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.

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.

How to use a HappiLabs Virtual Lab Manager

Some feedback we’ve received recently was about new hires in the lab we work for. Scientists new to HappiLabs do not always know how to use their Virtual Lab Manager. Everyone knows us as the purchaser (“Hey HappiLabs, can you order more gloves?”), but don’t know our other features.

Therefore, let us clarify 4 things you can use us for. Our main goal is to absorb as many 5-20 minute tasks as possible for scientists. We staff PhDs who have been in the lab, understand the language, and have empathy for the difficulty of your job. Therefore, we want to help you, and it’s in our mission.

Product research

Purchasing and Customer Service ScientistDo you find yourself googling or scanning supplier websites for pricing info, specs, availability, or features of products? Leave that to us. Don’t waste 20 minutes on the phone with tech support. Ask us to help. You can have that time to get back in the lab or in your office analyzing data.

Sample questions to ask your Virtual Lab Manager:

  • Can you find out what the limit is for centrifuging Greiner 96-well flat bottom plates?
  • Can you look into fridge shelving options for these microcentrifuge tube racks?
  • Can you find a phosphoric acid source that sells by molarity (instead of volume)?
  • Can you help me find a distributor for this glass/metal adhesive?

Getting quotes or pricing information

There are so many sales reps trying to win your business, it can be a distraction. They will all tell you they have the best price or offer a “deep discount,” but who do you believe? HappiLabs shops for a lot of companies/labs, therefore we know what a fair price is, and have internal knowledge about what works and if there are quality control issues with any brands.

When it comes time to finding the price of an item, let us take care of that.

This ties into budgeting. If you have to budget an experiment or equipment purchase to get approval from a manager, tell us what you want, and we’ll price it out for you.

Calling customer service

Never worry about calling 1-800…Your virtual lab manager will do it. Whether you want to follow up on an order, return an item, or complain about a product (Did you order something and it’s broken?), we will do this for you.

Ultimately, a scientist working with HappiLabs should rarely have to interact with suppliers (customer service, sales reps, and tech support).

Purchasing Standards for Suppliers

Supplier standards for HappiLabs virtual lab managers

This post is for suppliers.

We want to help you help HappiLabs help scientists.

HappiLabs is developing an evolving set of standards to help our Virtual Lab Managers decide which suppliers to buy from so that scientists get what they want, at a fair price, quickly. Keeping their experiments on schedule, within budget is good for science and global human health.

We manage purchasing for >150 scientists, spending more than $400,000 per month from >200 suppliers. Sometimes we have no choice who to buy from because the scientist has a very specific request. But in many situations, we are given the flexibility to choose the supplier.

Some suppliers stink at what we call the Purchasing Experience, and some are excellent. The gold standards on our internal ranking system are NEB and AbCam. They are reliable, quick, and give us the information we need when we want it.

Here are 3 actions you can implement as a supplier to make us happy with your purchasing experience, and therefore, more likely to keep buying from you.

1) Get us a quote faster than 24 hours.

When we ask for a discount on an item we don’t already have a quote for or we are buying in bulk, we don’t want to have to wait 2-5 days. It’s silly that we depend on sales reps in the field who can’t respond to our requests until they get to a computer. Don’t undervalue the inside sales rep.

Fist bump to Matt G. from LifeTech (Thermo), Sean from P212121, Chris S. from VWR, and Marwan at Bio-Rad.

2) Send automated shipping updates.

To keep scientists on track and on-time we notify them of when their order will arrive. Obtaining a UPS, Fedex, etc tracking # is how we do this.

We do not want to spend 5-10 minutes logging into your website or calling customer service to find the tracking #. NEB and Amazon are exceptional. Once an item ships, they send an email with tracking number. Fisher, you should know your “Shipping Notifications” are useless. Our Virtual Lab Managers have learned to ignore it. The “Here” link is a dead end. Can you fix this?

Useless-Fisher-Shipping-notification-happilabs

This is a winner:

Tracking number for scientific orders

3) Send automated invoice (PDF format is preferred)

Most companies do, but some don’t, which require us to make phone calls to customer service or log into websites. Save us 5-10 minutes and automatically send this via email, and a PDF is preferred. Life Technologies (Thermo), Qiagen, and Amazon we’re looking at you.

Keeping scientists happy is our #1 goal, but keeping the accounting department happy is important too.

Bonus points if….

1) You have online chat.

Online-chatVWR, P212121, IDT, Fedex….great job!

2) You provide us a dedicated customer service agent. 

Our Virtual Lab Managers move fast, like Jimmy Johns. We do not like losing 5-10 minutes on the phone with customer service. Therefore, we’ve started allowing a dedicated customer service agent access to our team via a private Slack channel. Thank you to Sigma, E&K Scientific and the few others who have provided us a dedicated person. It is very helpful and allows us to post a question and come back to it later.

3) It takes less than 2 days to update a shipping or billing address.

We’re constantly baffled by how long this takes for most suppliers. The process requires filling out paperwork and then waiting for some kind of approval. We understand, due to the nature of some supplies that are regulated, that it takes time, but better communication about timing will be appreciated. 🙂

GE Healthcare, it’s taking a week. What does this mean, from a customer service agent:

“I’ve started a work flow to have the address updated in our system.”

Suppliers, we want to build a relationship with you. If you have questions, reach out: https://www.happilabs.org/contact/

The Cost of Moving a Lab out of a Biotech Incubator

A customer of HappiLabs recently moved out of an incubator and into their own space (a big milestone for biotech startups). They hired a Virtual Lab Manager to manage the process of ordering new equipment (since incubators have a lot of shared equipment).

This case study summarizes the cost and time of shopping for, negotiating, and buying all the equipment, along with lessons we learned in the process.

 

Moving A Lab case study (HappiLabs)

If you want a PDF to print and show to your boss: Moving A Lab case study (HappiLabs)

If you want help moving or managing your lab, call HappiLabs!