Paul Thomen

Friday, 18 October 2013

New Report Lab Instrument Support Strategies Trends 2013

The report “Lab Instrument Support Strategies Trends 2013” by HTStec is now available at Contact with report name in subject line and your contact details to purchase this report or get your questions answered.

Proper maintenance of laboratory instrumentation is an important consideration to ensure that lab assets remain available to researchers. Minimizing downtime makes the research process more efficient. A variety of support options are available from original equipment manufacturers (OEM), small third party independent service organizations (ISO), large multi-vendor service (MVS) providers and internal support staffs. A specific aim of this global benchmarking study was to track the increasing use of/interest in MVS providers.

The objectives were to understand current practices and opinions on lab instrument support and service, extended warranties, preventative maintenance (PM), and on the contracting out instrument support to third party MVS providers.

The results of this survey are intended to be used by MVS providers to help them understand the needs of lab instrument users to ensure future customer alignment and business success.

The questionnaire was compiled by HTStec to meet the needs and interests of MVS providers.

Equal emphasis was given to soliciting opinion from persons who make or influence purchasing or service maintenance/support decisions for lab instruments in pharma, applied and academic research labs.

The survey looked at the following aspects of lab instrument support and service as practiced today (2013) and in a few cases as predicted for the future (2016): the application areas that best describes respondent’s use of lab instruments; typical level of instrument use; reasonable and maximum hourly labour rates for an instrument service visit; reasonable expenses for a service call on top of an hourly rate; who is responsible for setting aside (allocating) an instrument support budget in respondent’s organisation/facility; how an instrument support budget is funded; how lab instruments are currently maintained or serviced; respondents who have purchased an extended warranty or service contract from an instrument manufacturer; whether the extended warranty or service contract was considered worth the price paid; % of the original instrument value respondents expect to pay annually for instrument service and support; respondent’s philosophy on PM; preferred type of PM (i.e. instrument usage versus scheduled purely on calendar driven events); how obsolete instruments are supported; types of lab instrument respondents would you like see covered by a support agreement at their organization; respondents who have ever considered working with a third party MVS provider; current use of MVS providers; satisfaction with MVS providers used; level of MVS coverage wanted; MVS providers most associated with a list of desirable characteristics or attributes; basis for selecting an MVS provider; main reasons/drivers for using/considering an MVS provider; approval needed internally to sign an MVS agreement; most important features offered by MVS; areas of concern/reservation about MVS; importance of specific concerns when thinking about entering into an MVS agreement; categories of instruments most interested in covering with MVS; likelihood will contract out instrument service and support coverage to an MVS provider over the next 3 years; and any unmet needs in instrument support that respondents would like to see addressed by service providers.

The main questionnaire consisted of 27 multi-choice questions and 2 open-ended questions. In addition, there were 5 questions related solely to survey demographics. The survey collected 59 validated responses, of these 75% provided comprehensive input. Survey responses were geographically split: 59% North America; 26% Europe; 7% Japan; 5% Rest of World; and 3% Asia (excluding Japan).

Respondents came from 12 Large Pharma; 8 University; 6 Medium-Small Pharma; 5 Research Institute; 5 Medical School/Hospital/Clinic; 4 Biotech Company – Established; 4 Contract Research Organization; 3 Biotech Company – Startup; 3 Diagnostics Company; 2 Agrochemical/Agri-Biotech Company ; 2 Government Laboratory; 2 Academic Screening Center; 2 Other and 1 Not-For-Profit Research Center.

Most survey respondents had a senior job role or position which was in descending order: 15 principal investigators; 12 lab managers; 9 senior scientists/researchers; 7 research scientists/associates; 6 section/group leaders; 6 directors; 5 principal investigators; 4 others; 3 vice presidents; 3 instrument support staff; 2 professors/assistant professors; 1 department head; and 1 graduate student/PhD student.

Survey results were expressed as an average of all survey respondents. In addition, where appropriate the data was fully reanalyzed after sub-division into the 5 survey groups: 1) Pharma Labs; 2) Applied Labs; 3) Academic Labs; 4) Europe; & 5) North America.

The main application areas of respondent’s lab instruments were basic/academic research or pharmaceutical/drug discovery research. The level of use of instruments by most respondents was occasional use. The median reasonable hourly rate for an instrument service visit was $150-$200/hour.

The median maximum hourly rate for an instrument service visit was $200-$250/hour. The claimable expense thought most reasonable on top of an hourly rate was an air fare. Most respondents thought it was a divisional/departmental responsibility for setting aside an instrument support budget.

Most respondents would fund an instrument support budget from a general site fund. The approach respondents most currently use to maintain or service lab instruments were instrument manufacturer service contracts.

The majority of respondents have purchased an extended warranty or service contract from an instrument manufacturer and thought it was worth the price paid. The median % of the original instrument value respondents would expect to pay annually for instrument service and support was 5%.

The primary philosophy towards PM was to inspect regularly & repair as needed. The alternative philosophy towards PM was to follow OEM recommendations. PM based on usage was strongly preferred over PM based on a scheduled date. Feedback on how respondents support obsolete instruments was documented.

The instrument types respondents would most like to see covered by a support agreement at their organization were laboratory robotics and liquid handlers/pipettors/dispensers.

Most respondents have considered working with a third party MVS provider, but only a minority have worked with an MVS provider to date. The MVS providers most used were PerkinElmer OneSource, GE Healthcare and Unity Lab Services/Thermo. Feedback on respondent’s level of satisfaction with any MVS service providers they have used was documented.

The current level of MVS coverage obtained by most respondents was N/A – not using. The most wanted future level of MVS coverage was at the instrument level (selected types only).

The first choice MVS service provider most associated with a list of desirable characteristics or attributes was ‘No Vendor’. The MVS provider receiving the most first choice positive selections was Unity Lab Services/Thermo.

Cost of service was ranked the most important basis on which to select an MVS provider. Control lab costs and optimize lab operations was ranked the most important reason/driver for using/considering an MVS provider. A corporate decision was the approval level needed internally to sign an MVS agreement.

Provision of instrument maintenance/support was ranked the most important MVS feature offered. The biggest concern about MVS was in the area of instrument knowledge. Provider is too selective in instrument coverage offered was rated the biggest concern when thinking of entering into an MVS agreement.

Respondents were most interested in covering high-end instruments (>$100K value) with MVS. The median likelihood of using an MVS provider over the next few years was quite possibly (10-50% probability). A bottom up model using respondent data derived from this survey estimated the global market for MVS contracts for lab instruments to be around $150M today (2013).

Some unmet needs in instrument support that respondents would like addressed by MVS providers were documented. The full report provides the data, details of the breakdown of the responses for each question, its segmentation and a few estimates for the future (2016). It also highlights some interesting differences between the survey groups.

Browse more reports on Laboratory Instrumentation Market @ .

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