How LIMS can Improve your Food and Beverage Testing Lab

The data management challenge

A successful lab is more than a scientific hub, today, it is a digital data enterprise. A food and beverage lab tracking incubation in real time, a gas and oil lab managing hundreds of concurrent tests, a biobanking lab with a vast and complex inventory of samples – it is all data.

Day by day, and week by week, it grows exponentially. This creates an urgent requirement for an integrated informatics platform where that data can be stored, retrieved, and analyzed securely and efficiently.

Should that platform be one-size-fits-all across industries? A diagnostics lab requires advanced tracking of biospecimens, while a pharma lab must have regulatory documentation.

Traditionally, each would start with the same basic building blocks: a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) with standalone point solutions such as an Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN) or a Laboratory Execution System (LES) daisy-chained together in order to approximate an end-to-end solution.

Next, via a complex à-la-carte development and validation process, in response to their divergent needs, each one of these labs would customize their platform. This bulky deployment process represents an enormous amount of cost and effort, and a considerable degree of risk as it is repeated for every organization, across every industry, until now.

The case for a pre-configured, fully integrated solution

A purpose-built LIMS, with the choice to embed LES, ELN, and other modules, overcomes the lengthy customization process.

As an industry’s best-established operating procedures and workflows determine its functionality, a platform is configured to meet your requirements before you have even started. The benefits of this accelerated start are many.

1. Save money

Quicker deployment and better functional efficiencies translate to significant cost savings. Abandoning stand-alone LES and ELN products and other point solutions for fully embedded, pre-packaged modular capabilities in one streamlined platform will help you maximize your return over time.

2. Save time

A pre-configured LIMS can deploy up to 75 % quicker than a more typical LIMS system. Its purposeful functionality reinforces a consistent, industry-standard workflow to help your lab attain better productivity and efficiency.

3. Stay focused

In the purpose-built LIMS, lab managers are able to disable or conceal non-essential functionality. The result is a user experience which is responsive not just to your industry, but also to the specific requirements and use cases of your front-line staff. That means greater productivity, less training time, and better quality overall.

4. Reduce risk

A purpose-built LIMS reflects industry best practices and the latest regulatory and compliance developments within your industry. It eliminates the requirement for custom code and decreases the overall configuration effort as a result, thereby lowering the risk inherent with other LIMS projects.

5. Future-froof your business

Over time, industry regulations and conditions alter and your lab will likely change too – as you grow you may add new tests, new service areas, or new users. A modular, purpose-built LIMS which makes use of industry-standard web technology can expand with you, from startup labs through global operations, without the prohibitive cost, time, and compliance issues of specialized coding.

Built better for the food and beverage industry

Food and beverage labs ensure the safety of the worldwide food supply chain. They test a larger scope of products than almost any other kind of lab by utilizing a more diverse set of test methods. In order to keep pace, they require an informatics platform that operates just as consistently and uniquely as they do.

This industry is defined by a triad of particular challenges. The first is one of breadth and variety. Food and beverage labs must be able to monitor a wide scope of samples throughout their lifecycle, from unprocessed ingredients to final products which are already released into the worldwide market.

Secondly, the testing itself varies widely from commercially significant qualitative checks (“Does this product look and taste the way it should?”) to safety-related quantitative queries (“Is this product free of contaminants?”).

Thirdly, these labs must evolve with ever-intensifying regulations. Closer, more frequent inspections were introduced by the U.S. FDA’s 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), necessitating better data tracking and monitoring.

Other organizations, for example the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), also contribute to a network of stringent regulations.

Food and beverage labs have more responsibility than ever in this environment, in order to tightly manage ingredient, intermediate, and finished product quality from end to end. These three huge challenges create immense complexity.

That complexity can be mitigated by LabVantage Food and Beverage. This purpose-built LIMS helps with every requirement of a food and beverage lab, from initial product intake through distribution and post-release testing and compliance.

Test for product shelf life

Using a predetermined schedule in multiple environmental chambers, a built-in stability module helps the labs plan, monitor, and analyze product quality. The LIMS automatically issues an alert when it’s time to pull samples for testing to give analysts added assistance and ensure consistency.

Schedule and monitor microbial testing

The platform includes a Manage Incubation module which is configured to track incubation datasets and alert analysts when a sample is ready for testing.

Minimize product loss

Real-time reporting and detailed traceability functions supply managers with clear visibility into each product’s lifecycle, helping them identify and correct deviations which contribute to costly waste and loss of time and materials.

Trace batch genealogy in case of a recall

The Sample and Batch Genealogy Viewer tracks which sub-lots have contributed to a composite product. For example, if a food production facility has combined multiple vats of butter in one package run, this feature is able to track which vats were involved, giving analysts and managers precise visibility into product lineage.

