Cost of hiring ISO 17025 Consultant to Build Laboratory From Scratch

F

flyers156

#1
First of all, I would like to thank all the members of this lovely community for their valuable input. I have been a long time lurker of these boards.

I work for a company that sells test kits to other laboratories. We also operate an ISO 17025 accredited lab.

We have a company that is interested in a full (and I mean full) lab start up from us. Buying all the equipment they need from us, using our kits and having us build their Quality Management System from scratch and seeing it through to ISO 17025 accreditation.

We are certainly interested in the opportunity, however, none of us know where to begin with what to charge. Does anyone here have experience with using a consultant for something similar or is a consultant and wouldn't mind sharing?

My apologies if this type of question is not allowed.
 
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Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Moderator
#2
Welcome to posting on the Cove.

I don't have an answer but I think it would help if you shared where in the world you're located.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#4
Welcome to the Cove!

I found a paper titled How to Build a Calibration Workshop. I can see you are talking about an enormous project. This Feasibility Study for a Conformance Testing Center looks useful for laying out the scope of the thing.

The cost and complexity of such a project seems monumental to me. The cost amounts to actual equipment, personnel and infrastructure as well as services to include your consultant, but also the amount of time spent to define and manage such a project plus some margin.

It might be worthwhile to find a consultant and have this talk with him/her, as this person would ideally have experience with such an undertaking and could provide a proposal for you.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
From the standpoint of a consultant who often put together TEAMS of consultants for projects, I can tell you that a lot of time and effort is best spent on defining [and limiting] the scope of the project. A major requirement is estimating and getting approval for a budget as well as timing of:

  1. engagement fee
  2. progress plateau payments
  3. clear standards for each plateau (especially for when the project is considered complete and all payments are due.)
Make no mistake - consulting is a business and deserves to be paid commensurate with the value delivered to the organization or individual hiring the consultant. Please read through the thread entitled
Consulting ? Is it in YOUR Career Future?
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#6
Hello Flyers!

I might start first with your Strategy. What specifically are you going to want to do? How are you going to compete with this lab? What competitive advantage are you looking to gain? I realize this is lofty and philosophical. :) But it's important to gain an understanding of the purpose of the endeavor. That will drive many questions with respect to resources, long term commitment, etc.

Once you get your strategy down, next would be developing some kind of Forecast model. How much work are you planning on doing? What kind of turnaround time are you going to have? How many personnel/work stations/ equipment/ and square footage is going to be needed? I realize this is part of why you need a consultant. But determining your general business needs will be necessary to determine the specifics.

Also, do you know what kind of lab requirements you'll need? How critical (if at all) is temperature, humidity, vibration, lighting, etc.? Put another way... based on whatever testing you are going to perform, how sensitive is it to the environmental conditions?

Hopefully your organization can develop a Business Plan of sorts; specifying what you're proposing, the general requirements for personnel, equipment, and building space capacity needs, and some estimate of short/medium/ and long term financial commitment. If you can get buyoff on that, then you have a deliverable to hand to a consultant. Your quote would be that given the allocated resources, their job is to take you from your starting position to fully functional, accredited lab.

The costs can (and should) vary wildly, based on the scope of testing, lab requirements, and available resources for developing processes/procedures.
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
Flyers, in general, a team is a good approach. However, you state there is already an accredited lab there. Reduces a lot. Now, consultants are great, doing all inside is great. The key is the balance. Generally, base on the existing system and trust your folks! Also, do not blindly take current AB, run a competitive bid! I know, I was a pain on that at company level!

In interests of full disclosure. I have been on Elsmar Cove for numerous years and co-moderated the 17025 board for that time. I was also, and subsequent to Corporate, Senior Technical Staff at International Accreditation Service (IAS) until August 2014. I was Program Manager for Calibration, Energy Star, and several other programs.
 
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