Put an end to the waiting game: How to reduce the new supplier addition process from weeks to hours

Picture this. You want to order from a restaurant you’ve never tried before. When getting ready to place the order, you are notified that the restaurant is not “in the system” and to add it will take several weeks... Then you can order your food. It sounds pretty ridiculous, but this is what many scientists and lab managers experience when attempting to procure much-needed lab supplies. Fortunately, there is a way to put an end to the waiting game and reduce the supplier addition process from weeks to hours.

Biopharma R&D teams added up to 50% new suppliers in 2021, some adding hundreds per year. The supplier addition process encompasses the actions needed to purchase from a supplier that is new to the organization or, in some cases, is non-preferred. The process entails due diligence by finance, addition to the accounting and/or procure-to-pay (P2P) platform if applicable, and onboarding. Not only does it prolong the ordering process, but it costs money in the form of the labor required.

Throughout 2021 and 2022, ZAGENO, the leading lab supply marketplace, surveyed hundreds of research scientists, lab operations, and procurement professionals across various biotech and pharmaceutical R&D labs about their lab supply purchasing processes. Data came from organizations both with and without P2P platforms.

Research shows that inefficient supplier addition process leads to experiment delays

ZAGENO’s research found that adding new suppliers to the procurement system is an inefficient, protracted process that causes experiment delays.

  • 61% percent reported experiment delays due to waiting for a new supplier to get up and running


Pie chart indicating Yes at 60.7%

Have you experienced experiment delays
due to using a new lab supply vendor?

  • It takes an average of an average of 3+ weeks to add new suppliers
  • As organizations scale, adding new suppliers takes longer, with a higher incidence of related experiment delays. Scientists at biotech labs report an average of 15 days to add a supplier. At pharma labs, the same request takes more than 20 days.


Bar chart

Percentage of respondents who have experienced experiment delays
due to using a new lab supply vendor, by organization size

  • Labs using P2P systems take significantly longer to add a supplier, increasing from 9 days to 26 days.


Two calendars, one with 9 days, the other with 26 days

Number of days to add a supplier and
place an order, both with and without P2P


A senior research associate shared, “There is a multiple day lag between when I request orders and when they are actually placed. This lag causes many delays in our workflow and causes us to stop experiments.”

A chemistry director expressed frustration that, “New vendors should not take 6 weeks to add. It should be the next day if it is even necessary at all.”

During these delays, products might go out of stock or become affected by shipping issues. Sometimes the scientist must start the process all over again and find an alternative product.

The need for scientific choice results in a long tail

Scientists often need very specific products, within a specific timeframe. If the organization’s PunchOut catalogs don’t have the necessary items available, the lab is forced to make free-text, maverick purchases from new suppliers, resulting in a hard-to-manage long tail. The key is to increase scientific choice while also focusing on supplier consolidation, which becomes possible with a lab supply marketplace, such as ZAGENO.

How to reduce the supplier addition process from weeks to hours with a lab supply marketplace

ZAGENO users can build a cart from over 40 million products across 3,500 suppliers with ZAGENO as the sole vendor of record, meaning that there is only one consolidated invoice each month.

When a specific item is unavailable from a scientist’s “usual” vendor or a niche product is required, ZAGENO allows users to bypass the normal, protracted supplier addition process in several ways:

  • Using ZAGENO’s self-service interface, the user can easily identify an in-stock, vetted product alternative from one of ZAGENO’s thousands of supplier partners and instantly place an order, with no set-up needed. If needed, the ZAGENO white-glove customer service team can also help with alternative product identification and procurement.


  • If the product is only available with a supplier not already part of ZAGENO’s lab supply marketplace, ZAGENO’s white-glove customer service team will set up and onboard the new supplier within 24 hours.

Three benefits of streamlining supplier management with a lab supply marketplace

  1. Speeds time-to-milestone achievements by reducing the purchase order cycle time
  2. Cost avoidance of labor associated with onboarding suppliers and processing additional invoices
  3. Cost savings from product comparison, improved SLAs, and a tamed long tail

Get in touch with ZAGENO today and learn how to streamline your lab supply ordering process so you can stop playing the waiting game and get back to what matters; those eureka moments.

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