Four facilities management strategies to optimize life sciences costs

Extract more value from lab and manufacturing space—and set the stage for next-level innovation.

Unprecedented funding, regulatory scrutiny and ever-growing consumer demand are creating historic pressure for life sciences leaders to achieve ever-faster discoveries and approvals. One way to do just that is hiding in plain view: your facilities.

By reimagining facilities management (FM), life sciences companies can improve operational efficiency and fuel performance—and ultimately speed up the development process for vital therapies. Leading life sciences FM practices ensure your research and manufacturing facilities are fully operational 24/7, giving your teams relative immunity to power outages, HVAC malfunctions, and other common facility issues that too often cause costly disruptions to innovation and production.

Next-generation maintenance strategies improve life sciences facility reliability while also reducing capital expenses and allowing for more data-informed decisions to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO). These practices also improve energy efficiency, support carbon emissions and ESG targets, and reduce operating expenses. FM automation improves staff productivity and reduces the risk of human errors, creating environments where innovation can flourish.

So, how can life sciences organizations achieve the best of both operational worlds—improved facility performance along with lower cost of ownership?

Four best practices for profitable life sciences facilities management

To achieve lower operating costs while maintaining reliability and productivity, ensure your team is ready to adopt the following best practices:

1. Embrace next-generation preventive maintenance

Traditional FM maintenance programs focus on equipment service, upgrades and replacement schedules dictated by equipment manufacturers or corporate standards. However, the conventional, calendar-based approach adds to capital expenses when technicians are required to replace equipment regardless of its condition, or when emergency repairs are needed because parts deteriorate ahead of the preset maintenance schedule.

In contrast, urgency and equipment condition drive next-generation maintenance. Rather than maintenance-by-schedule, preventive maintenance uses sophisticated technology to gather and analyze real-time data that tracks equipment vibration, heat generation and other indicators of equipment condition. The data and algorithms detect performance irregularities not visible by human perception alone and help expand human knowledge. Ultimately, these tech-driven management strategies can reduce the risk of equipment malfunctions and production downtime, and extend equipment life.

These aren‘t small feats, considering the high cost of emergency equipment repairs. And if you add in the ancillary costs of disruption to R&D, production or manufacturing, as well as the cascading impacts to costs, supply chains and reputation, you begin to understand the value of next-generation maintenance. By managing equipment with the proper maintenance strategies at the right time, life sciences operators can reduce capital and operating expenses and—most important—sustain an optimal backdrop for breakthrough therapy development.

2. Power workflow productivity with technology

In critical environment maintenance, even a simple mistake can lead to costly downtime—and most errors are human-made. However, advanced FM software minimizes the opportunities for costly human error by automating life sciences facility operations and centralizing and standardizing information.

For example, Corrigo, a robust computerized maintenance management system, helps FM leaders unite operations, asset and work-order management, and maintenance data with analytics. This maximizes personnel productivity while improving accuracy and reliability. Integrating real-time information on work orders, invoicing, payment remittance and other activities can help technicians stay in control while generating savings.

3. Align people, processes and equipment around standards compliance

Effective FM teams consistently measure compliance across internal, industry and regulatory standards. Using a strong compliance tool empowers life sciences facilities teams to verify that all standards—from operations and maintenance to staffing and training—are being met at any given site, with consistent deployment, management and measuring protocols.

Strong operational standards also help safeguard against changes in environment, maintenance or other risks that could trigger compliance issues in the highly regulated life sciences space.

That’s critical support considering two-thirds of drug shortages are caused by manufacturing disruptions related to product or facility quality problems, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Clear and effective standards also ensure that no site is over or under-staffed and that personnel is trained properly. Operating within compliance standards reduces risks which translates into cost savings.

4. Align facilities management performance outcomes with company strategy

Forward-looking life sciences leaders are deriving more value from their facilities teams by moving toward strategic partnerships with FM. When a facilities team is focused on desired outcomes, such as energy efficiency and cost savings targets, it is better positioned to maximize financial performance to invest in R&D than if it is merely focused on a checklist of activities.

The right FM partner can provide the broader business with key insights on how the space really performs. They can also uncover and recommend opportunities for improvement, whether it’s optimizing energy use or changing facility layouts to reduce operational expenses.

Get more value out of your life sciences facilities management

In sensitive life sciences environments, resilient, 100% reliability is a necessity—but it needn’t require higher operational costs. By incorporating best practices into your life sciences facilities management, you can lower the total cost of ownership and boost the reliability of the facilities that power your business.

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