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Maximizing Productivity in High-Volume QA/QC Labs

Quality written in white chalk on a blackboard.
Credit: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay
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Reducing turnaround time and maximizing productivity are top priorities for laboratory managers in high-volume quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) laboratories. Access to real-time visibility of instrument availability and status can help teams to achieve this.


Waters recently released the waters_connectTM System Monitoring Software, a solution that enables real-time remote monitoring and scheduling of all chromatography instruments controlled by Empower Software. To learn more about the application and the benefits it offers, Technology Networks spoke to Dave Leitham, VP and GM of Connected Science, Waters Corporation.


Anna MacDonald (AM): Can you tell us more about the waters_connect System Monitoring application and what it includes? 


Dave Leitham (DL): The waters_connect System Monitoring application was developed specifically for high-volume QA and QC laboratories. It can reduce the turnaround time of product release samples and facilitate the planning and progress of critical analyses via live, at-a-glance dashboard views of the operational status of chromatography instruments. The cloud-native application also helps laboratory managers, scientists, and technicians utilize capital resources better by providing an understanding of instrument history and usage levels. The scheduling functionality allows them to easily reserve systems for regular sample runs, calibration, and maintenance, improving the productivity of their laboratory. They are also able to see which systems are running, available, and, most importantly, troubleshoot instrument problems anytime and from anywhere. By quickly responding to instrument issues, laboratories can improve instrument uptime and laboratory productivity with System Monitoring. 


AM: How does the application ensure safety and compliance?  


DL: Safety and compliance are especially crucial in today’s environment and regulations outline what data needs to be protected, what processes are acceptable, and what the penalties will be for failure to follow the rules. All this in mind, System Monitoring is a business tool that provides the real-time status of all Empower-controlled chromatography instruments in the laboratory. It is deployed in a secure cloud environment where all interaction with GxP analytical data and instruments for laboratories occurs through their validated Waters Empower CDS – which ensures the highest level of compliance.


AM: What features make the application well-suited for high-volume QA/QC laboratories?   


DL: As mentioned above, the application was developed especially for high-volume QA/QC laboratories. The pharmaceutical industry relies heavily on Empower Software to ensure that an uninterrupted supply of medicines reaches pharmacy shelves and the patients who need them. To that end, QA/QC laboratories need to run as efficiently as possible without compromising sample turnaround time – the samples are critical, but traditionally, delayed sample results can cause a delay in the production process and final product release. By implementing System Monitoring, laboratories gain confidence that their instruments are running correctly, which ultimately helps them to avoid costly rework. 


AM: How does this application improve upon the current offerings on the market? What benefits does it provide to the user?  


DL: System Monitoring is a natural extension for our customers and is designed to complement their existing Waters Empower CDS. The solution is convenient and flexible as users can monitor their Empower-controlled chromatography instruments without stepping foot into the laboratory. Specifically, the “always-on” dashboard lets laboratory managers and analysts look in on their instrument fleet, and helps them improve product release timelines and delivery schedules. Additionally, it facilitates the planning, scheduling, and progress of critical analyses via live, at-a-glance dashboard views of the operational status of chromatography instruments connected to the leading chromatography data system


AM: Are you able to discuss any future plans in terms of further enhancing the application?  


DL: We are constantly thinking about what’s next for all our products to continue to meet customer demands. As a SaaS product, System Monitoring users will have access to new functionality without having to upgrade or redeploy their software, and over time we plan to provide additional laboratory planning and management capabilities. Our mission is to solve the problems that matter, and our products are an extension of that mission. Our continued enhancements are something we are excited about.


Dave Leitham was speaking to Anna MacDonald, Senior Science Editor for Technology Networks.