Maurizio Sollazzo, Paul Luchino, and Ted Gresik
A 70-person PerkinElmer OneSource on-site team takes complete responsibility for maintaining and qualifying more than 50,000 Merck Research Laboratories assets in six facilities.
Merck Research Laboratories reduces equipment maintenance costs and improves productivity with PerkinElmer OneSource teamMaintaining laboratory instruments is critical to the productivity of pharmaceutical researchers at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). In the past, individual MRL departments were responsible for arranging their own instrument maintenance using original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). With the broad array of instrumentation in their labs, this meant administration of 120 maintenance contracts, often by multiple people at multiple sites within the organization.
To curb inefficiencies, MRL initiated a program that centralized responsibility for the maintenance of more than 35,000 assets in three facilities with a single service provider—PerkinElmer OneSource. Using a combination of asset management models (providing the ideal level of insurance and service for each instrument), on-site service engineers, and third-party parts, the consolidated approach delivers substantial cost savings while enhancing the quality and timeliness of service.
Based on the success of the program, MRL is implementing the model across the organization, shifting all maintenance responsibilities and contracts to PerkinElmer. A 70-person PerkinElmer OneSource on-site team maintains and qualifies more than 50,000 assets in six facilities. Assets in the “maintain” category are serviced by PerkinElmer directly, while those in the “manage” category are maintained by service partners under the management of PerkinElmer OneSource. With a single point of contact, MRL only has to make one call to manage the entire program.
The bottom line? Response times have typically been reduced from a day or two to an hour or two, on-time preventive maintenance exceeds 90%, and the cost of asset management has been reduced by 20% since the program’s inception.
Consolidated ApproachWhen MRL was dealing with myriad OEMs, each department spent a considerable amount of time negotiating and administering multiple contracts and found itself in a weak negotiating position because of the relatively small number of instruments under its control. There was no systematic way to determine whether or not the service level agreements (SLAs) were being met, and it was difficult to determine how many pieces of equipment each vendor managed.
With a single contract and single point of contact, those inefficiencies disappear. At the same time, the approach improves instrument qualification and validation by shifting the focus from the capabilities of the instrument to a more focused, customized model geared toward the end user’s specific applications and environment. Consistent protocols (IQ/OQ/PQ) are utilized across different makes, models, and types of instruments so that they are easier to review and audit, reducing compliance risk. In MRL’s single-provider partnership, an ISO 17025-certified platform is being used to harmonize procedures among many sites, resulting in a 21 CFR part 11-compliant digital record. Preventive maintenance is performed at the same time as qualification to reduce instrument downtime, and automated qualification techniques save time and provide more rigorous testing, more concise electronic reports, and more secure data backup.
PerkinElmer OneSource personnel service equipment from most top manufacturers.
Furthermore, PerkinElmer OneSource is the only major service provider capable of qualifying hyphenated systems such as liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. This capability eliminates the need for multiple service calls by multiple vendors and facilitates a swift return to scientific throughput in the lab. PerkinElmer OneSource also provides the ability to schedule maintenance and compliance services together, usually by the same scientifically trained personnel, dramatically reducing instrument downtime.
When the process started, MRL was searching for a vendor who could provide insights into what equipment was being used, why, and how often, and could significantly improve return on assets and return on invested capital. PerkinElmer OneSource is proving to be that vendor.
Upon selection, a team of 22 PerkinElmer OneSource certified service personnel was assigned to provide on-site support at the three MRL facilities at the start of the program. The program was administered by a PerkinElmer OneSource management team that provided a single point of contact for all of the services. The services were defined by an SLA that was developed jointly by MRL and PerkinElmer and included metrics on all maintenance and qualification details, including response time, instrument downtime, and completion rate.
All assets among the three facilities were managed from installation and warranty to disposition by PerkinElmer OneSource. Asset management software tracks each piece of equipment and each critical event in the life of these assets. Standardized operational performance data is delivered through a comprehensive asset management program.
Recently, MRL needed to move approximately 800 pieces of equipment among its locations around the world. PerkinElmer OneSource experts handled the move from start to finish.The improved reporting provided by PerkinElmer OneSource helps MRL’s managers maintain better control over the assets in their facilities. Managers now have access to reports that show what equipment they have, where it is, its service history, response time, downtime, total cost of ownership, and other key data. Utilization information for each instrument, regardless of technology or manufacturer, coupled with operational service and financial metrics, improves decision-making capabilities. With this type of information, the lab manager can justify capital requests using quantifiable data about instrument utilization. The lab manager can pinpoint the time when assets become too costly to maintain and need to be decommissioned or auctioned. He or she has information to justify redeploying an underutilized asset to another branch or laboratory to distribute workload.
Recently, MRL decided to rationalize its clinical areas globally. This change necessitated moving approximately 800 pieces of equipment among MRL locations around the world. PerkinElmer OneSource experts handled the move from start to finish, relocating and recommissioning all instrumentation to minimize downtime and ensure continued regulatory compliance.
As part of the agreement, PerkinElmer OneSource demonstrated that every piece of equipment was working in its new location. Whenever equipment did not perform exactly as expected, PerkinElmer OneSource personnel responded and repaired the items. PerkinElmer OneSource also provided reporting to track the location and status of every asset throughout the move.
By streamlining the entire vendor management process, significantly reducing the daily administration burden on scientists and allowing them to focus on research instead of managing multiple vendors, the consolidated maintenance program delivers significant cost savings. At the same time, improvements in record keeping and service tracking are enabling significant improvements in purchasing decisions.
In light of these results, MRL is expanding the partnership, assigning to PerkinElmer OneSource the vendor management of all its OEM service contracts as well as responsibility for the procurement and storage of parts. This approach provides endless possibilities, all based on the fundamental approach of letting specialized experts do what they do best so that the laboratory can focus on being a laboratory and generating science.