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The Francis Crick Institute Case Study

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The Challenge

"Consider the calibre of the scientists who are associated with one or other of the six organisations that make up the Francis Crick Institute, and you will understand the Crick environment,” says Andy. “You cannot put a price on some of the research carried out here. The safety and security of our documents and scientific materials when it’s out of our hands is paramount."

Frustrations? We’ve had a few. As a multi-sited organisation we were logistically challenged by:

  • up to 120 deliveries a day, with internal movements on top, not just of documents but lab equipment, chemicals, computers and furniture
  • lost parcels, lost time; disparate providers operating different tracking systems, combined with our manual inbounding process was open to error
  • unbalanced workload; lack of control over arrivals meant the team tended to be flat out for the first two hours of the day, then went through an unproductive afternoon lull impacting on resource planning
  • multiple providers; legacy sites, housing different parts of our now joinedup organisation, used different service providers with on-site document storage at one of them, the 42-acre Mill Hill, spread across a huge area, frustrating attempts at creating a secure audit trail.

“Our new building presents its own challenges, too. We work closely with Camden Council to make sure we meet our obligations to the local community and environment, one being a strict limit on delivery traffic and noise. As this ties in wholly with our aims to be a sustainably-run organisation, it is a challenge we are happy to take on in order to keep our carbon footprint and vehicle emissions as low as possible. But achieving compliance requires the right provider, with the right attitude and software to bring it all togetherand make it work.

The Restore Experience

“Our lightbulb moment came towards the end of 2014, when we wanted to start designing the logistics plan for the migration and the new building. The timing was perfect to set up services with a partner company that understood our need for secure automated tracking and auditing, the opportunity for multiple services, and a willingness to comply with our S106 agreement with Camden Council, covering restricted vehicular access and movement.

“Restore impressed with their solutions, their track record and their people. They offered one high-security delivery hub at Rainham in Essex, with a dedicated team and area at this facility just for us. With one delivery point it was easy to see how we could control the number and timing of deliveries. We have used this hub for inbounding and storing archive boxes of documents, furniture, lab equipment and other, classified, objects.

“Restore people, from account manager, to drivers and warehousing employees, are willing to take on any challenge and solve it. I had an instance where another supplier had let us down, leaving 50 pallets of furniture stuck on Felixstowe Docks under threat of being impounded. With just a few hours’ notice, the Restore team moved them into one of their high-security facilities and I could breathe easily again.

“But the biggest improvement to our working day came from automating our systems. In March 2015, Restore installed their FileTrak records management software, with a number of minor configurations to suit us while we were embedding the new ways of working at our Mill Hill and Lincoln’s Inn Fields legacy sites and in preparation for the migration to Brill Place. With a ‘bridge’ created to communicate seamlessly with the O’Neil’s software Restore use to run their facilities, we have a powerful tool to work with and immediately started to feel the benefits.

  • End-to-end inventory with fully auditable trail, including the ability to add photos of any damaged packages to a file, viewable at any time by any authorised employee, closes the gap for risk and helps us regain control
  • A specially configured QR on each package barcode which contains data specific to that item, is simply scanned by drivers, giving instant access tothe Crick’s logistics team and assisting with generating invoices from scan and delivery reports – again, superior security and control.
“While records management is not the main focus of our current work, we do store and manage an increasing number of archive boxes at Rainham and we’re confident that FileTrak is securely in place for when the time comes and records management is, of course, one of Restore’s huge strengths.”

The Results

“Our key concerns – regaining control and security – have been fully addressed. The security at Rainham and of the supply chain has been 100%, thanks to our streamlined, automated systems and to people who know and care about what they’re doing. Despite moving hundreds of thousands of packages over the past year or so, we’ve reduced the number of deliveries between our legacy sites, and into Brill Place, keeping carbon emissions low (as per our S106 agreement) and without a single loss. We have been impressed at Restore’s business agility and willingness to tailor their systems. Their people are responsible, interested and adaptable and have been invaluable at picking up the pieces when other suppliers have let us down.

