When I’m asked about the best way to go about selecting a CRO, my mind goes back to my second day at Magellan Laboratories in 1999 when I started my career years ago in this business. I had a customer who told me what it would take to be a successful CRO in our industry:
1.) Do what you say you’re going to do
2.) Do it when you say you’re going to do it
3.) Do it at the price you’ve agreed to, and
4.) Communicate clearly and frequently….even the bad news all along the way
He told me if a CRO can do those things while offering a higher level of quality expertise than their competitors, there will always be a demand for their services.
Once you’ve narrowed your scope of possible vendors down, those are the final qualifiers every organization should be using when searching for the right CRO to handle your projects. But how can you go about confirming that the CRO passes muster before working with them first? Well there are some things you need to ask, and I call them “experience questions”. While there is a long list of these experience questions, I’ll try to give just a few examples of their categories:
- Experience in Technology you will need for your compound (Do you need a higher resolution MS than is typical in a CRO?)
- Experience of Team Members running the tests on your compound (Do they have experience with similar compounds?)
- Experience of Staff (What does turnover and satisfaction look like for the individuals supporting their scientific team?)
- Experience in offering a competitive and thorough quote (This will be an early indicator in what a relationship with the CRO will be – if they can get out a solid and comprehensive quote quickly, typically means you’re dealing with a fairly well-oiled machine)
- Experience in meeting their financial commitment (Will they end up charging what they said they would? i.e. ask about change orders and the change order process)
- Experience with Compliance and High-Quality Data.
The industry is going through an odd time right now. A rising tide has raised all ships over the last year or so. Everyone is very, very busy right now. I think our customers have had to accept a certain level of “shift” in timeline projections on their projects because of the events over the past 18 months or so. We’ve heard over and over right now that many CRO’s are giving estimates of 6, 9, or even 12 months to even BEGIN work on a number of various projects. Many organizations who went into 2020 without a solid understanding of their own internal pipelines or an understanding of the industry’s need – they were hit hardest and are now the ones scrambling to adjust their internal processes to meet demand. KCAS has been able to avoid many of these situations because of our use of demand forecasting While it was impossible to know what the last year or so would bring, KCAS’s customers have found themselves somewhat insulated from the long wait times many are experiencing because of the way KCAS does business. In our market, at our size, and within our space, KCAS is better poised to offer capacity to any potential customer out there right now – that is directly related to our use of forecasting. Our forecast demand methods are the most robust processes I have ever personally been involved with, and I’ve been doing this a long time.
The typical model is a CRO will bring on the work, then they will look for the best way to schedule it. KCAS gets ahead of the entire process by evaluating the industry and establishing the opportunities there are that will likely find their way to our labs. From both a business development and operational perspective, we are constantly trying to look 6, 9, even 12 months down the road within our industry so we can adjust internally to meet those needs before they even arrive. This allows us to shift our focus on hiring, training, equipping, and adjusting our facilities. We’re able to do all of this long before we would be in a position where our capacity is at critical levels.
We look forward to evaluating your project with you soon! Please use the form below to let us know when you are available to meet!