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What’s in Store for 2023 and Beyond

Ken KisnerAlbert Co-Founder Ken Kisner, industry veteran with over 30 years in Chemical and Materials Science, shares his thoughts about priorities and opportunities for our industry in 2023 and beyond.

Q: What do you see as front of mind for our industry going into 2023? 

A: Entering this year on the heels of coming out of the COVID pandemic, our industry has recognized that going back to business as usual in the pre-COVID years is not an option.  New demands on how to manage a more dispersed, diverse, and connected workforce is top-of-mind. Economic uncertainty also has been at the forefront of discussions within our industry, and the need to rethink spending. We see customers being conscious about new investments, focusing more on initiatives that deliver both measurable impact and savings to their bottom line.  (Such as Albert’s end-to-end R&D platform.)

Another area that continues to be a focus is how to increase speed to market. In order to meet the ongoing and fast-growing demands of customers, especially relative to inventing new materials, running a more efficient lab is critical. This includes collaborating in new and more effective ways.

Last, but not least, discussions around reducing risks relative to audit readiness and attracting and retaining high-value employees continue to grow and another reason why companies are seeking out Albert’s technology solution.

Q: Every day there is another news story about a company cutting back on spending and focusing on right-sizing their operations. Are you seeing this trend in the chemicals and materials science space?

We are seeing some constraints in the market. Most of the people we are speaking with, however, are not talking mass layoffs, but are taking more of a wait-and-see approach and being careful as we go into 2023. Some of these companies are mature, 100-year-plus entities that have long track records of consistently meeting customer demands. And others are small, even family-owned enterprises, that are two or three generations deep.

Then there are emerging companies that are newer entrants that are more at the forefront of technology adoption and are well-staffed thanks to venture capital money. We’ve seen it in solar, 3D printing and now there is a whole crop of new companies working on battery technology. While these companies may be impacted as well when faced with economic uncertainty, they are bit more protected as these newer entrants are often at the forefront of more efficiently collecting and leveraging data to speed up R&D, which is a different mindset than some of the more established competitors. So, regardless of size or stage of maturity, most competitors will need to focus on efficiency to perform well in 2023 and beyond.

Q: Regarding meeting the demands of a more distributed and diverse workforce, can you share thoughts on this?

Adopting new ways of working to meet the needs of a diverse workforce that is not necessarily all in the same lab, let alone building or even the same state or country, is key to ensuring more productive and efficient operations. Evolving lab processes and systems are also key to ensure companies remain competitive in attracting, retaining, and meeting the expectations of their employees.

For instance, new scientists entering the workforce expect state-of-the-art technology. They grew up absorbing information on their own and chafe at being constrained by outdated processes. Mid-career workers, for better or worse, are used to dealing with siloed systems and old school methodologies even when they suspect there may be better options. And of course, more experienced lab personnel, who often hold the accumulated lab know-how in their head, are often more aligned with existing practices and processes.

With Albert, we’ve seen great enthusiasm and adoption of our platform at all these career stages.  Especially when scientists see the benefits of what a seamless, end-to-end system can do to enable them to be more efficient, and better support what they love to do – innovate!

Q: And your comment about increased challenges surrounding regulatory compliances?

Since the ‘80s there has been a constant increase in compliance pressures on the chemical and material science industries. The expectation around ESG initiatives that large brand companies have for the safety of their employees, for the safety of their customers, and their expectations of being transparent throughout their processes have never been higher. We see the industry leading those regulatory efforts and expectations on sustainability as well.

Meeting and managing these initiatives directly correlate to the lab. Being able to innovate faster to meet rising compliance standards, as well as  provide key stakeholders R&D, operations, vendors, and customers the visibility and transparency needed at each stage of the development cycle is a game-changer. For instance, ensuring OSHA compliance within the lab by having readily available and up-to-date hazard information or easily generating legal labels that are GHS or DOT or IATA compliant for shipping.

Q: Going beyond 2023 what are the top trends you see? And what are you excited about?

The themes of “lab of the future” and “digital transformation” continue to resonate as those initiatives support meeting the current and future demands of our industry – and more importantly futureproof companies for years to come. The good news, at Albert we are able to help our customers expediate their journey to modernize their lab, in order to get to their end goals faster. And by doing so, translates to being more competitive, getting their teams to be more productive, and helping them invent the future faster.

“We designed our platform to support collaboration at scale, provide an amazing user experience, and most importantly, empower the users—scientists and their teams in the lab—to be more efficient and effective.”

Ready to Learn More?

To learn more about how scientists worldwide are accelerating innovation with Albert’s end-to-end R&D platform, join us at our next Coffee with Albert, contact us for a product demo, or read more on our solution pages.