All of us at ABS thank you for the trust that you have placed in us and our many successful collaborations with you. We wish you a very Happy Holiday Season and a New Year filled with good health, kindness, and meaning.
ABS is not entering a new market. This post is about Internet marketplaces and their limitations when seeking solutions for custom products and services. Connecting buyers and sellers for online transactions is commonplace and works very well for anything from household products to computers. Amazon is pervasive. In recent years, scientific marketplaces have come onto the scene.
When ABS started, we had little, if any, competition in the typical sense of the word. There were only a few small organizations that provided tissues and none of these did any processing, such as membrane preparations. Likewise, most cell culture work was done in-house. There was almost no outsourcing of the type of work done by ABS.
Previous posts described how we rigorously screen candidates and the efforts we take to maintain a productive workplace where our employees really do matter. For the most part, this works very well, but issues do arise. Issues range from minor lapses to more serious concerns. Fortunately, serious issues are less common as we have improved our hiring and other processes. Clear processes enable us to see and address performance lapses earlier, often before they become bigger concerns.
Little will work without the right people. You can design and optimize processes. People make these processes work. This blog describes how we find the right people at ABS. We want people who can share in our mission of doing meaningful work that speeds and enables high quality biomedical research.
Each process is an experiment. Based upon current knowledge, we construct a hypothesis as to what we think will produce a particular outcome. Then, we run the process and evaluate if it produced the specified outcome. Based upon various iterations, we settle upon the most effective process that will produce the desired result. For ABS, the desired result is most often an elimination of errors and acceleration of operations. This methodology is based upon real, preferably quantitative data.
Many of us have the feeling that we can’t afford to make a mistake; and, for many of us, it is true. In pre-clinical research no one is going to die because we make an error, but our career or business could be seriously damaged by mistakes. For ABS, if a large cell culture order for a high-throughput screen is late because of a contamination, then the screen is delayed, and timelines are missed. If patient samples in storage are lost because a freezer failed, there may be no replacement. If a fresh blood sample from a cancer patient doesn’t arrive on time, it may be useless, etc. These kinds of mistakes are bad for everyone.
Day One is a bit of an over-simplification. As I remember it nearly 30 years ago, there wasn’t really a clear day one. The transition to starting ABS was more gradual. While working on Seroquel® at ICI Americas, I leased a small laboratory at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy to use at night to make membrane preparations. I and two technicians would drive up to Philadelphia after working all day and then sacrifice 100 rats that were delivered that day and begin homogenizing and centrifuging rat brain membrane preparations well into the night. I had purchased one centrifuge and there were various other centrifuges on two separate floors that we could access by running up and down flights of stairs so that the membranes were quickly processed. This was a low-cost test of the feasibility of the idea for the business and good exercise.