Maintain consistent environmental monitoring

The platform helps to schedule and monitor samples across multiple locations and surfaces as it includes graphical views of sample collection sites.

Efficient and accurate way to capture results from instruments

The platform integrates with every common beverage and food testing instrument, including pH meters, chromatography systems, and balances. Ongoing monitoring alerts managers when an instrument requires maintenance, re-certification, or calibration, while an automatic bidirectional data flow frees analysts from manual entry and decreases the risk of human error.

Maintain regulatory compliance

The platform dynamically builds detailed audit trails needed by the FSMA and other regulatory agencies via automated data capture, to ensure ongoing compliance.

The accelerated implementation experience

Choosing a purpose-built LIMS means much of the background work is complete before you even begin, it is like strapping a rocket booster to the implementation process. It gives you a head start without sacrificing compliance, consistency, or performance.

Source: LabVantage Solutions

A Typical LIMS Implementation LabVantage LIMS Implementation
Minimum 12 months to deploy Deploys in as few as three months
A massive up-front investment drives this deployment process, which begins with a detailed discovery and documentation of user needs and progresses through multiple design iterations and testing phases. Heavily customized and configured systems introduce risk and its corresponding compliance requirements, necessitating a significant investment in validation and test planning.

Once fully customized and compliant, the system is ready to use – but only after a significant investment in training for all users and administrators. Training timelines are contingent on the complexity of customization and are often a significant factor in typical deployment costs. When updates are required after deployment, the vendor must be involved for specialized customization and/or installation, this then adds to the costs and time required to maintain performance.
As this system is already configured for your industry using established industry best practices, the implementation process is much more efficient. Data templates are integrated and the functions and products most commonly relied upon by industry-specific users are engaged and ready. If further configuration is required, the system’s modular design is easily adaptable without code; ongoing updates and enhancements need no specialized skill or outside management.

 

Run your digital enterprise with LabVantage

Across all industries, every successful laboratory functions at the nexus of technology and talent: the right people using the best, most streamlined tools. LabVantage is essential to that winning formula as the market’s leader in modern and efficient LIMS solutions.

A system that adapts to your needs – Without code

The purpose-built LIMS has a modular design that invites further configuration and

adaptation without specialized coding skills. Users are able to rely on LabVantage’s global professional services team to do it or configure their platform themselves; both scenarios decrease the effort, cost, and complexity of additional testing and compliance.

The most secure and best technology in the industry

The feature-rich LIMS from LabVantage is totally web-hosted, giving networked users access to the same information from one easy-to-use, secure system – whether they are in the same lab or on the other side of the world.

The system also connects labs with third-party contributors outside of their firewall, either hosted on-premise or in the cloud, such as research organizations or manufacturing partners, enabling harmonized data input through a single platform.

A fully interoperable experience from start to finish

Their system interconnects your processes within a single, central hub, meaning that documentation produced during early R&D explorations is consistent throughout manufacturing and final quality assurance testing.

No more siloed informatics systems for individual use cases within a product life cycle. The result is a more efficient lab with fewer chances for risk, leading to a stronger business performance overall.

A professional support team in lockstep with your requirements

LabVantage’s global professional services team of business analysts, solution engineers, and project managers provide consistent and top-rated support services from deployment through validation and ongoing monitoring.

Through their managed services offering, they look to become more partner than vendor; for instance, their team will regularly monitor, optimize, administrate, and optimize your system, giving you more confidence and more control over labor and IT costs.

Conclusion

LabVantage Food and Beverage helps labs to maintain efficient testing and compliance throughout the global food chain. Enhance your food and beverage testing lab with the entirely web-based, full-featured informatics platform designed specifically for success in your industry.

References

1 Gartner, “Hype Cycle for Life Sciences, 2018”, Published 25 July 2018, Analyst(s): Stephen Davies, Michael Shanler, Jeff Smith

About LabVantage Solutions

LabVantage Solutions, Inc. is the leading global laboratory informatics provider. Our industry-leading LIMS and ELN solution and world-class services are the result of 35+ years of experience in laboratory informatics. LabVantage offers a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that enable companies to innovate faster in the R&D cycle, improve manufactured product quality, achieve accurate recordkeeping and comply with regulatory requirements.

LabVantage is a highly configurable, web-based LIMS/ELN that powers hundreds of laboratories globally, large and small. Built on a platform that is widely recognized as the best in the industry, LabVantage can support hundreds of concurrent users as well as interface with instruments and other enterprise systems. It is the best choice for industries ranging from pharmaceuticals and consumer goods to molecular diagnostics and bio banking. LabVantage domain experts advise customers on best practices and maximize their ROIs by optimizing LIMS implementation with a rapid and successful deployment.


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Last updated: May 27, 2020 at 5:32 AM

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