as possible with a lab supply marketplace, such as ZAGENO, where millions of products from thousands of suppliers are streamlined through a single portal, with all orders being consolidated into one single invoice.
Time wasted navigating supplier websites is time spent away from the bench. Get in touch with ZAGENO today and learn how to wake up from your lab supply ordering nightmare so you can spend time on what really matters; the science itself.
The global laboratory supplies market is expected to grow from $35 billion in 2023 to $47.12 billion by 2027. Most biotech and pharma companies have historically turned to the major distributors to procure their supplies. The question is, who has the power in these marketplace relationships? The buyer or the seller?
To answer that question, it’s important to first understand what a well-functioning marketplace should look like, before you order your favorite pipette.
In the distributor model, distributors serve as the intermediary between manufacturers and the labs. Some distributors merely broker the transaction, while others procure inventory from the manufacturer, warehouse it, and then distribute it. Either way, this model is margin-based, adding unnecessary time, expense, and layers to the lab supply ordering process.
When you compare the characteristics of a healthy marketplace with the distributor model, you see that the buyer is not in the driver’s seat. Since a distributor’s entire pricing strategy is based on margins and lack of transparency, you wind up paying more for the items you need.
Lab supply marketplaces, such as ZAGENO, give the power back to buyers by offering full transparency and an open market. The key is to make the ordering process as Amazon-like as possible, with access to millions of products from thousands of suppliers who transparently compete for your business based on price, availability, and quality.
With ZAGENO, you can build a cart from over 40 million products across 3,500 suppliers, rated according to ZAGENO’s comprehensive, unbiased Scientific Score rating. You can also track costs with ZAGENO’s detailed, up-to-date spend analysis dashboard.
ZAGENO functions as an efficient marketplace should, with competitive, transparent prices set by supply and demand and crucial information, such as delivery dates and inventory levels, updated in real-time and available to all. When suppliers compete for your business, no matter the size, you win. Contact ZAGENO to find out how.
Biotechs are facing an innovation deficit. 2023 is a landmark year for loss-of-exclusivity (LOE) and biosimilar challenges. Per Beyond Borders: EY Biotechnology Report 2023, five blockbuster drugs are falling off the patent cliff in 2023, with another seventeen products currently representing over US$145 billion in annual revenues losing patent protection over the next five years.
An eye-opening 2023 study published by Drug Discovery Today revealed that the average R&D efficiency per new drug for big pharma is a staggering $6.16 billion. Per the study, “R&D efficiency is a key indicator of how productively an R&D organization uses its allocated resources and is an indicator of how much money it takes to discover and develop a new drug.”
The crushing pressure to make up for lost revenue from LOE and to increase R&D efficiency falls primarily on the shoulders of scientists. To help them succeed, the industry needs to give them tools to do more with less.
While daunting, industry experts believe that these challenges will lead to a better overall biotech environment. Per EY, Andrew Hack, a partner with Bain Capital Life Sciences, anticipates that the current operating environment “will ultimately lead to a more efficient ecosystem of companies advancing truly innovative products… as an industry, we will come out of this as better stewards of capital, as well as disciplined organizations that will deliver more with less.”
In the wake of resource challenges, there are two ways to stretch funds; by making dollars work harder and by spending less of them. Utilization of a lab supply marketplace, such as ZAGENO, can accomplish both. A lab supply marketplace serves as a centralized ordering hub on a single platform where scientists can go to find the supplies, equipment, and tools they need.
At the heart of the life sciences industry is the mission to bring life-saving, life-improving drugs to the masses. On the front lines of this battle are our scientists, and they need our support. Contact ZAGENO to find out how you can help them deliver more with less.
ZAGENO exists so research scientists like you can spend more time on science and achieve those eureka moments. Our feature rich marketplace enables the life sciences industry to make smart, streamlined purchasing decisions and is designed to simplify the process of providing you with what you need and when you need it.
Quick… How much did you spend on 50 ml Erlenmeyer flasks in the last 18 months? Okay, now how much did you spend on that item, per supplier? How many orders did you place? By site? By cost center? By scientist? Do you have a negotiated discount with any of those vendors? Was it applied? Has the item’s price increased or decreased from the previous year?
You should be able to pull this information in less than five minutes. If you can’t, then you don’t have adequate lab supply spend visibility, which means that you are leaving money on the table, wasting resources, and delaying time to market.
Per McKinsey research, 40 to 80 percent of a company’s total costs come from spend with outside suppliers. Further, Bain & Company research shows only 30% of pharma executives feel that their organization performs “very well” on offering them spending accountability. There is too much at stake in the life sciences industry not to know where the money is going. How well does your organization do?
Spend visibility is the ability to get an accurate, real-time view into company spend, from as narrow or as wide a perspective as needed, with the goal of analyzing the data to make informed purchasing and budgeting decisions that reduce costs and increase efficiency. If you don’t know what you’re spending at any given moment, you have no hope of managing the spend effectively.
Pain points for scientists/lab managers
Pain points for finance/procurement
To address these abundant pain points, many pharma and biotech firms use a lab supply marketplace to simplify purchasing decisions. In addition to serving as one-stop places to shop, track, and control costs, some marketplaces such as ZAGENO offer detailed, real-time spend analysis dashboards with up-to-the-minute data that can be easily sliced and diced.
Example of ZAGENO’s real-time spend dashboard
It’s strange to think of something as dry as spend visibility as a competitive advantage, but, when done right, it truly is. By gaining transparency into where, when, and by whom money is spent, organizations can strategize in key areas such as cost reduction, cash management, accounts payable optimization, supply chain resilience, sustainability, and more.
