Situation

A leading multinational chemical manufacturer was ready to retire a 20-year-old Honeywell LIMS that supported work requests, formulations management, and results reporting for its R&D technology centers in Canada and the United States. The company also used paper records and a variety of point solutions to complete R&D work. Capturing, manipulating, and reporting complex data sets was not feasible with the existing tools. Management engaged CSols, Inc. to assist the laboratory teams with selecting a new laboratory informatics solution and developing an informatics plan and road map for the new IT landscape.

Objectives

The client’s first aim was to define the business and laboratory needs and establish a laboratory informatics strategic plan and roadmap. With a viable plan for the technology centers’ needs, they could select a new system with the required features and functionality with confidence. The new solution needed to be robust and extensible to support work requests, lab process automation, and IP protection; reduce IT costs, increase lab efficiency; and control reporting, including private and confidential data reporting.

Challenges

  1. Honeywell LIMS knowledge and support concentrated at one site
  2. An unusually broad patchwork of solutions deployed at various levels of effectiveness across multiple sites
  3. A wide variety of workflows, scientific disciplines, and data needs existed at each technology center
  4. Existing laboratory practices and processes were suboptimal, limiting the level of automation attainable in some labs
  5. Existing IT architecture and infrastructure was dated and not reliable
  6. Limited internal understanding of modern LIMS capabilities
  7. Existing bias toward using SAP QM in all laboratories

CSols’s Role in the Solution

CSols strategic team provided informatics strategic planning and selection services:

  • Delivered a LIMS primer presentation to bring stakeholders up to speed on modern laboratory informatics
  • Assessed business, IT, and technology center requirements and performed a gap-fit analysis
    • Showed that SAP QM could support QC operations but was not a good fit for the technology centers
  • Developed current and future state process maps and conducted workshops to confirm the client’s requirements and the proposed path forward
  • Managed the request for proposal (RFP) process
  • Assisted the client selection team with the quantification of RFP responses
  • Managed the vendor demo process
    • Developed vendor demonstration scripts
    • Assisted the client with the vendor demonstrations
    • Quantified the results for each vendor
  • Provided process improvement guidance
  • Performed Informatics strategic analysis
  • Delivered a three-year strategic road map

Benefits

  • The selection of a LIMS solution was confidently made with help from the CSols’s LIMS primer
  • Lab efficiency gains were quickly realized as the lab teams executed the recommended process improvements
  • The new commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) LIMS lowered overall IT costs
  • The new solution required fewer client resources to maintain and support than the heavily customized Honeywell LIMS
  • Acknowledged reduction in IT, scientific, and IP risks with a single COTS solution as compared with many point solutions
  • Increased collaboration and improved search with a single, centralized database for all the technology centers
  • Reduced reliance on paper to execute and report lab work

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