Procurement Consolidation Efforts: How Global and Local Vendors can Co-Exist

welocalize May 31, 2022

Working with third-party service providers has been an essential driver of productivity, efficiency, and growth in the life sciences industry. Language services unlock the doors for pharmaceutical companies providing access to an international audience. Organizations within the life sciences industry have the opportunity to not only improve patient experiences by targeting them in their local language, but also enhance their internal processes by streamlining approval to market products overseas, manage their clinical trials effectively, and oversee patient safety. In a highly regulated environment, procurement has the responsibility to choose solid providers that guarantee ISO certified workflows and security. That’s why it’s important for procurement leaders to scrutinize potential partners before signing a new agreement or onboarding a new vendor.

When it comes to selecting a language service support model, life sciences companies often have several options to consider; be it the department, whether to centralize or decentralize, as well as the decision between local and global vendors.


Local Vendors

Local language service providers are companies primarily based in your target market. They are generally smaller than global companies in terms of scale and tech, but they do offer some advantages for life sciences organizations.

Pros of Local Vendors

Here are the pros of working with local language service providers:

  • Ensure regulatory standards compliance. Local vendors usually are identified with the concept of being more familiar to the regulatory standards at play when promoting products in the target region. But in the end, this is not unique to them.
  • Advantage of proximity. If a pharmaceutical company has an office in its target market, working with a nearby local vendor enables closer collaboration.
  • Shared culture and language. This directly benefits communication in consultations, technical agreements, and vendor evaluations.
  • In-market expertise. A local vendor understands the nuances of the target market and can recommend adjustments to materials as appropriate. Likewise, global vendors can also achieve the same results through their access to local linguists and subject-matter-experts (SMEs).

Cons of Local Vendors

The number of local language service providers is growing worldwide. However, for the majority, the increasing demand for their services doesn’t translate to rapid operational and technological improvements, leading to a couple of disadvantages:

  • Smaller volumes. The lack of growth in local vendors curbs their capacity to scale their workforce. As a result, they sometimes provide slower turnaround times on top of limited availability.
  • Limitations in tech. Without the means to develop proprietary applications for translation projects, working with a local vendor isn’t always convenient. Not all of them have access to computer-assisted translation tools or translation management systems to boost operational efficiency.
  • Data security. The lack of firewalls or any international certification such as the ISO/IEC 27001 for information security management. Local providers are less likely to have the required data security systems in place, in comparison to a global vendor offering a more robust and security-focused process.
  • Hidden costs. Working with several local vendors under one project can generate duplications in fees meaning that total costs can drastically increase.


Global Vendors

Global language service providers cater to an international audience. They may work out of centralized offices or operate multiple offices distributed across key locations.

Pros of Global Vendors

Here are the pros of using global language service providers:

  • Proprietary technologies. The scale of global vendors enables them to develop and use proprietary technologies for their translation services, for example machine translation (MT) engines.MT engines can automate the localization and translation process, removing the element of human error in pharmacovigilance translations, and facilitating seamless implementation of your patient-centric approaches across languages and markets.
  • Work closer to home. Global agencies, like Welocalize, have offices all over Asia, Europe, and the Americas. This gives companies the ability to consult with a nearby office while using the in-market knowledge and expertise of their foreign branches.
  • More efficient project timelines. Working with a global agency accelerates the completion of translation projects, maximizing a global network of linguists, with a follow-the-sun approach, different teams across multiple time zones can work on the same project. Not to mention, their better-equipped, larger teams can handle bigger volumes of projects without compromising quality.
  • More language options. A global agency can help you with life sciences translations in multiple languages. Rather than working with multiple partners for global distribution, you can work with one to streamline communication and project completion.
  • Better quality assurance. Global vendors leverage a large network of SMEs. For the life sciences industry, this provides access to a network of medical translation professionals equipped with linguistic proficiency and medical knowledge. SMEs also ensure that regulatory standards are adhered to and have access to the resources required to implement more thorough, accurate, and effective quality assurance processes.
  • Access to in-market reviewers. With access to globally distributed offices, global vendors have access to in-market reviewers, ready to provide target market expertise on demand, accessible life sciences companies when lacking the required expertise internally in a given language.

Cons of Global Vendors

Hiring global vendors gives companies in the life sciences industries a better shot at navigating the challenges of global translations and pharmacovigilance. However, the opportunities that global vendors provide come at a higher price.

While global vendors offer competitive translations, and larger scale cost efficiencies on hidden costs, local service providers can bend and stretch their packages to fit smaller budgets.

On the flip side, international language services provide higher value for money. Alongside their access to a greater network of language professionals and proprietary technologies, global vendors effectively counteract the advantages of working with local translators.


Get the Best of Both Worlds = Welocalize

Both local and global language services have their own pros and cons. However, with the right global vendor, there’s no need to choose. If you need language services in the life sciences industry, Welocalize provides the benefits of both local and global agencies.

We are seeing a growing trend of global agencies onboarding local vendors to coordinate efforts, therefore making the translation process more efficient and providing the best of both worlds. Welocalize gives you everything a full-service, global language agency can provide. This is augmented with the in-market expertise of a global team, along with knowledge of local regulatory standards.


Work with Welocalize Life Sciences

If your organization is interested in partnering with a language services company that has ISO-certified processes and efficient communication practices, contact Welocalize Life Sciences.