Newsletter Archive >> Fall 2010 >> The secret to our success

The secret to our success

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by Timothy Oostdyk, Ph.D., executive vice president and COO

As we celebrate our 50th year in business, I am proud of how Lancaster Laboratories has evolved over the past five decades. Since our founder, Earl Hess, started the company in 1961 with two employees and a small, 2,500-square-foot building in rural Lancaster County, PA, the company has developed into a world-wide leader in laboratory services with more than 1,100 employees and facilities totaling more than 260,000 square feet.

We have sustained the economic and market pressures that the past 50 years have brought and have emerged stronger and more focused than ever. In fact as I have travelled throughout the world, I have been continually impressed by the extent of our reputation and the strength of the Lancaster Laboratories’ brand.

People often ask me, “What’s your secret?” The answer is somewhat simple, really. We value our employees, listen to our clients and embrace innovation.

We value our employees.

We recognize and appreciate that our people really do make all the difference. Without intelligent, dedicated and talented team members, Lancaster Labs could never be as successful as we are today. With more than 1,100 scientists, lab technicians and support staff, we hire some of the most well-known experts in their fields and invest in continuous training for our employees. Providing employees with meaningful and challenging opportunities, a positive, team-oriented atmosphere and family-friendly benefits results in satisfied employees. And in this business, satisfied employees are absolutely critical to performing quality work and providing the best possible service to our clients.

Our commitment to our staff is evidenced by our employees’ loyalty. We have an extremely low turnover rate for our industry, and an impressive 16 percent of our staff have been with us for 20 years or more. (This year I was very pleased to mark 25 years with Lancaster Laboratories.)

We listen to our clients.

What started as a small, local agricultural testing lab serving rural Lancaster County, PA, has now become a world leader in providing laboratory services. Over the years, we’ve consistently listened to what our clients wanted. We branched out into various markets and expanded our service offerings geographically. We paid attention to the external factors surrounding our business, identified new potential client bases to serve and acted on their needs.

To meet the increasing demand for our services, we expanded our Lancaster facility 11 times, and established a European facility in Ireland. We have also placed our scientists in client facilities throughout the US and Europe.

Recognizing a need to become more flexible in the way our clients work with us, we developed five service models from which clients can choose. Whether it’s a typical fee-for-service price structure, assigning an in-house team dedicated to a specific client project or placing our fully-trained staff members in a client’s facility, we have adapted our service models to fit the needs for virtually any client or project type.

We embrace innovation.

Since the beginning in 1961, Lancaster Laboratories has been defined by applying scientific innovation and technology to solving client challenges. It’s in our DNA. It’s what gets us excited. Innovation in our business can take many different forms. It can be applying the highest powered mass spectrometers in the world to characterize a complex biologic. It can be rapidly developing leading edge techniques to support emergency response actions. It can be utilizing equipment automation along with labor saving IT solutions to enable us to deliver highly cost competitive testing services. It can be meeting with regulatory agencies to help negotiate a path forward for our clients.

In the last three years we have invested more than $25 million of capital into our business. These ongoing investments enable us to continue to provide you with the most innovative scientific solutions.