Virtual Lab Manager at a growing life science company
If you have experience with lab management, purchasing, or customer service apply!
HappiLabs is a small business in Chicago, still in the early stage but past the startup stage, that provides a service to scientists called the Virtual Lab Manager. We are similar to an outsourced purchasing department (some might say a Personal Shopper) for biotech companies and scientific research labs.
Our focus is on customer service, and we’re for-profit but have a non-profit mentality.
Our mission: to improve the happiness of scientists and the quality of their research.
By helping scientists do their job, we are helping all the people on the planet who benefit from inventions, creations, and knowledge that scientists create.
You will co-manage a minimum of two labs. We are “virtual” so your job consists of sitting in an office and communicating with scientists, in other parts of the world, about what they need to run their experiments.
You will be trained to be one of the best lab managers in the world.
A strong candidate will have one or two of these backgrounds:
Lab manager or postdoc who has managed scientists, experiments, and budgets
Purchaser in a non-science setting
Sales rep in the life science industry
Maintaining a daily ToDo List
Utilizing apps and software for managing labs
Communicating with scientists to understand their needs and experiments
Communicating with suppliers (sales reps, technical help, & customer service) to obtain pricing and technical info, place orders, retrieve order updates, and solve logistics and supply chain problems
Scanning the internet for new apps, technologies, or products that make science faster
Keeping detailed accounting records, such Purchase Orders and Invoices
Reporting progress and solving problems at team meetings
Looking to start now, preferably in Chicago.
Full-time or Part-time, 20-40 hours per week,
$50-70k, depending on experience
Medical and Dental health benefits
Food at the office
SKILLS AND TRAITS YOU SHOULD HAVE
We want a long-term commitment, someone who will help a small company grow into a large one.
Tech savvy (very good with a computer, its keyboard and multiple monitors)
A Mac user, comfortable with Google products and spreadsheets
Be proactive – help without being asked to help, and ability to predict problems
Quick, mental flexibility – we’re a growing company, always changing, and a good candidate must be willing (and excited!) to change pace.
A passion for science and desire tomake a difference in the world.
Tough – customers and suppliers can be difficult to deal with. You need to take the hits, be calm with your interactions, and move on.
Confident presence on the phone. We make a lot of phone calls to suppliers.
Misheard numbers, letters or words cause communication miscues and inefficiencies.
A system for clarity is helpful.
For instance, The Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, also known as the NATO alphabet:
Virtual Lab Managers talk with scientists and suppliers talk on the phone quite a bit. Clarifying spelling or letters in POs and tracking numbers saves time. Using The Radiotelephony Alphabet, or other clarifying system, helps keep communication clear, efficient, and reliable.
A tip from Hotel-Alpha-Papa-Papa-India Lima-Alpha-Bravo-Sierra.
The less time scientists spend in the purchasing cycle, the faster they can get back to happily focusing on science. A HappiLabs summer intern, Lena, timed experienced Virtual Lab Managers (VLMs) placing orders online. The time ranged from just under four minutes to over seven. Though the sample size is small (n ≤ 3 orders/supplier), it is consistent with VLMs’ day-to-day experiences. An average of six minutes per order may not seem like much, but it quickly adds up with multiple orders a day.
The VLM team are scientists and purchasing experts. HappiLabs frees scientists’ time to do research and innovate.
It is our intention to put a lot more importance on a very undervalued position.
The lab manager.
It shouldn’t be a position mixing operations with too much science. A lab manager needs to focus on operations, and if they are doing experiments too, your lab is going to be less efficient than the ones using a Virtual Lab Manager to support the people focused on science.
A good lab manager should be extremely proficient with a computer and apps. They will be receiving many emails, toggling through supplier websites, and communicating with everyone in the lab.
There are many reasons why a HappiLabs VLM is more efficient, but here are 3 reasons that have to do with technology:
We put our Virtual Lab Managers through training to become masters of a keyboard.
We estimate this saves a VLM at least 15 minute per day, simply by using (Command + Tab) or (Command + ~), etc. We can scroll through windows, tabs, and programs at lightning speed.
Copy, paste, scroll to the top, scroll to the bottom, undo, redo, and on and on. We aim to compete with a software developer’s mastery of a keyboard.
Logging in and out of supplier websites has never been easier, or more secure with password saving apps. Passwords don’t need to be retrieved from Excel or physical paper every time we order through Quartzy, Sigma, NEB, etc. They are automatically known. This saves 10-25 minutes per day for a busy lab.
Using multiple monitors
Every VLM has at least two monitors. One for monitoring communication (email, gchat, Slack, etc.), and the other is for other activity (googling, shopping online, analyzing quotes, etc.). By keeping a constant eye on communication, a VLM will respond quicker to all your scientists’ needs.
And a small shoutout to Moom. When analyzing multiple windows of data or comparing several quotes, resizing windows so you can see them all on one page is fast…HappiLabs fast.