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laboratory informatics





with an hour of wasted product that has to be re-worked or even thrown out.’ ‘But [our LIMS] would trigger that


information automatically to the manufacturing system in real-time, so the process is stopped, adjusted or put on hold,’ he adds. Call believes that efficiency is also critical


to the food and beverage manufacturers of today, and again LIMS can help by connecting different instrumentation, and importantly, streamlining a process. ‘A laboratory may not have a LIMS, or may


be using Excel or an older form of LIMS, which involves typing a value several times before it goes into, say, a certificate of analysis,’ he says. ‘Our LIMS system removes the possibility of transcription errors and eliminates redundancy.’ Call also believes that a key aspect of any LIMS includes flexible reporting, be it a certificate of analysis, shiſt analysis, or weekly out-of-specification report. Laboratory managers typically require a customised document, and so-called dashboard views offer highly personalised information typically via a bar chart or scatter plot, so, for example, a product manager can assess sample turnaround. But on his travels across the food and


beverage industry, Call has also noticed very 8 SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING WORLD


real changes in consumer demands. ‘Tere was a time in the world of LIMS when everyone wanted to build their own system but now we’ve come back full circle,’ he says. ‘Today, every customer wants ‘out-of-the-box’ capabilities with configuration to ensure the system is upgradeable, but as little customisation as possible.’ Pointing to barcode labels, he says: ‘Tis is pretty standard technology nowadays, but a


LABORATORY


MANAGERS TYPICALLY REQUIRE A CUSTOMISED DOCUMENT


client might still want different-sized sample labels depending on what he or she is handling.’ Call also reckons queries over validation


from a regulatory point of view are rising, so much so, his company now offers pre- validation as part of its LIMS. ‘We can go through the complete CGMP validation and provide all the pre-validated documents based on our out-of-the-box product,’ he says. ‘I don’t think the food and drink industry


will ever be regulated as much as pharma,’ he adds. ‘But ultimately validation can take as


long as an actual LIMS implementation, so for time-critical processes, offering pre-validation is welcomed.’


Handling complaints Graham McGibbon from ACD/Labs is also seeing a strong demand for configurable LIMS, but for him, the biggest change for the industry has been public expectations. Just as laboratory managers now use myriad personal devices, such as laptops, tablets and iPads, to access a wealth of laboratory data in real-time, the general public also expects results instantly. ‘In the past, people knew that if they


registered a complaint, it could take weeks to receive a reply as such affairs could be complicated,’ he says. ‘But today the public has information at its fingertips, so has an expectation that a company also has information about its products at its fingertips,’ he says. So can today’s LIMS deliver? It’s clearly a


tall order, and as McGibbon adds: ‘Are public expectations realistic? Now that’s a good question.’ But realistic or not, without a doubt, public


expectations are making today’s LIMS all the more important to managers of laboratories worldwide, big and small.


@scwmagazine l www.scientific-computing.com


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