Preparing and sharing meaningful KPIs related to the lab performance is often a challenge for lab managers
This challenge can be overcome, with the help of a lab resource scheduler.
Laboratories are a huge repository of data for companies; hence, they are a priceless asset.
It is well-known that the generation of data is a pretty expensive activity, and in order to make sure laboratories can produce high quality data, it is important to keep the performance at its highest levels.
The performance of a lab itself can be measured by keeping track of the most meaningful KPIs: this, although being a core aspect of a lab, is often a challenge for managers.
Downtime and response time, SLA compliance, turnaround time, accuracy and precision of data are just some of the KPIs a lab manager has to deal with on a daily basis.
On top, resources-related KPIs are also vital in a lab, to track the way teams are performing and define how they should improve in order to excel.
Although the analysis of data associated to resources is considered one of the most critical KPIs, it is not always easy to track and measure it: many laboratories still make use of stickers on the wall, flipcharts, excel files, which make the analysis hard and inaccurate.
Not an easy task, hence not a simple life, for lab managers.
However, the answer to an accurate and precise analysis is simpler than expected and it lies in a lab resource scheduler, a system that allows laboratories to analyze resource allocations as well as any other KPIs of the lab itself, track the overall lab performance and, as a consequence, guarantee efficiency.
A lab resource scheduler in the elaboration of the elapsed time: a focus on a hot topic for labs
As an example, let’s elaborate on the elapsed time. It measures the difference between the time that the sample is received in the lab and the time that the final report is created. This is supposed to be the total amount of the time that lab needs to process the analysis related to the sample. As a matter of fact, this information is considered a critical KPI as the customer (external or internal) are sending samples to the laboratory with the expectation to receive the results back as soon as possible. Therefore, this KPI can be easily used to evaluate the lab performance and its potential improvements. On the other hand, this KPI is too broad to allow the lab managers to understand where the areas of improvements are; for this reason, it is absolutely necessary to split the elapsed time in all the small tasks that a lab performs.
The faster the better – is it really true? Track the right parameters with a lab resource scheduler
“The faster the better” is the motto driving to the evaluation of this parameter. Reality is that the changes to this parameter (possibly as an improvement over time) are very limited. The fluctuations are not significant and may not even give a clear indication of the reasons why the value is changing.
The choice to focus on a parameter like the overall elapsed time to complete the activities is not by accident. The reality is that the systems used in the laboratories are not capturing more detailed information. Therefore, this type of KPI is possibly one of the few that can be extracted from systems like LIMS, ELN, ERP, etc.
Typically, these systems are storing only one parameter in the related configuration. It is the “analysis time” or something similar. Therefore, the laboratory is forced to introduce a lumpsum figure that does not represent the reality of the complex process to run a test.
Only by collecting the information about the different steps performed to complete a test a laboratory is really able to identify where the bottlenecks are and where most of analyst and instrument’s time are consumed.
Keep track of time and much more, with Optima lab resource scheduler
Optima is a lab resource scheduler that allows lab managers to keep track of time in a precise and accurate way, so that they can get a clear analysis of how the time of resources (people and tools) is allocated.
Planning and scheduling of activities are known to be critical areas in laboratories, and managers often fail to evaluate the current workload of their teams, the resource availability and have troubles in monitoring achievements and improvements, making it hard to optimize the lab’s activities.
A lab resource scheduler such as Optima provides lab managers a simple solution to a complex challenge: a single platform, able to replace hundreds of excel sheets and endless meetings arranged to try and plan the allocation of resources, that can simplify the people’s life in a lab and can generate an incredible cost saving.