Digital transformation in quality assurance labs is much more than a technology direction. It has become a leading factor for the survival of businesses across every processing industry in every market in the world.
Processors in the chemicals industry, in response to competitive and customer pressures, are rapidly incorporating the shift to digital. They are investigating different technologies with the hope of driving new data methods to be flexible, competitive, and more profitable.
With that said, getting the full benefit out of a digital transformation effort, requires the ability to manage and gain value from massive amounts of real time data, sourced and shared throughout the organization.
Quality Assurance Paper to Digital
Data completeness and integrity should support the functions and operating standards of any Quality Assurance – Quality Control (QA-QC) operation. By implementing a comprehensive, intelligent information infrastructure the job becomes less daunting and much more accurate.
Today’s high-end labs need to acquire and channel analytical data directly from measurement and testing instrumentation, offer advanced analytics to support trend identification, and highlight nonconformity and out-of-specification results.
Reducing reliance on paper-based processes, log books and reports can help to improve data security, accuracy and integrity. Errors are almost inevitable when manual data entry is involved.
“20% to 40% of spreadsheets contain errors” – Journal of Organizational and End User Computing.
Also, having a lab solution that offers digital quality assurance support for key systems means analysts do not have to transcribe results from an instrument panel onto paper or from paper to another manual medium. This helps to ensure data integrity and minimizes errors, but also eliminates data redundancy.
Support for BI and ERP integration is crucial.
Digital Quality Assurance Value Add
1.) Software platforms today can also provide additional day-to-day housekeeping operations, from scheduling instrument calibration and maintenance, to linking to reagent and consumables inventory, and keeping on top of operator training and permissions.
2.) Quality intelligence software solutions can be configured to provide key points of automation for a majority of the Quality assurance laboratory’s critical processes. The software can generate calculations, reports, workflows, alerts and reminders.
3.) A key ingredient to achieving end-to-end assurance of data integrity through traceability of associated processes related to sample or batch, combined with secure sample management capabilities, audit trail, electronic signatures, chain of custody and instrument integration.
A Proactive Approach
Using QA-QC software solutions are proactive, rather than reactive, and focus their time on value added tasks, while minimizing or completely negating reliance on manual and paper-based processes and systems.
They can allow managers to oversee the health of their lab, and drill down into operational data to gain greater insights, spot trends, and identify the root cause of negative trends, which supports impact assessment and aids faster decision making.
It should also be noted that the most valuable asset of any lab is its personnel, of course. Allowing people to get on with their primary roles, rather than spend time manually entering, handling and managing data to ensure compliance, further helps to maximize efficiency and make the most of the processor’s human pool of talent.
While change is always hard for everyone involved in a digital “upgrade” the end-results are very much worth it today and for the future in safety and a companies bottom line.