After a year of pandemic impact on business, destinations and events are cautiously opening back up. One handy business pivot, however – the live virtual facility tour – is likely here to stay.
Over the years, we have welcomed numerous potential clients, current customers, regulatory agencies and guests for facility site tours. Prospective clients could gain an understanding of our operational performance. Existing clients could observe their programs being executed. Then came COVID-19. We found ourselves needing to shift almost overnight to conducting tours via different online platforms – and we’ve adapted to the new format with favorable outcomes.
The Metrics virtual experience allows guests who may not be able to travel due to COVID restrictions, scheduling and budget to attend from anywhere. Distance is no longer an obstacle. We bring our guests inside areas of our facility that are pertinent to their projects.
“Our clients can actually see more things because the ‘travel time’ to and from points of interest are reduced. We can pan in closer to important areas using multiple video sources and address any questions or concerns in real time,” says Brad Gold, VP of Pharmaceutical Development and regular tour host.
Our tours usually showcase our commercial manufacturing suites, our pre-commercial development areas, high potency handling suites, and our analytical testing and quality control labs. Specialty testing areas such as our metals testing lab and particle size testing area, our non-GMP pharmaceutical development labs, our commercial and pre-clinical packaging lines, and our warehousing and dispensing areas are also available to view. Subject matter experts from each of those areas lead those parts of the tour and are always ready to answer questions and explain processes. Depending on the client, tours can be customized to highlight areas specific to the program needs. Full facility tours usually run 90 minutes, allowing time for questions at each stop.
“Conducting the tours gives us a chance to share technical and scientific strengths of our group, infused with quality backdrop,” says Gold. “Clients can conduct a more comprehensive evaluation by having a larger team here at Metrics Contract Services on hand to highlight the particular areas in question. Clients can engage with support groups that are called out by primary (manufacturing and analytical) teams with immediacy.”
When the tour concludes, both sides can return to their business day. Virtual meetings eliminate the commute and lost hours of work. Further, it is easy to add in other colleagues at a moment’s notice.
Metrics strives to be innovative on behalf of clients and enhance their facility tour experience. Even as travel reopens, virtual meetings and tours will continue to serve as a resource for prospective clients who want to see our facility and for existing clients who want to observe their programs in action. The Metrics Business Development Executives, who schedule the virtual tours, have received positive response from clients who, by all accounts, hail the tours as thorough and informative.
Gold notes, “We aren’t trying to replace in-person visits, which always can be arranged in conjunction with COVID-19 safety protocols. The virtual tours serve as a complement to onsite tours. They are a way for our clients to engage with us and make decisions about partnering with Metrics.”