Learn how you can answer any lab supply spend question in minutes with ZAGENO, the leading lab supply marketplace, featuring the industry's largest product portfolio, transparent pricing, consolidated invoicing, and real-time spend dashboard.
Ideally, scientists can procure the exact products they need, when they need them, at the right price. Unfortunately, it’s not always that quick and easy. On average, scientists and lab managers spend one day a week searching for, comparing, and purchasing lab supplies. When up against the clock, the lab will order from whichever supplier has stock readily available. Maybe they’ll order from this vendor again, maybe they won’t. The result is a mountain of small orders from low-frequency suppliers, aka the long tail.
Many factors contribute to growing tail spend, including specificity of lab experiment supplies, the lab’s limited time to source items, and the need to quickly secure product alternatives in the face of backorders or delays.
Long tail spend not only costs money in the form of redundant, manual purchasing processes and experiment delays, but also leaves money on the bargaining table.
Luckily, there is a way to tackle tail spend and free up money and labor that can be reinvested into what matters, the science.
No matter how wild your long tail spend may be, a lab supply marketplace can help you tame it. Just imagine what you and your team will be able to accomplish once you free up all of the time and resources wasted ordering lab supplies to focus on what matters, those eureka moments. Learn how with ZAGENO.
The lab supply ordering process has evolved since the days of paper requisitions and purchase orders that slowly meandered from desk to desk. If an approver was on vacation, the paper in question sat in on their desk until they returned. Incorrectly routed requisitions were at the mercy of the interoffice mail system to get to the right person.
So, the approval process is much better these days, right? Well, yes and no.
Early-stage biotechs often utilize a manual approach that is similar to the old days, albeit not paper-based. Their procurement process relies on spreadsheets and emails, perhaps combined with an accounting software like Quickbooks. When the lab is small and scientists are few, this approach is feasible. However, as the lab scales, a purchasing cycle marked by many manual touchpoints stifles growth by distracting scientists from experiments, limiting spend visibility, and leaving volume discounts on the table, among many other drawbacks.
Late-stage biopharma and pharma companies usually rely on a more digitalized approach through use of a procure-to-pay (P2P)/source-to-pay (S2P), and/or other invoice approval workflow product. While such tools partially automate the process, they are not without their problems due to the complexities of the R&D space. In a recent ZAGENO study of scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals in the life sciences industry, respondents reported experiencing experiment delays due to approval-related bottlenecks.
“Any order that requires higher approvals often gets delayed for days or weeks sitting in someone's inbox.” — Scientist, Pharma
“It's frustrating to have to approve every order in [P2P platform name withheld] before it gets placed, even with approved vendors. It's also frustrating to require management approval before orders are placed.” — Scientist, Pharma
With a multi-layer approval matrix, workflows are often bloated with too many checkpoints. At times, the workflow itself is incorrect, with approvals or other purchase order-related documents routing to the wrong person or department.
“I have received several order invoices which are not related to me.” — Scientist, Pharma
“Unpaid invoices and bounced back purchase orders come to us to sort, we do not work in procurement or know how to find the right codes, contacts etc.” — Scientist, Pharma
In addition, approvers may want to see certain data first, such as inventory usage or budget utilization, which requires extra time to obtain. During these delays, the necessary item(s) might go on backorder, become unavailable, or go up in price, forcing the scientist to start the process all over again.
Respondents on the front lines of lab supply ordering shared features of the ideal lab supply ordering process:
Organizations whose purchasing process consists of spreadsheets and emails should look into implementation of a P2P/S2P platform immediately. Companies already employing a form of digital workflow approval should audit their approval matrix, update outdated approver contacts, remove layers where possible, and explore supplementing their procurement strategy by joining a self-service digital marketplace.
Use of a private e-marketplace such as ZAGENO enables scientists to build carts from over 30m+ product SKUs across over 5,000 suppliers. With custom approval workflows and consolidated ordering, procurement and the lab can apply budget restrictions, set up multiple approvers, and quickly access order history and spend data. Streamlining approval workflows reduces purchase order cycle time, speeding procurement of the lab supplies that enable scientific breakthroughs.
With today’s technology, the supplier addition process for R&D shouldn’t completely drain the energy of all involved, but it does. In a recent ZAGENO study of scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals in the life sciences industry, 61% of respondents reported experiencing experiment delays due to waiting for a new supplier to be added to their accounting system and/or procure-to-pay (P2P) platform.
To “add” a new supplier means that a scientist wishes to order from a vendor that is completely new to the organization or, in some cases, is a non-preferred vendor. This process includes due diligence and approval by finance, account set-up, addition to the accounting system and/or P2P platform, and onboarding. Usually, all of this must be complete before scientists can place an order.
During this window, the necessary item(s) might go on backorder, become unavailable, or go up in price, forcing the scientist to start the process all over again.
“New vendors should not take six weeks to add. It should be next day if it is even necessary at all.”
— Lab director, major pharmaceutical company
This trend is only intensifying. In 2021, biopharma R&D teams added up to 50% new suppliers to help support innovation and address product availability.
Surprisingly, survey respondents at firms with P2P platforms reported longer wait times to add suppliers than those without. Does this mean that labs should not implement P2P? Absolutely not. The benefits of a digital procurement strategy that includes P2P far outweighs the drawbacks, but there is a way for any size or staged organization to balance vendor consolidation with scientific choice – all while speeding up the supplier addition process.
Reduce supplier-related experiment delays with a self-service, digital marketplace. Use of a private, e-marketplace such as ZAGENO enables scientists to build carts from over 30m+ product SKUs across over 5,000 suppliers. When customers wish to order from a new supplier, ZAGENO manages the addition process. The same process that might have taken weeks is reduced to days. Additionally, ZAGENO offers streamlined invoicing with one invoice for all lab supplies each month, with ZAGENO as vendor of record.
