How R&D organizations can lower outsourcing costs with automation

How R&D organizations can lower outsourcing costs with automation

Female scientists perform tests in a laboratory.

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations are outsourcing more work now than ever before. The majority of these firms are working with universities and private research organizations in an effort to keep up with other pharma and biotech organizations as well as outside sources of pressure, which is no small feat. However, outsourcing so much has negative effects on the firms themselves, including: 

  • Firms spend more money over time outsourcing work. Yes, the firms are receiving information in return for their investment, but they are still spending time and money managing the outsourcing process itself, which lessens its overall cost-effectiveness. 
  • Firms who outsource specific tasks for years lose that knowledge base within the firm itself, so the firm’s overall knowledge and creativity within that specific area is greatly diminished. When the firm’s knowledge base lessens, the overall effectiveness of the firm decreases.

However, outsourcing still has its benefits. Other companies take over less desirable, repetitive tasks for which they have experts working solely in that specific discipline, increasing the efficiency for the project that is being outsourced.

How do we maintain the benefits of outsourcing while saving money and returning that knowledge base to the firm? The answer is automation.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), specifically, is typically referred to helping back-office operations, but some laboratory operations can benefit from this automation, too. Any digital, repetitive, less desirable task can be automated with RPA, saving Research and Development (R&D) firms time and money, all while saving their employees’ skills and creativity. Adding in other automation technology, such as Machine Learning (ML) and Business Process Management (BPM), further improves the efficiency of R&D firms. This can be started in three ways:

1. Coordinate projects appropriately.

What tasks are outsourced that could be done in-house with the help of RPA? Think organization-wide for a broad scope. RPA usually works best when implemented in small doses and then scaled appropriately. If you outsource record-based projects, this is a great place to start. Having a firm-wide plan to implement RPA can save money over time after the outsourced projects are returned in-house, the technology is implemented and the team knows how to manage it.

2. Cross-department communication.

What departments within your firm struggle to work together efficiently because they must communicate with an outside company who manages outsourced projects? RPA, ML and/or BPM can be implemented, combined and utilized to simplify data entry and management, aiding in cross-department and cross-organization communication. Improving communication and simplifying the process for retrieving and using data from other departments and organizations makes everyone’s jobs easier, allowing each employee to focus on their tasks instead of sifting through data in order to do their job.

3. Gather and use more data.

Is your firm trying to gather real-world data to improve overall innovation and insight while simultaneously proving individual project success? While tricky to gather in the project development phase, real-world data can greater impact your firm’s options for innovation and creativity. The key is to use automation to perform the gathering function, saving employees time and enabling them to focus on utilizing the data for project improvement and innovation.

Automating processes within your R&D organization can save your firm money over time while offering your employees the opportunity to focus on creativity and innovation in their work. After all, that’s why they’re in the biopharma industry. 

Learn more about how Confiance can simplify and improve your firm’s processes at this link.

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