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How Effective Chromatography Data Management Works

Problem: Research, QA/QC, and other laboratories ranging from large enterprise facilities to small analytical service centers are under increasing pressure to reduce costs and increase efficiency, productivity, and  quality. To reduce operating costs, lab managers know they must find ways to speed turn-around and maximize throughput. To improve productivity and quality, it’s essential for them to easily access information that will allow them to efficiently staff the laboratory, allocate assets, and optimize workflows while adhering to strict quality standards and ensuring regulatory compliance.

by Waters Corporation
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Continuous monitoring of critical instrument performance data through instrument dashboards enables managers to make faster business decisions to improve laboratory efficiency.Waters Corporation

While acquisition and utilization of state-of-the-art equipment plays a major role in the lab’s ability to achieve its objectives, the instruments must also be allocated properly. It is critical that the right instruments are available to the right scientists at the right time to maximize lab productivity.

In today’s modern lab employing liquid chromatography, terabytes of analytical and usage data from individual chromatographs are often generated daily, and there-in lies a productivity solution for the lab manager. These instruments actively gather and store information such as runtimes, usage, error messages, sample reruns, dates and times of usage. However, this gold mine of information is often out of reach of lab managers who may lack the means to collect and extrapolate useful metrics from the data.

Solution: The task of chromatography data management software is to convert detector signals into chromatographic peaks, integrate the area under peaks, report concentrations of analytes and assign identifications to the peaks. What laboratory managers may not realize, is that the software is capable of much more. For example, Waters Empower Chromatography Data Software comes with resource management tools and performs detailed lab analytics based on metadata collected by the software. The instrument performance data is captured and converted into customized visualizations and reports, such as resource utilization, laboratory workflow optimization, and more based on the lab’s specific goals and objectives. The tools assemble and display critical performance data that make it possible for managers to quickly and accurately determine how laboratory resources are being used. This information helps managers to identify problems and opportunities and make evidence-based decisions to increase laboratory efficiency.

Electronic dashboards provide up-to-the-minute, real-time performance information such as total number of injections, total run-times per analysis, number of days or hours in use, etc. Color-coded visuals summarize instrument usage patterns by the day or by the hour, making it possible to strategically plan resource allocation.

Resource management reports (RMR) analyze workflows by measuring the amount of time that passes from when an injection occurs, to when it was processed, to when it was signed off within the project. The RMR looks at the system audit trail and identifies who has access to which projects. Recommendations can be made that improve server performance by better data organization, archiving and controlling access to projects. Analyzing error messages categorized by date, message type, user, application and system can often identify areas that could be affecting the productivity of the system, providing the information that is needed to investigate and eliminate the root cause of the error.

By automatically consolidating laboratory performance data in an easy-to-view format, this new generation of laboratory analytics software can reveal insights into what is working and what is not, enabling lab managers to better optimize throughput, plan work schedules and manage workflows, and increase lab productivity.

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