5 Requirements for Enterprise-Level BSC Service Providers

As a life sciences lab, operations, or facilities manager, you face a variety of resource-draining challenges. One of these is biological safety cabinet (BSC) maintenance—skimping on this function will hamper innovation and successful operations.

In this competitive market for resources, funding, and personnel, rapid, efficient experimentation and development is as important as ever. Success here requires the proper operation and maintenance of your BSCs. And for that, you may need an outstanding services provider—one that will have the enterprise-scale personnel, resources, and savvy to deliver maximum value for your maintenance spend.

Enterprise BSC Scale Needed

Money for life sciences innovation continues to roll in, as an industry magazine article notes. This is yet another indicator that activity in biopharma and healthcare labs—particularly for research and development—will increase.

Because of continuing biotechnology investment,  BSC unit consumption is growing, too. According to Vantage Market Research, by 2028, the global BSC market's worth will exceed $278.5 million by 2028—showing a compound annual growth rate of 7.9% from 2022-2028. North America represents most of that market, according to the report’s creators.

Biopharma, BSC Market Red Hot

This sort of industry growth is creating more challenges for biopharma labs, including: 

  • Official (and consumer) push for more ecologically friendly and environmentally sustainable lab operations (as this blog has noted)
  • The quest for more lab space—often in prime locations in cities such as Boston or San Francisco
  • Maintaining funding and resources for innovation
  • Stricter regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other agencies responsible for workplace safety
  • Demand for speed-to-market
  • Competition for quality staff (those with experience, training, and commitment) in a very tight labor market

Will Your BSC Service Strategy Succeed?

These various forces are making lab success increasingly difficult, with managers doing more with less money and resources. The various BSC maintenance tasks—which include cleaning, replacing parts, certification, and decontamination—are likely a major drain on your resources. But BSC maintenance is one of those areas that lab administrators can’t starve—or they risk compromising research integrity, missing key deadlines, and worse.

And, given the market’s condition, many labs are only going to expand. The larger and busier the lab operations, the more difficult to keep these BSC units running at maximum efficiency over their full lifecycle. This can even require special support, as this blog has noted.

In fact, your lab may already be exceeding its current capabilities to operate successfully. But even if you are confident your operations are currently stable—do you face the possibility of a future merger or acquisition? Or perhaps, for market reasons, you may need to scale up your innovation infrastructure and add more units and lab space.

Do you typically perform operational reviews with performance benchmarking? Or, to be proactive in maintaining optimum performance, are you planning such a review soon? When conducting your review, you may find that you aren’t getting the best performance from your BSCs—especially given the time and effort taken to maintain them. Your next review may show it's time to reevaluate your current maintenance operations—and that you need to consider adding internal or external personnel, gear, and more.

Enterprise-Level BSC Service Partnership

In your facility operations, you may have multiple departments or personnel overseeing various BSC-related tasks or parts of tasks. You may have a hybrid environment where some BSC operations are internal—but others handed off to a vendor—or even to multiple vendors. This frequently makes it more complex to monitor BSC operations and maintain accountability—and eats up administrative time and effort.

One way to simplify your BSC compliance and maintenance program is to turn to a single, enterprise-scale partner. This is a provider that has the requisite industry savvy, information technology, high-quality personnel, and commitment to your overall success. Such a collaborator also can enhance your safety, efficiency, and sustainability postures overall. And this relationship will yield the best outsourcing return on investment (ROI), with top BSC performance.

What the candidate shouldn't be is a vendor limited to managing a single stand-alone service set.

BSC Partner: Five Key Requirements

When conducting due diligence for your prospective BSC partner, find out if the candidate offers:

1. A full gamut of service capabilities: We recommend seeking a fully capable partner, with broad BSC and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) capabilities. A single collaborator, with comprehensive service capabilities, is in a better position to deliver consistently high quality and closely measured performance. The services package should include everything needed: from certification, decontamination, and decommissioning to the general maintenance of these units. Also, the candidate should demonstrate the ability to troubleshoot unique problems, and arrange for expedited repairs and component replacement, as needed. A partner should be able to support a breadth of unit types—from the relatively uncomplicated fume hoods all the way up to a Class III BSC/glove box system—where there is zero room for error.

2. Support for comprehensive testing: Success here requires unique capabilities, combined with electronic documentation and reporting. Test types should include: 

  • High-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filter integrity testing
  • Visualization of airflow testing
  • Air velocity testing
  • Other testing types should be available, such as: particle count classification; viable environmental sampling; sound level testing; fluorescent light testing; ultra-violet light testing; electrical testing; vibration testing; and temperature/humidity testing

3. A full reservoir of technical talent: As we mentioned above, segments of the biopharma, healthcare, and industrial research industries are growing rapidly. These segments manage to regularly outstrip the available number of certified, qualified, and competent BSC technicians needed to support them. Securing the best lab pros—ones that can handle the full gamut of BSC services—is more challenging and expensive than ever. So, your future partner should have a full roster of outstanding team members that can meet all service level agreements, comfortably.

4. The regional/geographical reach to suit your needs: You need a BSC partner that has a presence within your immediate geographical area. This ensures regular interaction and, in case of unexpected events, fast response to your site. You may be a large operation with multiple geographical footprints—say, one in Cambridge, Mass., and another in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Or perhaps you may soon need a bi-coastal partner, possibly because of a merger or necessary expansion. Your partner should be able to service you in all your relevant locations, with the same capabilities, commitment, and knowledge of your particular needs. 

5. Organizational capacity to meet your future demands: The partner you select should be for the long-term, so that you will get the most ROI from the relationship. An enduring collaboration will also enable you to avoid disruption from sudden vendor switch-outs. So, seek an enterprise-class organization, with a long history of support for your industry. This outstanding long-term partner candidate should be agile, and offer deep resources. It will be capable of responding to your growth needs quickly—with services packages that can scale up as you require. It should also be easily capable of adding team members and more, as needed, without BSC services interruption. 

Meeting Your BSC Services Needs

Are you seeking that crucial BSC partner? Triumvirate Environmental provides expert BSC services, including biological decontamination and NSF/ANSI 49 standard biological cabinet testingas well as certifications for all cabinet types. Schedule a consultation today with our experts.

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