Situation

A specialty chemical company wanted to maintain its growth and market position by upgrading manufacturing assets. A multisite operations analysis revealed that each used different laboratory information management systems (LIMS), enterprise resource planning systems (ERP), and manufacturing execution systems (MES). The lack of systems integration hurt both quality and productivity.

Management developed a plan to increase operations productivity, quality, and speed by standardizing LIMS, ERP, and MES across the enterprise. To standardize across sites and automate certificate of analysis (CoA) generation, the client selected Thermo Scientific™ SampleManager LIMS™ and Epicor 9 ERP/MES. The LIMS team engaged CSols to migrate legacy LIMS data, implement the new LIMS, and interface the new LIMS to Epicor 9.

Objectives

  • Harmonize and optimize operations and quality processes and procedures
  • Standardize the LIMS and ERP/MES across the organization
  • Increase laboratory throughput and manufacturing productivity
  • Improve reporting and data sharing among multiple departments
  • Optimize product grading process and thereby increase the amount of on-spec product
  • Standardize and automate CoA generation

Challenges

  1. Unique requirements definition needs: the client was well-versed in laboratory informatics systems, but needed a tailored approach to gathering functional and user requirements related to the existing systems
  2. Static data migration: methods, analyses, and specifications as well as custom attributes fields from the legacy LIMS did not align with the database table structure in the new LIMS
  3. Systems integration timing: the Epicor 9 implementation was delayed, pushing back the LIMS project

CSols’ Role in the Solution

  • SampleManager LIMS implementation:
    • Assessed existing Beckman LabManager LIMS
    • Developed baseline requirements and workflows
    • Verified assessment and requirements findings with the key stakeholders
    • Developed and delivered final requirements, workflow, and design documents
    • Developed LIMS functionality to support product grading
    • Configured existing functionality to support
      • Environmental scheduling and testing
      • Statistical quality control (SQC) monitoring
      • CoA generation
    • Leveraged rapid prototyping methodology to deliver, vet, and adjust multiple SampleManager LIMS™ prototypes
    • Fully documented the final LIMS configuration
    • Executed unit and system testing of SampleManager LIMS
    • Trained system administrators in the as-built LIMS configuration
  • Migration of Beckman LabManager LIMS to SampleManager LIMS:
    • Mapped tables and fields between the two LIMS
    • Exported existing LabManager LIMS data and uploaded data to SampleManager LIMS
    • Manually transferred database logic exceptions
  • Integration of SampleManager LIMS v11.1 to Epicor 9:
    • Interfaced Epicor 9 to LIMS to automate lot and in-process sample login and results reporting
    • Executed unit and system testing of the integration
    • Documented the interface development

Benefits

  • Harmonized and optimized processes and systems for increased product quality and manufacturing throughput
  • Increased data integrity due to the preservation of legacy LIMS data
  • Eliminated risks associated with the no-longer-supported Beckman LabManager LIMS
  • Increased batch production speed and quality via LIMS-ERP/MES integration
  • Increased profits due to faster and more accurate product regrading process
  • Increased product release and overall productivity via report and CoA automation
  • Improved regulatory compliance for environmental samples

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