Outsourcing of non-core support services is an established concept in many areas of modern manufacturing.  When we think of outsourcing, we tend to think of support services such as IT, Tech Support and Manufacturing.  Nowadays, all services regarded as ‘strategic, but not core’ are in scope for outsourcing, including laboratory operations and analytical testing services.

Historically, laboratory testing was the burden of the ‘in-house’ laboratory, which was tasked with not only innovative new product research and development, but also support for regulatory and validation functions.  Today, while the need to innovate remains more strategic and imperative than ever, it is no longer the case that routine laboratory testing support need be.  Outsourcing laboratory functions to a dedicated, independent, third party service provider can not only deliver savings and strategic commercial benefit to a manufacturing company, but also increase corporate market agility for responsiveness in today’s fast moving and global marketplace.  For an in-house facility, responding to changes in regulatory requirements in our rapidly changing world is time consuming, capital intensive, and costly in terms of personnel and time required.  Contract laboratories, as they are commonly referred to, go beyond routine laboratory work and provide the consultancy support required to meet theses ever-changing regulatory developments.   Unlike in-house labs, outsource labs also improve efficiency through economics of scale, thus enabling access to the next generation of expensive, state of the art instrumentation without the need for upfront capital expenditure. This helps provide test results with improved speed, accuracy, and reliability.

Outsourcing VS Out-Tasking:

Manufacturers often confuse the terms outsourcing and out-tasking. They offer vastly different approaches for driving down development and production costs.  Outsourcing transfers the management or execution of an entire function to an external provider for a monthly fee.  Alternatively, ‘out-tasking’ allows businesses to turn over a specific task or routine test to another organization, rather than the entire process.  Out-tasking test partners act as adjunct staff to the internal development or production teams and bring specific expertise backed by sophisticated equipment, in-depth industry knowledge, and best practices.  This offers significant benefits for organizations that want to focus on their core business; not build research & development and quality control testing centers, but rather concentrate on other key areas of their business.

Finding a partner that offers both outsourcing and out-tasking opportunities for your analytical testing, routine QC, and validation functions can help to streamline the entire development and manufacturing process.  You can benefit from our expertise in problem solving and project management while acquiring access to best practices and proven methodologies, including knowledge of and expertise in U.S. and International Standards.  Some key advantages to partnering with an independent, contract testing provider include:

Reduce and Control Your Costs

In addition to flat fee pricing for routine tests, certain providers may offer “pay for use” programs, designed to reduce your total cost of ownership by eliminating unseen maintenance, service, and security costs. You can contract the use of existing equipment or warehouse your specialized equipment at the laboratory site. This offers the benefit of controlled expenses without incurring unexpected costs associated with staffing, facility, and equipment management.

Focus on Your Priorities

Outsourcing testing programs enables your team to focus on critical development, design and validation activities – not routine testing, infrastructure issues and maintenance. By putting routine testing in the hands of an approved partner laboratory, you can concentrate on core activities that are central to your business.

Transform your CAPEX to OPEX

Working with valued outsourcing partners means there is no need to be locked into capital investment in equipment, facilities, and infrastructure. By outsourcing your testing you can optimize utilization and ROI on existing internal infrastructure and resources.

Whether you outsource your routine testing and development needs or out- task other non-core functions, the advantages from an expense and time factor are well documented. The key to success lies in the choice of partner. Evaluate companies based upon their flexibility to meet your specific needs, and you will be able to tailor a program that proves cost efficient and productive.  Learn more about the options and benefits by downloading our white paper on the subject.

Eric Creveling
Director, Package Testing