The world has been watching as China leads the way in their recovery after being the first economy to be affected by the work disruptions arising from the pandemic. Production in most every city in China was severely limited in the February–March timeframe, resulting in delays throughout the manufacturing cycle.
When work began to resume in April and May, many businesses in China faced big challenges to make up for lost time. In many cases, there were contracts to fulfill that could result in breach and subsequent compensation requirements if the contract dates were not met. In the testing industry, this manifested as a cash flow problem that limited production capabilities in some cases.
Challenges and opportunities
As businesses opened back up, they needed to follow strict protocols—masks for employees, extra disinfecting routines, social distancing protections—requiring extra expense and time. At the same time, demand for testing grew, as did the urgency around fast turnaround. Testing companies needed to increase production capacity quickly in order to meet demand for a wide variety of needs, including COVID-19 ~ and catching up on quality control for food, environment, and manufacturing. In addition, there was new demand for instrumentation to support research into vaccine development.
There was an urgent need for capacity, speed, and accuracy; Agilent Technologies was ready to support this need.
Enter: Agilent instrument rental services
Agilent introduced analytical instrument rentals in China in early 2019 in order to provide alternative ways to fulfill unique business needs. This capability has enabled many businesses in China to access the technology they need to fill this year’s sharp increases in demand for testing and research.
One major lab in Hebei Province had accepted a national testing project, with many testing requirements and aggressive timelines. When the company began opening up in April, they faced extreme pressure to get the instruments they needed up and running quickly. The Agilent financial solutions specialist and local service manager met with the business leaders to understand their needs, evaluate requirements, and create an option suited to their needs. Agilent was able to provide 16 systems and install them quickly, complete with computer workstations and OpenLab CDS software to get them up and running.
Above: An empty lab awaits instruments
Agilent CrossLab ensures success
The Agilent CrossLab team supported the lab with expertise to ensure they were successful in fulfilling the needs of their project. The China Field Service Center delivered the instruments quickly after the contract was signed, and the team completed all installations within one week. Agilent University experts helped train new workers on using the instruments, and applications specialists provided the guidance to develop and run the applications. During the rental period, Agilent placed a dedicated CrossLab engineer on-site to provide maintenance and ensure optimal instrument performance. When the initial rental period ended, the client renewed and expanded the contract to include two additional instruments.
Above: The instruments are installed and training begins.
Agilent Financial Solutions
"We have expanded our Agilent Financial Solutions program (AFS) globally to provide alternative options to access technology other than cash purchases, and we have AFS specialists around the world," says Grant Konecny, director of AFS. "We are providing flexible solutions, including access to maintenance, applications, training, consumables, and consultative support that ensure our customers are successful in meeting their objectives." Agilent customers can explore various payment plans, leasing, subscription, or rental, as available in region. Today, the rental program is currently only available in China, but work is under way to introduce this option in other markets, including the US.