By Jason Brandt (@Jasondmg3)

When budgets are tightening, but just as much work still needs to be accomplished, that leaves only one option: figure out a way to do it cheaper. In pharma, as in industries around the world, this is becoming increasingly common, and the answer is, frequently: outsourcing.

Outsourcing has become more prevalent than ever in the pharmaceutical industry – not only in manufacturing, but in drug discovery and development, testing and trials, sales forces… just about any function can be outsourced to benefit the bottom line.
But, outsourcing can come with its own worries, particularly in pharma.
A new or non-specialized contractor or vendor may not fully know or understand the necessary regulations, restrictions, processes or politics at play. At best, this can require a learning curve – educational explanations, and some time devoted to bringing everyone up to speed – and result in a few mix-ups along the way. At worst, it can result in mistakes requiring extensive rework, or public errors.

We’ve also seen, however, the mistakes that can be made when quality isn’t properly researched.

If you are thinking of outsourcing a service or project, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Really check them out. As people; in person. Meet or speak directly with, not just the company leadership, but the people who will be doing your day-to-day work, and ensure that there is a connection there, and a real understanding.
  • Ask the tough questions up front. You want to know that your outsourced work will be done exactly as you would do it. What are their GMPs? What are their document retention policies? What are their employee confidentiality policies?
  • Stay hands on. Occasionally pop in to all phases of the process – and make sure they’re aware that you might. Whether you’re working with a contractor on a laptop in a coffee shop six blocks over, a lab full of scientists several hours away, or a department full of staffers on a continent twelve time zones away, keep in touch, and ask the same of them

At Zemoga, we use a business model called near shoring that is quite different from outsourcing. We’ve found the best and brightest creative talent in Bogota, a stunning modern city in Colombia. Our interactive and user experience designers can frequently interface with our clients because of the geographic proximity and their proficiency in the English language, as well as familiarity with American culture. They’re not only a crucial part of the company, they’re the heart and soul of our corporate identity.

Whichever you choose, determine if you are establishing a long-term relationship with your partner or contractor. If so, it needs to be a relationship based on communication, trust, cooperation, and mutual benefit.



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