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Mind+machine, IPRD

How to be a trusted partner for a company’s IP department

BASF is a global leader in the chemicals market, creating chemistry for every industry, with a focus on sustainability. The company excels in combining economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility.

 

Like any global company dealing in R&D, BASF requires IP experts, not only to deal with a whole range of standard patent-related requests, but also to design new services and digitalize existing ones. There are challenges in maintaining a sufficient in-house headcount to cover these tasks, especially if demand fluctuates. While BASF’s Global IP department has always had the expertise to handle the tasks required of them, during special projects, they do run into challenges with meeting the additional demand.

BASF decided to outsource a portion of their IP-related work to Evalueserve, and the heads of the Global IP department are very satisfied with the outcome of that collaboration. For more on the benefits of that cooperation, see this recent case study.

It is interesting to consider what is important to a company that wants to outsource IP-related work. Obviously, the company’s decision makers need the certainty that the IP service provider has the right expertise, tools and approach to do the work at the expected standard.

It is also important that the service provider has:

  • Existing familiarity with the workflow and tools that the company uses or an alternative approach that can integrate with the company’s workflow
  • The capacity to quickly ramp up and down their team in response to fluctuations in demand
  • The ability to quickly and accurately assess the company’s needs
  • Experience in process optimization and the ability to communicate the value of such process changes
  • A good network of talent to draw on, should extra expertise be needed

However, it’s also essential that the company and service provider can build a solid relationship. Outsourcing such sensitive work requires a lot of trust. For the collaboration to be both successful and satisfactory, the service provider must be completely transparent about their key expertise, fields of service and personnel retention. Without that honesty, the relationship is not going to have the fundamental strength necessary for longevity.

That honesty must begin right at first contact. Companies always have some level of understanding of the complexity, risks and time demands that their projects can take. If a service provider pitches something that doesn’t meet the company’s expectations — claiming that it’s easy, there’s no risk, or they can start the next day — then it’s obviously too good to be true. Even if the price is great, a smart company is unlikely to go with such a service provider. And if they do, they’ll be sorely disappointed when the service provider cannot deliver — which means there is little hope of a stable and fruitful long-term partnership.

Good service providers must be prepared to make an honest pitch for every project, even if it contains some truths that the potential client might hope are not true. This approach builds trust and puts the company in the position of knowing who they’re dealing with. Surely that level of transparency should be a minimum requirement from anyone you’re trusting with sensitive IP and R&D information?

For more information about how Evalueserve approaches their partnerships and collaborations with clients, visit IPR&D homepage.

 

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