Advancements in Efficiencies
by Neal Salerno, President, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories
Throughout our long history as a pre-eminent testing laboratory, the team at Eurofins has strived to make the customer experience the best in the industry. To provide quicker turnaround time and unprecedented levels of service, our processes and workflows must be efficient. When I first joined the company, I made it a point to visit the individual labs to observe the workflow with my primary goal to identify areas we could improve. Additionally, I was looking for ways to create a better work environment for employees. Through this experience, I established some great working relationships with our employees and saw that some areas could be streamlined dramatically.
There are a lot of creative, innovative, scientific minds here, and every day when I ask, “how can we do it better, faster, more efficiently and economically,” the hands go up with ideas. Through much collaboration with Lancaster’s best and brightest, I’m proud to share some of the ways we are advancing our efficiencies to create a great place to work for our employees as well as improve project responsiveness, TAT, safety, data delivery and quality, at a competitive price for clients.
Here are a few examples of lean advancements through lab improvements to enhance our operations and interactions with clients:
- Operations Redesign-Engaging and collaborating with our analysts performing the testing to determine operationally where they need testing steps to be-from sample administration/pickup to glassware and chemical storage to instrumentation- has been the most beneficial and effective way to begin process improvements.
- Thoughtful Laboratory Layout Planning-Utilizing 3D imaging prior to construction, we are able to realistically envision the leanest lab design and workflow that streamlines the lab footprint, increases capacity, and ensures a more efficient, safer and pleasant work environment.
- Safety-With these laboratory transformations we’ve seen a marked improvement in safety through reduced incident rates. Last year we launched our Safety is our Science campaign which was developed and widely embraced by employees.
- Improved Data Quality-To achieve our stringent quality metrics goals and provide data our clients can trust, continuous improvements in the labs is ongoing and essential. In addition to improving the physical lab designs, we invest significantly in extremely precise instrumentation and supporting systems, including eLIMS-BPT and Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN). Our LIMS primary operating software-from quotation to electronic sample submission forms to final report-has undergone a major transformation to improve our customer satisfaction. Further, providing a harmonized way to record and review data, ELN helps to safeguard compliance, ensures consistency from test to test, and reduces time needed for experiment entry, review and approval.
- Streamlining Data Delivery & TAT-Real-time data reviewers and quality assurance staff are on standby to ensure data is accurate and expedited to clients via Analytical Reports, Data Packages and LabAccess.com. With these modifications, we’ve tracked a reduction in our turnaround times and a significant rise in our level of quality. Having data reviewers on board during the testing allows mistakes to be caught as they happen and corrected immediately, which resulted in reduced operator related exceptions by 12% in 2017.
- Pleasant Workspace for Teams- Likely one of the most gratifying aspects of our process improvements is giving the people who perform these tests every day the training, tools and workspace that enables them to thrive in their jobs. The goal with our Lean initiatives is when samples arrive, analysts have everything they need at their immediate disposal-samples, reagents, ELN, equipment, real-time data reviewers and QA, etc.-to get quality results to clients in the most timely and cost-effective manner.
As a best in class operation, we are changing the game, leaving no stone unturned and upgrading our laboratories at a feverish pace. This is such an obvious small price to pay when the ROI is a more productive and happier workforce, more modern and efficient workspace, and impressed clients appreciative of a partner willing to initiate change to improve services to advance drug development. We are advancing our efficiencies to help our clients make the world healthier and safer; we are testing for life.