An outsourced lab solution saves time and cost in research and development.

04/26/2023
A scientific illustration.

”Kelly solves problems with people.”– Greenhouse Manager

The challenge:

R&D projects failing due to inconsistent plant care.

The client is a leader in agriscience for research and development of crop protection services—an array of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and seed treatments that farmers use to protect against weeds, disease, and insects. They operate 42 greenhouse labs in a GLP environment to grow plants for testing in critical R&D projects, but were experiencing poor quality due to inconsistent plant watering and care on weekends and holidays. They were asking staff volunteers to cover those time periods, driving higher costs because all hours were paid as overtime. The research data missing from plant loss was in turn causing projects to fail, costing the client even more time and money. This approach also left full-time client staff to handle coverage, scheduling, and employee issues.

The solution:

A dedicated team with responsibility for key outcomes.

Experts from Kelly® Science & Clinical customized a business process outsourcing (BPO) solution, featuring a unique schedule for two teams that provided consistent, 365-day coverage. A crew of 9 dedicated Plant Care Technicians now delivers first-class laboratory greenhouse services, with a focused manager in place to oversee day-to-day operations and ensure quality results for overall greenhouse lab management and maintenance. The team reports on agreed KPI metrics for specific outcomes like daily devitalization scores, which count the amount of plant material successfully bagged for pickup, as well as for team safety and turnover. Kelly assumes all responsibility for employee supervision, licensure, certification, and training as well as for plant watering, pesticide application, lab cleaning, and pot assembly—allowing the client’s staff to focus on R&D.

The value:

More R&D projects completed with less overtime.

The BPO team developed subject matter experts that allowed for various watering techniques such as subrogation, top watering, and boom system irrigation, plus individual solutions crafted for different client researchers. Premature plant devitalization, or plants dying before they were expected, was greatly reduced through dedicated and consistent watering. This improved R&D project completion rates, saving the client time and money, as much as $40K per project. The elimination of voluntary weekend and holiday hours resulted in 2,500+ fewer overtime hours, for savings of about $125K per year. Meanwhile, the BPO model has built a foundation for better daily communication between technicians and researchers, for ongoing collection of more reliable plant data.

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