Why do scientific researchers choose specific biobanks as valuable resources for their new research related to personalized medicine? Biobanks, like any company, must earn their customers loyalty and respect, which in turn results in fruitful partnerships.
Terry Hill, a former professor at the London Business School created the terms ‘order winners’ and ‘order qualifiers’ (Hill 2000). He then defined what the differences are for a business environment. In many biobanks these two are not clearly defined, resulting in a less than optimal performance in sharing samples and data.
According to (Hill 2000) the definition of a qualifier is ‘those criteria that a company must meet for a customer to even consider it as a possible supplier’. If a biobank does not meet these minimum standards on order qualifiers (for example patient consent), the researchers will ignore or reject the potential partnerships. The definition of an order winner is: ‘those criteria that win the order’, in other words, if you want to deliver order winners you need to surpass the competition. So which ones are relevant for a biobank?
The ability to deliver high quality samples, under the right conditions was mentioned as one of the most important criteria in selecting a biobank by 57% of German researchers in a survey in 2019 (Klingler 2019). This can be considered as a good example of an order winner for (German) biobanks.
Selecting the right hardware to support your sample storage is essential to ensure quality. Using the Thermo Scientific™ Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer Selection guide helps you navigate through the portfolio and find the right model that meets your specific needs. Furthermore, combining the guide with Thermo Scientific™ sample storage & management solutions that are in line with the purpose of the biobank is a critical step.
The best example of a qualifier is compliance with regulatory requirements, especially around data-protection and GDPR for European biobanks. The researcher needs a biobank that covers this aspect of the specimens needed, there is simply no escape.
Collecting samples according to correct pre-analytical procedures sounds more obvious than in reality. Lippi 2011 published that 60-70% of all problems occurring in laboratory diagnostics, are attributable to mishandling of the procedures during collecting, handling, preparing or storing of the samples. Less attention seems to be given to the various sources of data that create the real added value to the sample; radiological data, laboratory results, treatment information etc.
In biobanking, it is not always possible when working with high-quality pathological and clinical data to control all variables (especially in the pre-analytical phase), but documentation is important (Sargsyan 2018). If it is not clear who collected which data and when, then the collected specimens might lose a lot of value for potential research.
Order winners and qualifiers are both time-specific and market-specific. They work in different combinations, in different ways, on different markets and with different end-users. Furthermore a winner today can be a qualifier in a few years from now – it is not always stable over time.
Going forward, Thermo Fisher Scientific can help you achieve the qualifying criteria for a biobank, to develop order winners.