Conducting an experiment is a bit like being a small business owner. Scientists can be responsible for coordinating everything, including product identification and comparison, order entry and tracking, backorder management, schedule setting, and budget maintenance. Oh, and they’re also responsible for, you know, doing the actual research.
The R&D ordering process is not a smooth one, especially for organizations without procurement automation. A scientist at a major biopharma company shares, “R&D scientists spend too much time researching products to buy, placing orders, chasing deliveries and post-delivery administration of orders for products and services, including invoicing and reconciliations.” Her experience is all too common.
These pain points can be at least partially addressed through procurement digitalization via a procure-to-pay (P2P) system, and even more fully alleviated by complementing P2P with a self-service digital marketplace, such as ZAGENO. Just like any successful business owner who must adapt to successfully wear many hats, lab scientists must take advantage of tools that free them to focus on their core mission; spending less time obtaining lab supplies and more time putting those supplies to work in successful experiments.
The ultimate goal in pharmaceutical development is to go from the preclinical phase to clinical trials as efficiently as possible. Biotech co-founders and leadership teams are looking to keep up with competitors, while working on timelines that have been rewritten and accelerated by the COVID-19 vaccine breakthroughs.
Leadership teams also have to consider cost-efficiency, industry trends, the rising costs and unpredictable availability of lab supplies,and available technologies when planning out their drug development processes.
Fortunately, industry advancements are changing the way biotech enterprises research and develop drugs that save labs time and money, while improving safety and precision. Some of these techniques involve assessing and revamping current methods for patient recruitment, drug development, or site performance, making them cost-effective and more inclusive to wider patient populations.
Here are six ways that biotechs can speed up the drug development process using more efficient lab operations and R&D workflows.
Many large pharmaceutical companies continue to use clinical trial processes dating back to the 90s, and aren’t able to keep up with the emergence of new data sources and innovations. The data processing projects appear insurmountable, and new information comes in before existing research has been reviewed. The solution? Automating development stages of clinical trials.
Automation offers increased efficiency among team workflows, reduces the amount of hands-on time for repetitive tasks, and decreases the chance for human interference or error when handling data. It has the potential to enhance trial productivity in later stages, tighten up patient recruitment processes, and analyze data collected.
For biotechnology companies looking to implement automation, time is of the essence. Digital transformations in the lab can be a laborious undertaking that requires time, as well as a shift in the overall systems versus individual projects. It also requires more than a “set it and forget it” mentality — consistent checking and iteration of automated processes helps ensure systems are operating properly. Done right, though, the payoff is enormous — time spent now is time saved later, and more automated processes means more capacity for new projects.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare is on the rise, as many organizations look to adopt machine learning and other AI-driven methods. These efforts are aimed at reducing time spent researching and developing new drugs by eliminating the hours and funding typically dedicated to bench scientists manually processing data.
Traditional stages of early research, once taking four to six years to complete,now have shortened discovery timelines thanks in part to artificial intelligence. It also simplifies once arduous patient recruitment stages when researching new drugs.
In a 2019 study, researchers from the Research Center of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital, used advanced bioinformatic analysis to determine potential clinical responses in the early stages of drug discovery. This allows for researchers to predict potential drug implications on recruited patients, before starting clinical trials.
Pharmaceutical companies can audit existing site performances by utilizing available data sets, both internal and external. When data is plugged into predictive machine-learning algorithms, leadership teams are able to shift and realign company goals with existing sites to get back on track.
Alternatively, they can revamp existing sites using incoming or existing patient data. In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service surveyed patients’ conditions using a pre-established hotline, directing them to appropriate hospitals to treat said conditions.
Patient data collected from the phone line helped direct hospital leadership teams when working to establish future locations for clinical trial phases and research sites.
Even prior to the pandemic, digital health equipment was already quite prevalent within pharma tech, as a means of patient recruitment and participation in trials with low engagement.
Despite best attempts by the pharmaceutical industry to blend existing trial stages with new patient technologies, the pay-off is less effective than when implemented from the start. Enhancing patient trial experiences with equipment and tech, like e-consent and patient engagement apps, are best implemented in the beginning of a new trial process, rather than halfway through.
Additionally, biotech leaders can incorporate seamless operation strategies for lab staff throughout patient trials, using remote collaboration software. Employees are able to access confidential patient documents via secure cloud storage from both home and work, at any stage of the drug trial, preventing delays.
Taking advantage of cross-industry collaborations and partnerships, serves as another great starting point for reducing time frames during drug development.
Biopharma companies can improve the patient experience during clinical trials by taking a page from the consumer-facing world. With healthcare tech like apps that show lab results, the experience is smoother for both the lab and the patient.
Additionally, through collaborations with data professionals, like data scientists and machine learning engineers, biotech experts can improve their own data sets and storage processes, and develop techniques for enhanced analysis of existing drug data.
Co-founders should also consider joining biotech incubators and accelerators. Providing ample opportunity for lab staff and scientists to learn, collaborate and foster professional relationships, incubators are a fantastic resource for project development, and exploring future ventures within the biotech industry.
While not tech-driven per se, when biotech and pharmaceutical companies turn inwards to review their own workplace culture, and methods for analysis, this can greatly assist in reducing drug development timelines.
When leadership teams conduct thorough assessments of current workplace culture, potential opportunities for collaboration among team members emerge. This includes identifying and breaking down workplace silos for increased information sharing, fostering environments where iterations are encouraged, and facilitating employee growth and betterment.
