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.
In 1990, the real competition was the scientists themselves in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that had no alternative but to do the work themselves before they could do their experiments. ABS provided a better solution so that scientists could focus on discovery.
Today, the situation is vastly different. Outsourcing biospecimen acquisitions is the norm for most drug discovery companies. Similarly, cell culture services for pre-clinical research are now offered by several companies. For ABS, this is good news. We no longer need to explain the advantages of outsourcing. It is now an almost universally accepted means of enabling companies to focus on their core discovery activities.
Every business must provide value that distinguishes them from others. The essence of our competitive strategy is described in our mission statement:
ABS makes biomedical research faster, easier, and more reliable. We are an extension of our clients’ laboratories, creating value for the research community, society, and ourselves.
We must create value for our clients or we should not be in business. We cannot continue to grow or even stay in business if we do not do so. Competition is a constant spur to drive us to excel.
We exist to enable discovery. Our products and services require substantial scientific knowledge and experience to serve scientists who are working at the forefront of discovery. Our products and services are not off-the-shelf commodities. They necessitate collaboration and flexibility. This is our focus. Our knowledge and decades of experience provide reliability and a high level of expertise and service for our clients.
These qualities and our concentration on customized products and services is our real competitive advantage. While we look at competitors’ activities and offerings, our focus is with our clients. Our client’s voice is the one that we must hear and understand. The close relationships that we develop are our real guidance.
Making research faster, easier, and more reliable is the essence of how we work. We work with our clients to obtain the best solution for them. It means that projects are completed on time with custom designed products and services that specifically meet the needs of our clients.
We stand behind the work that we do from the beginning to the completion of a single order or a major project. We are there to provide you with informed and responsive service. ABS is certified in accordance with the ISO9001:2015 quality standards, and our work is backed up by our satisfaction guarantee.
ABS competes with very large corporations. This may seem daunting. Rather, it is an advantage. Large corporations offer economies of scale for catalog type items that can be produced in large quantities without customization. This advantage disappears for highly customized products and services such as those upon which exploratory scientific research is based.
Speed and flexibility are challenges for large bureaucratic organizations. Collaborative informed and responsive customer service is often difficult for large companies, especially those with high personnel turnover. Our staff turnover is low and senior staff have been with us for decades.
An extremely sophisticated and secure Oracle enterprise database and management system ensures that all processes, client service interactions, data, and financial transactions are monitored in real-time and that all information is readily accessible. This streamlines communications between us and clients. Projects are accelerated by having necessary information at our fingertips at all times from any location. All of this is enormously difficult for any competitor to replicate.
Even when a large corporation may have the expertise, they often lack the speed, flexibility, and level of collaborative services that are necessary for a project to succeed. ABS is an extension of your laboratory. We do everything that we can to make sure that working with us is as easy as working with a laboratory down the hall. This is accomplished with frequent updates and consultations. Our IT and logistics capabilities make the process of transferring data and samples seamless and easy.
Smaller companies often lack the breadth of capabilities, quality processes, and experience of ABS. For example, we are the only organization, large or small, in the world that provides human biospecimens and high-capacity cell culture services along with sample processing and quality analyses. That means we can fully serve our clients’ needs for the biological materials and related services that are essential for research.
ABS’ early start in our market niche and the complexity of the products and services that we offer are barriers to successful market entry for many competitors. Likewise, our processes and systems refined over 29 years are extremely difficult to implement. The high level of service these systems enable have allowed us to thrive by better serving our clients.
We know that we must continuously improve in all areas, especially those that touch our clients. The pace of change is accelerating. An upcoming arena of competition involves Internet based marketplaces. These “Amazons” for life science are becoming more common. How they affect the competitive landscape along with their advantages and disadvantages for scientists will be discussed in the next blog.