CASE STUDIES | LabAnswer Client Stories >

35,000 Item Codes. Five Manufacturing Plants.
How Do We Move On to the Future?

"Our products are used in 61% of the surgical operations around the world.
How do we move from multiple separate laboratory systems across multiple sites to one modern platform that holds all of our laboratory data to support our increasingly complicated and diverse product catalog for now and in the future?
"

OVERVIEW

With the legacy laboratory management system going off support from the original software vendor and without the infrastructure able to support needed innovation, the client sought to move to the next generation of LIMS for five critical North America manufacturing sites.  The platform would also serve to host future manufacturing sites that use the harmonized workflows.  They needed to know:

  • How much would the project cost and how long would it take?
  • What internal effort would be required?
  • What would the approach be and ensure minimal impact to the Manufacturing Plants and productivity?
  • What would the risk to the business be if the project was not completed?

BUSINESS CHALLENGES

Client had previously tried multiple times to fund a project to upgrade the LIMS system but was unable to attain funding due to the uncertainty of delivering an ambitious platform refresh.

The legacy laboratory systems were central to the client’s ability to manufacture and ship product.  If the systems were not available for any reason, the cost to the client would be huge. The older technology was no longer supportable or replaceable in the event of a problem.

Due to the nature of how medical devices are classified and the slight variations in product use, there can be a massive amount of materials or item codes that have to be tracked and which may contain different specifications.  The vast amount of mature products for the company meant a large catalog of products and variations.  The existing Master Data tracked in the legacy laboratory systems provided a unique challenge when considering how to migrate to a new platform.  Add in the fact that the Master Data sources were from 5 separate legacy systems and the overall initiative became further complicated.

SOLUTION

The customer engaged LabAnswer to perform the following services:

  1. Up-front Strategic Planning: we partnered with the client to define the Business Case which was meant to answer questions such as:
    • What overall benefits will the project yield?
    • What will the project cost in terms of both hard dollars and internal resource effort?
    • What is the Return on Investment (ROI) for the funds allocated?
    • What would the payback period for the project be?
  2.  Project management: in conjunction with the client’s IT, manage all system workflows from the inception of the project to final site go-live and hypercare activities.
  3. System implementation and configuration: identify all workflows across all 5 manufacturing sites and work with the business to harmonize processing and testing where appropriate. This included defining legacy functionality in the laboratory systems which could be better housed in other systems. Configure the system functionality in a prototyping manner, against the requirements, in a defined process to ensure that we managed scope and the business was engaged every step of the way. 
  4. Deployment planning and execution: work with site resources to plan and execute site deployment activities such as local procedure update, site training, and qualification of master data.
  5. On-going system support: formally support the system as a managed service in order to allow the site personnel to use the system as effectively as possible.

RESULTS DELIVERED

LabAnswer produced a Business Case that showed the executive stakeholders the tangible financial and non-tangible benefits of the project.  The resulting Business Case was approved by management and the project became fully funded.

LabAnswer employed an Agile Configuration approach which allowed the system to be released in chunks.  This approach emphasized strong business involvement in each phase, ensuring that the system actually achieved the user requirements and would be accepted by the business community.

We then built a system to manage workflows for Lots (Finished goods, Semi-Finished and Raw Materials), instruments, Standards and Reagents, and very specialized business processes, including sterilization. This was built in less than 6 months. 

The internal and external teams partnered together to create and execute a strategy to migrate the massive amount of master data from the legacy systems.  The approach allowed the business to qualify the data and feel assured that their new laboratory system would be able to run their business effectively.  Through thoughtful design and planning the approach that was employed reduced overall master data volume by 40% by consolidating similar data together.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES USED

Strategic services to aid in business case formulation and funding, project management, LabWare configuration and development, deployment planning, data management.