Lab staff and researchers who have fulsome access to data are able to gain greater insight into the scope of each drug development stage, and perform tasks succinctly without unexpected disruptions. This includes remote employees. Over-communication of processes is crucial to ensuring tasks are conducted in an efficient manner, especially for remote work employees, as well as to improve cross-functionality of team members, and foster trust.
ZAGENO is the multi-vendor online marketplace for life science products. Learn more about how we simplify the procurement process and help biotech teams reclaim their scientific processes.
Being a lab manager, you have a long to-do list from monitoring experiments to reading to analyzing documentation to coordinating with scientists and more. To make your to do list less overwhelming, work harder, not smarter.
Francine Jay, efficiency expert, says that productivity isn’t about doing more. “My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do,” she says. So, how can you take some of the items off your lab’s daily to-do list?
Working to run a more efficient lab will not just help you eliminate or reduce the time to finish those daily tasks, but also help you better manage your resources and staff— yielding the best research results (with the best margins).
Do you face many distractions while working in your lab? Do you spend too much time on routine, manual tasks? Do you often find yourself looking for lab supplies but in vain?
If you answered yes to any of the questions mentioned above, it’s time for you to adopt some great productivity hacks for lab managers to make your tasks easier, your lab more efficient and your staff more productive.
Here are 6 tips to help you create the most efficient lab space for yourself.
With the rise of technology and remote work, managing a digital laboratory offers many benefits. Going digital makes it easier to access information from anywhere and organize and store information. By removing papers and files from your lab, you can also reduce clutter, giving you more space for lab equipment and experiments.
In addition to information storage, you can also manage your team virtually and ensure maximum productivity. Here are the best remote collaboration tools to help you make the most of technology.
By switching to a digital lab, you can take one step towards being more productive and help to prevent research delays due to missing access to needed info.
Automation makes it easier for lab managers to focus on more specialized tasks and responsibilities. Automated tools can take care of data entry tasks like documenting experiment hypothesis, analytical data and other metrics, freeing up your time to focus on higher order tasks at hand. Automation doesn’t just eliminate human error but also helps your scientists spend their valuable time and energy in the right direction and be more productive.
The design of your lab plays just as important a role in maximizing productivity as the design of your experiments. A decluttered and well-organized lab makes space for insightful ideas and breakthrough research. Take time to clean your equipment to ensure its long life and redesign your lab space to make your research more efficient.
If your current lab space is unable to accommodate your equipment and scientists, relocate to a better place that provides more space to organize both equipment and personnel. If you’re looking at relocating, this comprehensive lab move guide will help you plan a smooth transition.
Proper documentation is a tedious but integral task in lab management. Easy access to comprehensive data fosters a more efficient environment and helps in identifying the underlying bases of experimental results. Documenting integral details, including but not limited to experiment results, notes, feedback, and updates, builds an extensive digital repository that can prove valuable in the future.
Use your documentation to conduct an audit monthly, quarterly, or yearly depending on your lab’s experiment pace and learn from past observations. You can use a lab notebook or other note-taking software depending on your lab's specialty.
Do you ever feel like you have all the resources you require but it’s impossible to locate them at the right time? A Laboratory Inventory Management System will help you solve this obstacle. Keep track of the newly arrived items and their available stock.
Check your inventory on a weekly or bi-monthly basis to ensure all the supplies you need are available in stock. Use cloud-based inventory management systems (for some labs, a shared lab inventory Google Sheet is a huge help) to track stock and notify you when it’s time for reordering. When these automated tools take care of your supply management, you get more time to focus on more productive tasks.
The first step to increasing lab productivity is to plan your experiments in advance. Break your experiment into small sprints and schedule your work throughout the week, month, or year. This workflow keeps you prepared for the upcoming tasks and gives enough time to correct mistakes in case your experiment didn’t go as planned. Give yourself a cushion so you’re not scrambling to meet deadlines, and leave time to prepare for the next task on the timeline.
Many lab managers make use of journals or whiteboards to plan their schedule— try Google Docs or sync your calendar to keep track as a virtual management method. Here’s a guide to help you plan your lab experiments more effectively.
If you haven’t started optimizing your lab and analyzing where you have time sucks, now is the time to get started. Running an efficient lab helps teams to save time, improve employee productivity, and reduce lab spend.
Using technology, lab managers can free up their time and their employees’ time to focus on research and accelerate innovation!
For more tips on driving efficiency in your lab, check out our on demand webinar with lab experts on proven strategies to run your lab more effectively.
Maintaining your biotech lab’s budget is an essential aspect of running a successful and profitable organization. When you adhere to biotech lab budget best practices you can lock down spending, eradicate budgetary bad habits, and increase accountability at your company.
Whether it’s during a time of economic crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, or for startup biotech labs with smaller budgets, curbing spend and optimizing lab efficiency while implementing smart processes will help finance and procurement teams stay capital efficient.
The first step of controlling the spending at your lab is to identify current spend. You can’t create a succinct budgeting strategy if you don’t have a clear picture of how your spending is presently being managed.
BioInformatics found in 2018 that over half of pharma or biotech labs have budgets greater than $1 million and that spending is typically spread across the following categories:
Driven by COVID-19 induced innovation, R&D spending in the life science industry surged 22% from 2018 to 2019 — a trend that is likely to continue even after the pandemic.
While spending for the majority of biotech labs is allocated over the above categories, it is wise to also budget for the unexpected. Some of the unexpected road bumps that you can budget for include:
Take the time to meet with multiple suppliers to ensure you are obtaining the best equipment and supplies, at the appropriate cost. Establish a relationship with your supplier representatives where you will be alerted as early as possible of any changes to schedules or possible issues, so you can plan ahead and avoid delays as they happen. Ensure that your procurement teams stay in contact with your vendors. A delayed shipment can derail an entire quarter’s worth of scheduled experiment time.
