Too often the message coming to the laboratories in manufacturing companies is that they are being considered as a cost center from upper management. As a result, Lab managers find themselves forced to focus in justifying their costs. Consequently, their energy and time are defocused from investing in the lab added values for the company.
From Black Box to Smart Box
While the upper management has the profit and lost balance in their mind, the laboratory manager needs to find a way to get their attention to discuss technologies and expertise’s required to accomplish their valuable part of the business.
Laboratories are far too important for manufacturing companies not to battle against that perception of “black box” and find a way to advance clear facts and numbers.
Best way to approach the upper management is with facts
The one-man band Laboratory
In manufacturing companies, the laboratories tend to wear multiple hats. In other words, their internal customer come from different departments with their own test requirements, timing, and urgencies. This, without mentioning the external customer feedbacks that could lead to complaints to investigate. All those activities and their corresponding outcome and impact on the business need to be made visible.
Continuous support to the Got to Market speed needs
From production there is a perfectly planned number of sample sets to be analysed in order to validate the quality of the finished products. The laboratory really needs to be aligned with the production rhythm. As such the instrumental, analytical and management resources of the laboratory should be available to ease the release of the new batches to the market. Some laboratories might even be more involved along the manufacturing process, verifying the raw material quality, intermediate products, packaging and labelling and running stability studies.
This applies for basically all manufacturing companies irrespectively to their corresponding industry. Laboratory managers and team invest lot of time and energy to ensure that the necessary resources are available.
While the resource scheduling of the routine testing tends to be handled within a 2-week plan. It could be easily programmed with a longer-term perspective by pre-booking instruments and analysts. Options for prebooking could be, or to assign instruments and analysts exclusively to this quality control responsibilities, or to assign only a given percentage. For some laboratories, the last option would offer more flexibility with a team of people with broader range of competences.
When using the Optima Laboratory Resource Management System , the resources availability can easily be shared with the stakeholders and a programmed report – quarterly basis for example – can provide useful information to adjust the percentage assigned and adjust to the production rhythm.
Continuous Support to Customer Care
Once the finished product is in the hand of its customers, complaints raise up time to time and need to be adequately processed according to the quality management system in place.
The laboratory is requested to investigate and run the relevant tests to assess the complaint severity which might have an impact back to the manufacturing process and raw material assessment.
In this sense, the laboratory can´t really predict the amount of effort, unless a statistical analysis of previous complaints can be built up and facilitate such information.
When using the Optima Laboratory Resource Management System, statistical report can easily be extracted after a while of data entries and provide a fair assessment of the overall quality of a product or more specifically a given batch.
Continuous support to the Product Development Strategy
Some companies invest a considerable amount of energy to remain competitive and approach new markets. The projects that are in the product development team hands can rank from pure research and innovation such as new material studies to development for features enhancement and to analysis of competitors too.
From the laboratory perspective, those requests are to be handled more from a project point of view with phases and milestones. The project follows phases with specific Go Gates moments that determine whether it goes ahead or proven not worse the investment.
When using the Optima Laboratory Resource Management System , those projects can easily be pre-booked in advance over several month or years perspective. While reaching the dates of specific milestones, fine tuning is made to balance the everyday activities and product development priorities.
All in all, Optima LRMS is providing non only a platform to coordinate resources but overall a powerful reporting capabilities that enable the lab mangers with factual arguments when seating at managerial meetings.
The Laboratory becomes a cornerstone for decision-making to support the business decisions within the company!
Contact us to dive deeper into Optima LRMS, its capabilities and how it can ease your life in the lab and optimises your work