We briefly discussed the concept of Lead Agency in our recent post Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket. In that article we defined Lead Agency as an alternative meetings management model that works well when your organization is interested in strategic sourcing and consolidated reporting, but may not be ready or able to consolidate logistical planning services. You may be wondering how it works and why it is of significant interest to life sciences organizations.
The answer is simple: The regulatory environment for life sciences organizations mandates that rules be explicitly followed. The consequences of non-compliance are significant and therefore, strict oversight is required. However, like other industry leaders in the life sciences space, can also find it difficult to consolidate suppliers and navigate change management. One way to implement compliance guard rails but take a softer approach to change management is with a Lead Agency model. This model provides an organization many of the benefits of a managed meetings program in an expedited manner including: strategic sourcing, audit and transparency reporting whilst still allowing the planning stakeholders an element of choice in supplier.
Strategic sourcing is incredibly important to life sciences companies because of their strict parameters around the types of venues that can be utilized when a healthcare professional is in attendance. Using a consolidated vendor means that a life sciences organization can feel confident its HCP policy is followed, while also reaping other traditional SMM benefits like leveraged spend, governance and risk management.
Having a Lead Agency service model also provides meeting stakeholders a degree of autonomy over their choice of partner for logistical planning. This is because in the Lead Agency model, logistical services can be performed by one of several “preferred” agencies, including the “lead agency”. Those preferred agencies are in turn called the “local agency” and can be made up of existing suppliers where strong relationships already exist (which in turn helps to drive stakeholder satisfaction and compliance).
The local agency is generally accountable for all logistical planning and execution related functions, including post-program invoice reconciliation and could even be tasked with honoraria payments and expense reimbursements. The Lead Agency consolidates reporting submissions. In turn, transparency reporting quality is greatly improved with this model because the data is reviewed for accuracy and formatting before it is submitted to the life sciences customer. As you can imagine, the benefits of this concept are amplified on a global stage.
When you take the best of a managed meetings program and allow for flexibility, its plain to see why life science organizations often take the lead.
Learn more about BCD M&E’s Life Sciences’ discipline here.
Written By Laura Konwinski, Sr. Director Global Compliance & Ben Hoeksma, Account Director
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