Periodically analyze changes in supplier pricing and, when necessary, renegotiate your contracts with them or arrange new terms for payment. Use a lab supply marketplace rather than individual suppliers so you can quickly review the costs of high quantity supplies and get the best deal.
Keep an audit trail to ensure you remain compliant and be prepared for possible audits.
No matter how thoroughly you plan your budget, there is always an existing possibility that you encounter an unexpected cost. So, you should be prepared for the unexpected. While planning your quarterly budget, allot extra costs for potential large ticket items so you aren’t taken by surprise and left searching in the bottom of your budget to cover the necessary expenses.
Regularly meet with your lab operations team to thoroughly understand their projected spending needs to iteratively craft more accurate forecasts.
To manage your spending, ensure you are working with an updated approval process. Create a clear matix of approval flow and threshold to enable team leaders to authorize essential spend while senior managers or executives are alerted for large expense requests. When you leverage technology for approvals, you save time and money, and are able to catch any outliers or large spend areas.
Your approval process should also be transparent from beginning to end. Develop new financial processes to analyze budget-to-actual variances based on users, accounts, and business units. Give each department at your organization the autonomy to be accountable for their budget. Then, schedule regular meetings with them to analyze variances between the designated budgets and their actual spend.
When your finance and procurement teams both have access to your full spending plan, they can more accurately budget costs for the appropriate suppliers and other costs.
Set and track your organization’s goals. Zoom out until you can see the entire operation of your company. Where are there silos or roadblocks? Are there goals in place that have never been met, or goals that are met each quarter with ease? To reach your organization’s full potential, track each goal and redefine them based on necessity. Then, optimize your workflows in order to meet your new goals.
Managing your data is the key way to mitigate budgetary risks at your organization. By using regular reports, you will be able to identify essential and non-essential expenses. Ask yourself these questions about each cost in your budget:
It will be difficult to manage your budget without the right tools. Leverage laboratory management software and cloud-based tools to stay on top of your budget. The best software and tools allow you to manage your lab’s inventory, while managing order requests from members of your lab.
The best laboratory management software and cloud-based purchasing tools:
There are over 3,000 lab operations jobs currently available on Indeed and that number is predicted to rise rapidly in 2022. As biotech labs crop up left and right to support scientific and medical innovation, lab operations roles become more critical to helping these startup labs grow.
Moving from pre-clinical to clinical operations requires efficiently managing funding, hiring and retaining lab staff, and maintaining research timelines to hit milestones. Here’s how labs are relying on organized operations workflows to scale and innovate.
Without lab operations, bench scientists, lab technicians, and lab managers end up spending their precious lab time doing clerical work, manual tasks, and...looking for things. With automated lab operations, labs can increase their capacity for experiments and maximize use of biotech funding.
Daily inventory management is tedious and time-consuming. With automated lab operations, and lab operations software, lab managers can design effective ways to stock, record, and manage inventory and allow managers to track supply information in real-time. Errors in businesses can cost more than just money. Automated lab operations have predefined programs that access and analyze data without any errors and identify areas for optimization or safety improvements.
With streamlined lab operations, managers can easily access and monitor lab supply orders, keep track of supplies, and record all data electronically, without having to worry about human errors and bulky files. Most lab operations offer end-to-end digital solutions and integrations, minimizing human intervention.
Traditionally, lab managers or researchers within a lab engaged in the activity of data entry and inventory management. When expert scientists with advanced training perform manual tasks, it incurs unreasonable operational costs for labs and affects overall lab productivity. Not to mention, it requires a lot of time and effort and is prone to human error, which has a significant impact on research outcomes. Automated lab operation software can reduce operational costs by freeing up scientists’ time and allowing them to focus on their research, instead.
Efficient lab processes and automated inventory management free up a lot of time for researchers. This helps lab functions in the following ways:
Just like any other business, biotech labs are under tremendous pressure to deliver profits. It’s estimated that if a lab manager spends 30% of their time on paperwork, the organization spends $300K+ annually on manual documentation tasks that are also prone to mistakes, costing labs even more. Automation here saves the day by allowing lab managers to identify redundant processes and cut them off.
Lack of a reliable lab operation system can be confusing and misleading, leading to extra waste or the use of improper lab supplies. With automated lab operations software, lab managers like you can track inventory and supply in real-time, avoiding the use of expired chemicals or other supplies.
While each lab may have slightly different responsibilities and goals for a lab operations manager, these are the common job requirements for the role:
In some labs, regular lab compliance and training sessions or audits might be included in the lab operations manager’s scope.
Use this checklist to review opportunities for improved lab operations, or outline the responsibilities for hiring a new lab operations manager.
A recent Oracle HRM Survey claims that just 47% of employees feel their leaders are available and approachable. If your employees don’t feel engaged in the workplace, they’re less likely to feel satisfied at work and give their best. As a lab manager, it’s important to have positive, open relationships with the researchers and scientists in the lab. Some of the great ways to establish a connection are to:
Automated processes save time and allow human resources to be utilized in a productive manner. They streamline workflows and lab resources, contributing to increased productivity, efficiency and better profit margins. There was a time when labs needed various software to manage different functions.
In today’s technology-driven world, integrated software systems provide end-to-end support and organize all lab functions under the same roof, saving more time, energy and subscription costs.
As lab operations manager, evaluate the current tech stack in the lab and seek out ways to consolidate and optimize.
Lab employees are in constant connection with hazardous chemicals and dangerous equipment. Set up ongoing training opportunities and create an onboarding process using pre-recorded videos and asynchronous materials to avoid having to teach the same sessions over and over again.
