The benefits in using a dedicated tool for managing the resources of the laboratory are multiple. In summary, those benefits most directly impact the efficiency of the laboratory production.
Our customers feedback confirms it, even from the experience of the implementation phase.
During the initial phase of the system configuration, they sometime start realising redundancies, level of complexity of some workflows which most of the time is directly related to poor harmonization amongst sites. Once the team is working together in aligning their processes, they also see how it considerably helps in stimulating the move to change; not only for adapting a new digital tool but also because there is a new sense of urgency in aligning their work and thus the quality of data they generate.
In a second step, while using a laboratory resource management system such as the Optima LRMS, the laboratory managers have a clear visibility of over-allocation risks. Acknowledging those risks allows proactive redistribution of assigned tasks, this as a short-term solution, to the point of identifying potential instruments breakdown for example and anticipate alternative solutions…
The most appreciated by the laboratory managers and directors are the informative reports generated from the ongoing work, that they see will support their negotiations for future investments.
When we asked what the Optima System should bring to their business, these are the most listed expectations: Scheduling, Planning, Booking, Forecasting and Reporting.
One would tend to believe that some are synonyms of the same, yet they appear to have concrete definitions to us and our users, and as such they are the expected benefits.
1º Benefit in using a LRMS: Automated Scheduling
Managing the resources of a laboratory, to deliver the expected results in a given timeframe, implies the use of multiple spreadsheets, align test parameters requests with available operative instruments, align test series with people competencies, their working shift and personal agendas. Optima LRMS is expected to assign automatically while taking in consideration all this type of information. As such, the scheduler´s time is focused on final approval and potential manual editing if needed.
2º Benefit in using a LRMS: Planning
Planning is a first and foremost managerial function and as such it provides the base for other functions of the management, i.e., organising, staffing, directing, and controlling. It focuses on defining the goals of the laboratory production, identifying alternative courses of action, and deciding the appropriate action plan, which is to be undertaken for reaching the goals.
For every project, big or small, at short or long term, planning is a must to deliver expected results to reach a specific milestone or comply with an important customer contract.
Optima supports the planning and ahead thinking by facilitating different types of reports as preferred by the user.
3º Benefit in using a LRMS: Booking
Anticipating the needs of a lab space or a specific instrument and making sure this will be available when required is one of the key benefits that our users see too.
This is used within different type of approaches according to the users’ characteristics. In some situation a dedicated space lab shares its most high-tech instruments to the rest of the organisation. Responsible for the full correct functioning of those instruments, the access to them is purely through booking the available slots.
In other situation, the lab manager anticipates a bunch of samples to arrive and book the relevant technicians and instruments to guarantee the right level of focus when needed.
Ultimately, booking can be used in routine manner. Whichever is the industry that the laboratory company belongs too, there is typically in their daily work on going routine that never stops to which a given % of technician and / or instruments could be booked by default in long term manner.
4º Benefit in using an LRMS: Forecasting
Frequently used in sales processes and much less in life science laboratories, however some industries like industrial automation used this term also in the laboratory.
Forecasting is a systematic and scientific estimation of future demand for a product. Applied to the laboratory, it is an estimation of which amount of resources should be required according to the tendencies of the production.
There are several methods of demand forecasting applied in terms of; the purpose of forecasting, data required, data availability and the time frame within which the demand is to be forecasted. Each method varies from one another and hence the forecaster must select that method which best suits the requirement.
Optima LRMS facilitate all type of information and supports the statistical methods that are preferred and considered superior to other techniques of demand forecasting.
5º Benefit in using an LRMS: Reporting
Visualization of all generated information while using Optima LRMS is done through the reporting tool that it offers. From all above mentioned, the information generated by the activities stored within Optima are tracked and reported back for multiple usage.
Additionally, to the parameters set for perfect scheduling, other parameters that we use to call “report only” are going along side with the “scheduling” ones.
Then it is about the user to define the report content and frequency of the status review. Some are used daily to verify the perfect on-going of the laboratory production, others are used monthly, quarterly, and yearly to monitor the key performance indicators.
Lats but not least, as mentioned initially, one key report that is easily extracted from the using Optima supports lab managers and directors in their budget review meetings. Moreover, labs responsible empowered with data are now contributing with more visibility to the company business goals.
These are the five key reasons why you should implement Optima LRMS in your lab, but surely, they are not the only ones. Every company has its own needs, and these can be fully analysed to outline the solution that fit the purpose.
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