Consulting and Staffing in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Differentiating Approaches and Value Propositions

Both consulting and staffing solutions play significant roles in the rapidly evolving pharmaceutical industry.  Each provides unique value based on the company’s needs, project nature, and strategic goals.

Understanding the differences between the two, when to employ each, and the benefits they offer is essential for effective management of company resources and budget.

Consulting in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Consulting services in the pharmaceutical industry encompass specialized guidance and strategic advice on various aspects of the business. This includes research and development, regulatory compliance, market access, sales and marketing, process optimization, digital transformation, and more. Consulting firms often possess a broad, external perspective, deep industry knowledge, and a wealth of experience from working with different companies and projects.

When to Use Consulting: Consulting services are best utilized when a company faces complex business challenges, strategic decisions, or significant change initiatives where internal expertise might be lacking. For example, navigating regulatory landscapes, implementing new technologies, improving operational efficiency, or developing market entry strategies are areas where consultants can bring immense value.  In addition, consulting should be used when more than one type of skill or functional expertise is required to solve a problem.  These individuals should be organized as a project team, and the project requires a defined scope, endpoint and plan (methodology).

Value of Consulting: The primary value of consulting lies in its capacity to provide strategic insights, innovative solutions, and expert guidance. Consultants can help organizations navigate uncertainties, mitigate risks, and capitalize on opportunities. Since they are not part of the company’s “political environment”, they can provide an outsider’s perspective, identify blind spots, and suggest improvements based on industry best practices and competitive benchmarking.

Staffing in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Pharmaceutical staffing involves providing skilled personnel to fill temporary or permanent roles within the company. Staffing agencies have extensive networks of professionals with varying levels of experience across different specializations, ready to integrate into existing teams and contribute to the ongoing work.

When to Use Staffing: Staffing solutions are ideal when there’s a need to scale up resources quickly, for instance, during peak workload periods, for special projects, or to cover employee absences (such as maternity leaves, sabbaticals, etc.). They can also be beneficial for filling highly specialized roles that are hard to recruit for or when there’s a short-term need that doesn’t warrant a permanent hire.

Value of Staffing: The primary benefit of staffing is flexibility and efficiency in scaling workforce according to the company’s changing needs. It allows companies to access skilled professionals without the overheads associated with permanent hires. This can result in significant cost savings, quicker hiring times, and increased capacity to manage workload fluctuations. In the long run, it also reduces the risk of burnout in permanent staff, thereby promoting employee retention.

A Hybrid Solution – “Managing Consultant”

A hybrid solution is possible when one person is needed to run a particular department, business, or project AND make changes at the same time.  This requires a unique type of individual – one that has deep expertise in a particular business, scientific, or medical area AND has experience leading business optimization projects.  This person brings knowledge of various business process re-engineering, organizational change, and / or IT implementation methodologies to enable short and mid-term operational improvement while executing day-to-day activities of a particular function.

This role can be used for small and mid-size life science clients that need to optimize budget and know that they need to transform an organization or business process while also filling a resource gap (“changing the wheels while driving the car”).

In conclusion, both consulting and staffing provide valuable services to the pharmaceutical industry, addressing different sets of needs. The decision to employ either or both should be driven by the specific challenges, objectives, and resource requirements of the company. With the right combination, these services can significantly enhance the agility, expertise, and productivity within the pharmaceutical sector.

Written by Tobias Hoppe (3T3 Consulting) & Claude Houet (Phetairos)

 To get free access to our interesting schedule of publications about high performing life science organisations, join our Community here.