Lab equipment is costly and requires constant care and maintenance to run smoothly. Here’s a quick lab equipment maintenance checklist for lab managers:
For a seamless supply chain and sourcing relationships to be long-lasting, lab managers must sustain vendor relationships. Here’s how to make the most of supplier management:
Quality audits assure that the lab processes are in complete alignment with the established quality regulations. As lab managers, your goal should be to establish a regular audit that evaluates supplies, equipment, workflows, and lab processes.
Traditionally, biotech startup costs were steep, think: $10M minimum. Now, due to infrastructure changes, it’s more achievable, but can be close to $100K at the low end of the spectrum. Every decision for growing biotechs depends on lab budget and lab operations and management. One manual, inefficient process or poor decision can take up half the year’s budget or delay research milestones significantly.
Today, biotech finance teams are working closely with lab managers to set up efficient, modern workflows that incorporate the latest software and lab technology. By eliminating operational risks like inefficient lab spend going unnoticed or wasting precious scientists’ time on manual tasks, biotechs can innovate faster and use funding effectively.
The prospect of starting a biotech lab is daunting. The average biotech startup success rate is 20%, with pharmaceutical companies at a success rate closer to 10%. But with the right strategies, biotechs can be efficient with spend and lab management, increasing their likelihood of achieving success. As the finance team, so much can be set up correctly and improved upon to maximize efficiency in the lab.
A great idea is only as strong as the foundation underneath it. Simple inventory tracking, consolidation of internal lab systems, and standardizing processes in terms of cost can all create this backbone of financial stability. Too often, biotech companies will bleed money and time just trying to copy inventory from one system to another, or from one paper to another. When biotech labs are only concerned with the science and not maximizing the overall lab efficiency, the system will eventually break down.
Researchers are required to not only think about the complex science involved with new biotech endeavors, but to also consider the financial implications of the work they are doing. From the finance side, it is important to keep the entire scope of the research in mind at all times.
When creating a new venture or new lab entirely, plan out the budget of all supplies, equipment, and salaries with the end goal in mind. Think about how much money is needed for new hires down the road in a new phase of R&D and how that fits into the budget you may start out with. Before all of this, also remember to keep safety in mind. Accidents are common, so budget for replacing equipment, counter surfaces, and misused supplies.
Operational Risks for Biotech Finance Teams and How to Avoid Them
Setting a system up in a certain way or choosing one tool over another can make or break a biotech finance team’s workflows. Here are four risks to operating a biotech lab at max efficiency, and how to avoid them.
Research funding is competitive and requires a close watch on every aspect of the financials. This starts with the initial funding and how the budget is spaced out across the R&D process.
There are many ways to improve initial biotech startup funding that can drastically improve the initial phase of setup in your lab. Make sure your investors have a clear understanding of how your research will make them back their investment. Take special care to address the concerns they have financially and the finance team is going to be able to maintain the lab’s time frame.
Ironing out these potential issues in the beginning will only lead to more stable cash flow further down the road. Once you are out of the investment phase, keep careful track of how long the initial investment will last and at what points cash flow may become a concern. Maximize every dollar invested into your lab — the research is essential, so eliminating waste at every possible turn contributes to more innovation and faster development.
When beginning a new biotech, time to milestone is everything. Starting a new lab location can be time consuming and tedious, and without the right tools and expertise, can be costly. Being organized throughout the setup or move of a lab can save weeks of time which can then be put into beginning the research earlier.
As the finance team, this falls under your domain of making sure that processes for packing up, moving, and setting up in the new location are completed as smoothly as possible, and hiring experts if appropriate. One option for setting up or moving locations is to hire a lab setup service to handle almost the entire process. These services are well worth their price, especially if your team has never relocated or is a first time project for many members. Regardless of whether it is your team or a third party, taking the time to ensure your lab move goes as quickly and as safely as possible can save you valuable research time on both ends of the move.
Take a close look at lab operations to identify areas to optimize. Find areas where consolidating systems can save time. Similarly, ensure that researchers are not being redundant in their routines, saving time and reducing the risk for manual error.
If one researcher is calibrating a certain piece of equipment before they leave each night, ensure that another is not repeating this process when they get in. These things may seem simple but running a lean lab can be a difference maker when you’re nearing your goals.
Computers and digital technologies can be integrated into almost every lab process, so it’s important not to overlook how it can help in finance practices as well. Spending hours manually entering inventory and transferring it into the next supplies order can be done with a few clicks when set up properly.
These small automations to lab processes can save scientists time, which gives them back time to conduct the research shortening the total time it takes to reach goals.
Running a lab is not cheap. Experts estimate that operational costs can range anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 per day to run a biotech and as much as $100,000 per day for some pharmaceuticals. A huge component of these costs are lab supplies, specifically the preclinical R&D lab supply space with a market size of around $60 billion. Our Q3 2021 analysis of customer data identified three key insights into the life sciences procurement process that can be used to achieve significant savings.
“Requests coming from scientists have not changed, they are looking for availability, quality, and speed. Yet the technology is evolving and now we know that we can look into solutions like ZAGENO for quick turnaround of the products and still realize savings”, shared Marc Casals, Head of R&D Procurement for UCB Pharma. With supply chain disruptions promising to get worse before getting better, the R&D procurement process must incorporate available tools to gain much needed price transparency while also managing tens of thousands of necessary SKUs.
Budgeting is an important skill that isn’t usually a major part of science academia. While building and managing budgets comes naturally to finance and procurement folks, preparing and sticking to a lab budget is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Overspending early in the year might force you to cut back later in the year and have to compromise on lab equipment/supply quality to make ends meet. Underspending might result in a loss of surplus funds. However, with the right tools, you can help the lab create and stick to reasonable budgets, increase lab efficiency, and secure the materials and equipment needed to hit research milestones.
