How BetterBuilt Reduced UCSD’s utilities by 49-65% through the Centralized Research Support Facility
Strategic Expansion and Centralization
Since 1960, the University of California San Diego has been known for groundbreaking scholarship in the areas of biomedical research and healthcare. To better manage UCSD’s expanding research enterprise and their decentralized vivo facilities, Dr. Phil Richter (head of the UCSD Animal Care Program) had the idea to create a centralized, standalone facility for their vivarium’s sanitation equipment. This helped UCSD expand strategically, optimize their operations and eliminate redundancies. The idea of a standalone sanitation facility eliminating the need for sanitation centres in every vivarium was unique to the industry at the time. Despite the lack of precedent, Dr. Richter was determined to go ahead on the project so that UCSD could reap the significant financial benefits from such a centralized system.
Finding the Right Partner for Process Automation Project
Finding a company that had the multidisciplinary expertise to create a total customized solution proved to a significant challenge. UCSD eventually found BetterBuilt who was best suited to take on the challenge. Despite automation being a common offering among other vendors in the life sciences industry, many of those systems rely on foundry robotics, which was not aligned with the original concept behind the project. According to Dr. Richter, “The concept behind the centralized facility relied heavily on process automation, where the system would be continuously processing, much like how a car wash operates.”
Finding an equipment vendor in the life sciences industry that would incorporate process automation posed a serious challenge according to Dr. Richter. “We were looking all over the place and had completely exhausted the opportunities within the industry. We even started looking outside the industry, calling on food processing plants that were using automation, salad processing factories, those kinds of things.” Although Dr. Richter knew of BetterBuilt as a longstanding equipment provider, he was unaware of the company’s capabilities in this space. However, after being introduced to Harry, BetterBuilt President, and speaking about the project, Dr. Richter felt confident about having the BetterBuilt team take on the job.
Flexibility, Communication, and Commitment Bring Custom Solution to Life
Since Dr. Richter’s idea for a centralized research support facility was a highly unique concept, the project’s success relied heavily on solid communication, a flexible approach, and a centralized team that could do it all, according to Dr. Richter. “Because of the complexity and scope of the project, it was really important that we found someone who could do as much of the work themselves as possible so we didn’t have to integrate multiple groups. And since this had never been done before, it required a lot of back and forth to develop. In terms of communication, BetterBuilt was timely, effective and incredible to work with on that level. They’ve also been an excellent partner in shaping the solution for us from day one. Because with the original concept, it required a lot of iteration and back and forth to develop, so that flexibility was also a critical piece for us. They didn’t automatically shut ideas down, but instead entertained possibilities and gave us continual feedback until we found the right solution. They’ve been an amazing partner and supportive the whole way through: in continuing directions, in new directions and with things that we’ve talked about in the past just being implemented now. It’s been incredible.”