Supplement Perspectives

Bringing R&D In-house

<p style="text-align: justify; margin: 0in 0in 8pt;">Yes, it can be done, says Lynda Doyle, vice president of global marketing at OmniActive Health Technologies. </p>

R&D is core to any and all nutraceutical ingredient manufacturers that strive to launch innovative, applications-suitable and scientifically substantiated products in the nutrition market. R&D works cross-functionally with a variety of departments – marketing, logistics, quality – to support, guide, and provide market-relevant ingredients to supplement, functional food, and beverage manufacturers.

Strategic growth and development drive internal R&D. Teamwork, collaboration, and a unified goal to successfully launch new, innovative ingredients are critical in bringing R&D in-house.

R&D is resource-intensive, and the size and aspirations of a company determine whether it should be in-house or external. Many organizations decide to outsource R&D based on a number of factors. However, we would like to focus on how to bring the R&D in-house, once the decision to do so has been made, whether as an entirely new function or a transfer from an existing externally sourced program.

There are numerous reasons to bring R&D in-house:

  1. Greater control over proprietary knowledge that would be generated from the research and a reduced risk of information leak
  2. Protection of existing know-how and a greater degree of freedom to convert the know-how to 

  3. Benefit of cross-functional interface with R&D and resulting insights drawn from collaborative effort
  4. Knowledge management is less complex without the need for information protection protocols, such as external NDAs and knowledge transfer agreements

If you believe there is a need to bring R&D in-house, detailed and careful planning is critical to establishing an internal R&D function. Several crucial steps should be considered.

If you are transferring, start with the following two activities:

  1. Develop and execute a well-defined knowledge transfer with clear definitions of ownership when shifting from an external partner to internal R&D
  2. Understand the factors which made the external partner successful, such as systems and practices, and carry them in-house  

Once you’ve decided to start, the following steps are important:

  1. Determine deliverables expected from R&D and develop strategy to achieve these goals
  2. Identify resources required to achieve set deliverables, including personnel, expertise, systems and procedures, and infrastructure  
  3. Establish clear, realistic timelines associated with each step in the process and initiate and follow a monitoring system to ensure that unforeseen issues are resolved efficiently and the process moves along as planned
  4. Integrate R&D into organization with clear direction and market understanding

The benefits of cross-functional innovation are countless. Building in-house R&D is as complicated to execute as it is lucrative. Establishing this in-house team must be strategic and carefully planned before you start this transition. True success will lie in the team’s expertise combined with clear direction and understanding of market needs.

 

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