By Devon Maresco
Biotech companies need to run lean. Even those that have marketable products and stable revenue can quickly find themselves in a financial crunch due to the sheer cost of research and innovation. Simply put: biotech by its very nature is a high-cost industry to be in. That makes it imperative to reduce costs wherever possible, including through smarter biotech space planning.
As is the case with most industries, the cost of facilities looms large for biotechs. Yet, biotech doesn’t have the luxury of remote work or flex scheduling. Essential equipment and state-of-the-art facilities are often key to the success of the company. This means companies need to make the most of the space and capital assets they have to generate a higher ROI on the space they need. The answer to this balancing act comes in the form of space planning.
Better space planning ensures biotechs allocate space accordingly, to house the right personnel and equipment with efficiency. Moreover, it can reduce the total amount of space needed and shore up waste contributing to high overhead. Here’s how space planning fits within the biotech model.
What is biotech space planning?
Biotech companies need to stay mission-focused. That means planning ahead for space allocation in facilities, to support the segments of business that’ll help the company grow and become profitable. Whether it’s allocating lab space for innovation or setting up a sales office to sell that solution, space planning is central to future success. There’s no substitution for the right space—especially when it comes to activity-based work.
Space planning not only ensures everyone has enough space to do their part, it also improves company cost projections. Early stage biotechs have cash burn considerations and need to establish a hierarchy of needs for monthly operations. Facilities—and space specific to certain segments of business—are near the top of the pyramid. For example, lab space and sales. If you can’t continue to develop a product or sell that product, you starve the company. Space planning ensures space to innovate and sell to keep building the runway.
Benefits of space planning for the biotech industry
Space planning gives biotech companies control over one of their biggest costs: facilities. In choosing how to devote space to different segments of operations, biotechs can put themselves in the best position to capitalize on the investment in a workplace. Some of the many benefits that come with proactive space planning include:
- Lab and research facilities become more accessible
- Researchers have the space they need to use capital equipment
- Reduction in the amount of space needed to conduct mission-critical operations
- The cost to the company drops as facility efficiency lowers burn rate
- Fewer overlaps and interruptions ensure smoother lab operations
- Enhanced safety, security, and privacy in well-orchestrated spaces
In essence, space planning is about utilizing a capital resource in the best way possible. Like a biotech might invest in lab equipment or research talent, its investment in facilities is also key in its success. And, like those other assets, how they’re put to work matters in maximizing the ROI they offer.
How does biotech space planning software help?
Space planning for biotechs is nearly impossible without software to assist. There’s simply too much involved in orchestrating biotech operations to approach a coordinated layout without digital tools to visualize it. Biotechs that try to plan on-the-fly will find themselves continually adjusting to avoid friction. Instead, space planning demands a methodical approach. Digital floor plan tools built in much of the trial and error into a sandboxing strategy, so the finished result is a verifiable concept of facilities.
After orchestrating the workplace layout, space planning software is also useful in managing and adapting it. Again, sandboxing changes before making them prevents unnecessary disruption to the workplace. Moreover, data collected through facilities management practices is readily available in space planning software, which brings better context and oversight to adjustments and floor planning.
Finally, space planning software is instrumental in mapping the trajectory of a growing biotech company. It’s easy to see where vital operations take place and where there are opportunities to adjust the floor plan—whether to conserve costs or embrace growth. Biotechs can focus less on tiptoeing around mission-critical operations and instead, find targeted ways to support them through facility adjustments.
The path to more efficient innovation
For any biotech—no matter the specific area of focus—space and facilities are instrumental to success. By extension, that means efficient use of space is imperative. Biotechs need to engage in space planning to highlight areas of opportunity, to capitalize on space availability and reduce the cost of essential overhead.
Space planning software is a necessary investment for biotech companies that want to optimize facilities as a means to streamline the innovation that happens within them. By ensuring there’s enough room for capital equipment, a skilled workforce, and essential workflows, biotechs can make the most of facilities that enable success.
Keep reading: Office Space Planning Guidelines