Laboratories in R&D-focused organizations have a tremendous amount of instrumentation. These pieces of capital equipment are the key producers of data that help advance the forefront of science. However, these instruments are not cheap. Capital costs, servicing contracts, and depreciation materially impact the budgets of organizations that have many pieces of capital equipment.
From working with large pharmaceutical, oil & gas, and food companies, we have seen that for every scientist in a laboratory, there exists 2 - 3 pieces of capital equipment. For labs with 50 - 1000 scientists, their instruments correspond to $100MM - $1B in installed instrumentation. As these companies head into the fall months, managers and executives are in the midst of planning their 2017 capital requests and budgetary spend.
How do managers decide where to allocate resources? Where should they be investing more? How has their instrumentation use evolved over the past year? What types of service contracts should they purchase?
These are the important questions that have seven-to-eight figure impact on budgets in the upcoming months. Despite the magnitude of these decisions, the data (and corresponding quality of said data) is limited. The reason: lab managers and executives have little insight into how often their equipment is used.
At TetraScience, we believe that having good data is critical to making good decisions. In the context of our mission - providing mission control for R&D - the first point of value is simply informing scientists what instruments are used and when. Instrument utilization, when provided in real-time, is incredibly valuable.
First, scientists can better plan experimentation by knowing which instruments are available. Second, managers can identify gaps in instrument usage and quickly optimize spend and invest more wisely. A major win-win for everyone.
Recently I had the fortune of meeting with one of our major pharmaceutical customers using our instrument utilization solution. They were amazed at the level of detail we could provide in terms of instrument usage and the breadth across their entire fleet. Within two weeks of setting up the technology, the manager was so thrilled with their new insights that she started sharing the instrument utilization reports with the company’s C-suite executives.
Instrument utilization data is important because doing good science requires obtaining good data and making good decisions.
We recently teamed up with LabManager to write a white paper on this topic you might find useful. It's called "Instrument Utilization: The Missing Piece of Asset Management" and you can download it for free right here.
In the white paper we cover:
- Typical asset management strategies in R&D
- The evolving role of instrument utilization data
- Pros and cons of instrument utilization techniques
- New technologies for tracking assets