Here at ZAGENO, our goal is to help scientists spend less time procuring products and more time on the bench. Read on for a collection of best practices and tools for finance and procurement to help the lab accurately and cost-effectively create and manage a budget.
Here are links to four budgetary tools to help you and the lab stay on track and organized.
Lab Relocation Cost Guide
Lab relocations can be one of the bigger expenses a lab incurs. Here’s how to plan and budget for a lab move.
Spend Control Checklist for Biotech Labs
This checklist will help labs that may be over budget for several quarters in a row to analyze where they may be spending money on manual or inefficient processes.
Tips for Lab Finance Teams to Improve Productivity Using an Online Marketplace
With so much technology available to support lab operations, lab supply ordering doesn’t need to be a manual, painful process that is both a time and money suck. Here’s our guide to improving lab productivity using an online marketplace for lab supplies.
Spend Visibility in Labs (for CFOs)
Sometimes, budgets get out of control simply because they’re not being looked at the right way by the right people. Here’s how to look at spend data in a way that improves visibility and highlights certain spending patterns and purchases.
Most researchers first map out their ideal resources without considering cost. This mindset focuses on choosing the best products and equipment for your research in a world where cost isn’t a factor.
After that, help the lab calculate the budget based on the expected expenses. Then, work together to make the budget more realistic and cost effective by identifying alternatives or ways to be more efficient, like renting equipment instead of purchasing.
Over time, the value of money decreases and costs rise. Always remember to identify the inflation rate and roughly incorporate it into the budget. This way, when the prices for lab supplies, personnel, or equipment increase with inflation, your budget will be able to cover them.
Safety hazards and accidents are common in laboratories. It’s wise to allocate a portion of the budget to accidental damages to countertops, equipment, and supplies from research-related mishaps so there’s enough money to cover all costs.
While drawing up a budget, new hires and the equipment they’ll need are often left unaccounted. While it is difficult to predict these charges, a rough estimate needs to be included in the budget for smooth functioning. Get a fair understanding of the new people and equipment you might need for the lab and include an estimated cost in the proposal.
Lab training includes many different safety and operations courses and may be more extensive than expected. Review typical lab training here to consider how it will factor into your onboarding budget.
Budgets often fail because miscellaneous charges are not considered. These charges include maintenance or repair work and are sudden and important and can quickly eat up your budget. The best practice is to add 5% to your overall budget to cover unforeseen miscellaneous expenses.
You can learn more about managing miscellaneous budgets here.
When procuring new equipment or machinery, the best approach is to competitively bid out the item and request quotes from at least three different suppliers. After a careful comparison, you will be able to choose the quote most relevant to your needs and suitable to your budget.
Here’s a guide to negotiating and reviewing expensive lab equipment.
It’s not glamorous, but the only way to manage spend is to keep an eye on it. Review incurred expenses monthly against expected year-to-date spend along with your lab managers or lab team. If month-to-date spend was higher than expected, identify areas where you might be able to underspend going forward in a collaborative way. Suppose your lab team made an unforeseen purchase in September because a project’s materials were on backorder. You can compensate for it by slightly decreasing spend in October-November and renting a piece of equipment rather than buying new.
3. Automate your processes using management software.
The best way to manage budgets is through automation. Management and financial software can collate all your data and store it in one place for ease of access. These tools help you keep track of your expenses and manage them well.
Here are some budgeting apps and tools.
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Starting with these simple steps will help you draw up a realistic budget, monitor spend, and become a leaner operation overall. While there may be times when all doesn’t go as planned and there are unforeseen expenses, these tips are a good starting place to plan ahead and be ready for the unexpected as you grow and scale.
Most biotech labs eventually outgrow their incubator and need to find their own dedicated lab space.
With each relocation, there are significant associated costs that need to be considered and mitigated to save your bottom line.
The average biotech lab relocation costs over $100,000. By planning ahead, utilizing professional lab relocation services, and consulting with the experts, you can stay on time and on budget and help your funding go much further.
When it comes to moving your lab, engineer Eric Pop says, “The process will always be more complicated than you think because it’s tough to anticipate all the little things.” Lab moves involve every department in your lab and external stakeholders from lab managers to finance managers to scientists, third party suppliers, and equipment suppliers/vendors.
When considering lab move-associated costs, consider the following categories.
Do you own or rent your equipment? Do you share with another lab? Will your new space allow for this? How long are your equipment contracts? How does this factor into the lab move timeline?
How do you manage your hazardous, chemical, and other types of lab-related waste? Do you require hoods or improved ventilation in the new space? When working with contractors in designing a new lab space, choose vendors who have experience working with scientific labs and even your specialty.
If you create a timeline that seems too good to be true, it probably is. When lab teams try to do quick moves or use low cost options, things are often rushed and end up costing your lab much more money in the long run. Plan out your lab move well ahead of time so that you can adequately prepare for unexpected changes, construction delays, supply availability, and other unforeseen situations.
There are moving services that are specialized in laboratory moves. There are also trained cleaning companies that are specialized in laboratory environments. Will you need cold storage transport? Does your lab utilize live subjects? Traditional moving companies may not be equipped to handle moving complex, expensive, or sensitive equipment. Transporting hazardous materials requires special permits, so figure out your local regulations before you book a moving service.
How much staff time will be consumed by planning and coordinating your lab move? How long will your lab be offline? It’s as important to consider the things you’ll have to pay for as it is to think through how much money will be lost during the lab move process. Lab budgets should include extra money for incidentals and over-budget for the move. To save money and reduce lab downtime, consider using a specialized lab move service.