“When we initiated the search for a Cross Dock services partner our aim was to choose a business for their synergies with the Crick – like-minded and providing further opportunities to partner in keeping our data and property safe and accessible. With Restore the value add is high as they are specialists in the areas we are interested in, such as reducing overheads, off-site storage and damage limitation.

“On a more personal level, Restore’s efficiency gave me the confidence to focus on designing my logistics plan ahead of the migration go-live, the logistics team’s workload is more balanced, and they’re more satisfied with their jobs. We’re very happy with the results from our service partners at Restore.”

5 reasons to choose Restore

Flexibility – with Restore as your outsourcing partner you can be sure we will listen to what you want, then deliver it.

Nationwide – we offer a truly national service with a range of document handling choices – and we’re still growing.

Complete information lifecycle – from Cloud data back-up where information is available at the touch of a button, to near storage document management where information is accessible within hours, to deep, specialised storage of archive papers, we make sure you have what you want, when you want it and where you want. And, at the end of your information’s life, we dispose of it efficiently, responsibly, securely.

Control – by handing responsibility for security, logistics and compliance to Restore you are effectively taking back control over your information. You can rely on us to work in partnership with you, caring for your information in dedicated, approved facilities right across the UK.

Feel the benefits – we give excellent value for money, timely communications that are tailored to your needs, professional and experienced staff at every level – no wonder our customers will tell you that moving to Restore is ‘the best decision you’ll ever make’!

Supporting statement from David Clark, Head of Security at the Francis Crick Institute

“The Francis Crick Institute (the Crick) is a Scientific Research Centre with a highly complex suite of requirements for deliveries to and from all of its locations. Restore provides the Crick with a full Cross Dock delivery service across four exceptionally busy London locations. Not only does the Crick have a high demand for a swift, effective,detailed and considered plan for its deliveries, on a daily basis we have a large number of highly sensitive goods and materials that require transportation. Due to the nature of some of our research, the Crick also has a number of security demands from its delivery service.

“Restore meets the delivery and security demands of the Crick on a daily basis; delivery schedules are planned well in advance and, to date, there has been an unprecedented near 100% success rate for successful deliveries made to all Crick locations. For context, a delay of an hour or two for a critical delivery could impact years of research. Service of this high level is exactly what is required by the Crick and enables our scientific research to continue without disruption. Restore has also demonstrated a strong capability. Without their support, we would not be able to facilitate our scientists in achieving their aims so readily, the service the Crick receives from Restore is commendable and sets a high standard which should be the envy of the industry.”

Business Sector
Academia/Medical Research

The Francis Crick Institute


Named after one of the UK’s greatest scientists, who co-discovered the structure of DNA, the Francis Crick Institute was founded as a joint project back in 2007 and has, until September this year, been based at a number of sites in and around London. The institute is a unique partnership of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations – the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, University College London, Imperial College London and King’s College London. Fifteen hundred people work at the institute, 1,250 of them scientists.

Right now, the institute is in the process of migrating into a state-of-the-art building located in Brill Place, between St Pancras Station and the British Library in the Borough of Camden. By January 2017 it will be the largest biomedical research laboratory under one roof in Europe and discoveries made there will speed up the development of treatments for major diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Client Feedback

"Restore people, from account manager, to drivers and warehousing employees, are willing to take on any challenge and solve it. I had an instance where another supplier had let us down, leaving 50 pallets of furniture stuck on Felixstowe Docks under threat of being impounded. With just a few hours’ notice, the Restore team moved them into one of their high-security facilities and I could breathe easily again"

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They are solution driven, which makes them innovators, and they invest beyond the award of contract. Their people are interested in what we do at the Crick and are true service partners. I couldn’t recommend them more highly

Andy Steele Logistics Manager, Francis Crick Institute