We’re hiring a Virtual Lab Manager

Virtual Lab Manager at a growing life science company

If you have experience with lab management, purchasing, or customer service apply!

ABOUT HAPPILABS

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.

Purchasing and Customer Service ScientistYou 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.

EXPERIENCE

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

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • 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

TIMEFRAME

Looking to start now, preferably in Chicago.

COMPENSATION

  • 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 to make 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.

===== APPLY NOW! ======

CLICK this link –> HAPPILABS JOB APPLICATION (VIA A GOOGLE FORM)

It will not hurt to connect with Tom on LinkedIn.

Clear Communication

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:

Radiotelephony_Spelling_Alphabet_(1955)

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.

Image: Public domain.

Time spent ordering

Ordering takes a lot of time.

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.

Order time by supplier

The VLM team are scientists and purchasing experts. HappiLabs frees scientists’ time to do research and innovate.

How Many Suppliers?

Ultimately, one.

An exploded star coalesced to become the sun providing us with everything.

When ordering lab supplies, however, suppliers abound. Similar items are available many places. Often, prices and delivery times differ as well as subtle, but crucial, features.

Virtual Lab Managers order from lots of suppliers:

TotalSpendWordCloud2
Text size indicates the total spent at each supplier.
TotalOrdersWordCloud
Text size indicates number of orders placed with each supplier.

Happilabs Virtual Lab Managers are scientific supply experts. They sort through the complexities of the supply chain that has evolved to serve scientists.

CASE STUDY: Pricing of Lab Supplies

HappiLabs performed a small case study to evaluate the pricing of common lab supplies. It has become clear to us that some suppliers use the term “discount” as a tactic to convince scientists to buy their product. When in fact the “discount” provides no savings compared to competitor pricing.

This blog post will have little discussion; we’ll let the data do the talking. We compared pricing from small “Mom & Pop Shop” suppliers; large, publicly traded, well known suppliers; and Amazon.

Amazon is included because our purchasing history shows significant growth with them as more suppliers are selling their products in the Amazon marketplace.

METHODS

  1. We selected 9 lab supplies that HappiLabs commonly purchases for its labs.
  2. We found identical or similar equivalents of those items from at least 5 suppliers.
  3. For each item, we compared pricing from Fisher, VWR, Amazon and 2-3 smaller suppliers.
  4. We documented the supplier catalog # and/or manufacturer #, website link, item description, price, and unit size.
  5. Documentation was done in a spreadsheet, and screenshots of the product pages were taken.
  6. We compared List Prices and reported our findings. (data is as of April 1, 2016)

List Price is the cost of an item as listed on a supplier website. This does not include the price you pay after negotiating a discount, and does not include shipping or taxes.

RESULTS

Figure 1 shows the price ranges for three of the nine items. (Graphs for all nine items can be found at the very bottom of this post)

3 Price Comparisons
Figure 1

Large scientific suppliers have the highest list price. Fisher has one of the highest two list prices for 7 out of 9 products. VWR is in the top 2 highest list prices for 5 of 9 products.

Figure 2 shows the cumulative cost at List Price if a scientist purchased all 9 items individually from Fisher, VWR, and Amazon.

Fisher V VWR V Amazon
Figure 2

The total difference between Fisher and Amazon is 54%. Significant. For lab tape, it’s 77%!

Your lab might get discounts from Fisher and VWR, but do they average 54%? Isn’t it easier to go to Amazon or a small supplier like E&K Scientific or P212121?

Amazon aside, many of the small suppliers will always match pricing from large suppliers, and they usually have more exceptional customer service. This is where HappiLabs excels–finding and managing relationships with small suppliers to make sure your lab is treated well.

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

  1. Don’t believe a “discount” is a fair price. Always double check pricing against a competitor, Amazon, or by asking HappiLabs.
  2. Comparison shopping will save your lab money.
  3. Build relationships with small, regional suppliers.

RELATED LINKS

ThermoFisher reported Net Profit of $400,000,000 in Q1 2016.

The Relabeling Racket: How what we don’t know is hurting biomedical research.

The Cost of Moving a Lab Out of a Biotech Incubator

FULL DATA

List Price comparisons and catalog numbers via HappiLabs

Price Comparison (10)

For questions or more details about operating an efficient lab, CONTACT HAPPILABS.