Consider your vendors of gases, supplies, equipment, chemicals, and other consumables that your lab needs to conduct research. Many of these services will need to be transferred to your new address. Without proper communication and planning, there could be delays in getting up and running in the new space.
First, inventory all of the equipment and supplies that you have in your lab. Next, evaluate all of the equipment and supplies that you’ve used in the past 3-5 years. Then, think through your next year of experiment planning. What equipment and supplies will you need?
Lab moves, construction, and transition can be extremely costly processes. With lab move specialists, you can mitigate risk, save money on the bottom line, maintain safety, and expedite your move to the new space.
The ‘list’ collaboration feature is getting an upgrade. You can now smoothly collaborate with colleagues, catch good deals before they expire, and enjoy a more intuitive and accessible list experience:
Coordinate your lab supply orders with colleagues across multiple departments:
Never miss good deals with the new separated ZAGENO Lists tab:
Experts estimate the cost to run a biotech lab can range from $10,000 to $40,000 per day. For a biotech organization, it can be as much as $100,000 per day. Consequently, research labs need to seize every opportunity to stay productive. Finance and Procurement teams are often burdened by lots of complex, administrative workflows, and many work with manual processes like Excel spreadsheets and paper forms that are error prone. When you enable your finance and procurement teams to optimize workflows using modern technology, you empower your entire company to save precious time and money.
For new biotech labs, getting set up with the right lab management tools right off the bat will be crucial in laying the foundation for your productivity.
Finance teams at biotech startups have several key focuses:
To this end, they have several major pain points, including having:
Here are key ways your teams can improve productivity and job satisfaction in biotech labs, starting with outlining relevant software and technology.
An online marketplace is an eCommerce website or app that facilitates the selling of products or services provided by multiple third party vendors. The host or operator of the marketplace does not own the inventory, but instead helps to streamline the procurement process for buyers.
Popular online marketplaces (like Amazon) are platforms that facilitate the selling and buying of millions of products for individual consumers. An industry-specific online marketplace such as ZAGENO is designed to streamline the purchasing of lab supplies and biotech products.
How can marketplaces improve finance team productivity?
You will interface with one single supplier: the marketplace, which eliminates the need to manage multiple vendors in reporting processes. The marketplace will be your single vendor of record.
Your finance team no longer needs to deal with lengthy processes related to new vendor account creation and setup, credit checks, and bank letter of credit verification.
By leveraging marketplaces, ZAGENO customers have benefited from using an online marketplace for lab management. Specifically,
• Time to add new products was reduced from 2 - 3 days to less than 30 minutes
• Time to place an order was reduced from 4 - 6 days to less than 6 hours
Marketplaces like ZAGENO automate supplier invoices and PO matching, which is otherwise a huge headache and workstream for finance teams, especially around month-end close.
Moreover, some marketplaces provide integrated accounting software. ZAGENO, for instance, is a lab supply marketplace that integrates with QuickBooks, which automatically pushes invoices and can map into general ledger categories, reducing countless hours for finance teams in their reporting, compliance, and audit processes.
Marketplaces enable finance teams to have full visibility around order status. From fulfillment to cost to shipment to receipt to payment, finance teams can see, in real time, exactly where an order stands.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Expense management is a huge priority for finance teams, but without granular visibility into spending, finance teams cannot achieve effective expense management. With marketplaces, finance teams can have full, real time view and control over vendor based spending.
One of the biggest pain points for finance teams is coordinating with the scientific team around supply ordering. With online marketplaces, you can approve requests seamlessly in a centralized view.
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From working with hundreds of biotechs, ZAGENO found that using marketplace software for lab management can save 624 hours per year and eliminate $26,000 per year in time and monetary spend around invoicing, reporting, and ordering.
Spend visibility is a core priority for CFOs and finance teams. Understanding the flows of capital through and beyond the company is crucial for expense management, compliance, and effective reporting. You cannot manage what you cannot measure: improving spend visibility is a critical first step for CFOs in improving the capital efficiency of their organizations.
To help CFOs and finance teams at biotech companies, we created this spend visibility guide with seven best practices.
Instead of blind batch processing, regularly comb through each invoice to ensure that each is legitimate and that they correspond exactly to what was ordered and received and in what condition.
Was the proper process followed by all employees involved? Were the rules and systems around spend limits followed exactly? Communicate with employees who may have violated guidelines and ensure they go through proper training to avoid future mistakes.
With a multitude of different departments following their own, even if just slightly different, procurement procedures, it is difficult to fully grasp the vendor relationships you have. Block out time regularly to review your vendor list, identify duplicate ordering, and understand data like what share of your ordering comes from the top 5 vendors.
With this information, you can better understand which vendors to prioritize when systematizing their invoices and which vendors you can reach out to for volume based discount requests. You can also determine which departments have made duplicate purchases and make proper clarifications with these teams.
When an invoice arrives, immediately match it with its corresponding order. With this type of integrated, centralized, transparent system doing real time tracking, your invoices never pile up and you can always ensure that your invoices match against inventory. Any discrepancies are surfaced immediately and can be dealt with before they become substantial or otherwise escalate.
Spend management failure frequently stems from human error in not following processes exactly or following inefficient processes. When processes become too manual and laborious, employees are more likely to shirk or cut corners. Leverage software and integrations to optimize for efficiency and accuracy. Solicit, listen to, and incorporate employee feedback around bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
Too often, overly general goals like “reduce unnecessary spend” are set. Without a tangible number to work toward, employees feel they have little direction, and leaders can feel aimless as well. Articulate specific KPIs at the start of each month or quarter and break these tasks down into weekly and daily metrics to aim for.