New Solutions to Old Challenges
Article Jul 01, 2014
Watching a software system mature is most interesting in hindsight – you can see where it started and how an application evolved. With LIMS, as with any lab software solution, we can only shake our heads at how complicated, costly and basic the original applications were. LIMS have matured now and no busy research lab can function effiiciently without the automation it brings to sample management tasks.
Over time other lab software solutions have arisen, including document management solutions and the newest tool, electronic lab notebooks. One of these has been Scientific Data Management Systems (SDMS), of which Waters’ NuGenesis solution has long been a market leader.
Waters has just upped the ante by integrating all their software tools with a new solution that takes on many of a traditional LIMS functions: the Nugenesis Lab Management System. This new solution incorporates not only the Nugenesis SDMS as a key component, but includes new functions and modules that now leverage a single interface to access all Waters solutions in the lab.
The NuGenesis Lab Management System (LMS) is comprised of three parts: the SDMS, an Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN), and a Laboratory Execution System (LES). Within this mix are a new NuGenesis SampleShare system for sample submissions and results management; NuGenesis Stability, a new stability protocol management and testing solution; a bi-directional link between lab systems and business applications called NuGenesis Connectors; and Paradigm Scientific Search that enables searches for text, documents and scientific objects.
“It is an alternative to LIMS,” states Garrett Mullen, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Laboratory Management Informatics at Waters Corporation, “even though it has sample management capabilities. It is ‘situational’ which means there are cases where the customer just wants to perform sample management but not use a full LIMS. It is also an alternative for larger companies that have a LIMS but not at all sites, and may just want sample management instead of another LIMS, or it can supplement and complement existing LIMS. “
“The NuGenesis Lab Management System is a particularly suited to analytical labs or working with CROs when you’re pushing out and pulling in sample information,” he continues. “It doesn't do some of the traditional LIMS functions–such as generating quotes, formulations and recipes, or KPIs–but a small business doesn’t need all these features.”
Waters’ NuGenesis 8.0 SDMS included sample management capabilities before this new LMS, but Waters has enhanced these functions and added utilities that allow users to submit samples, assign and split samples, and more. As part of this enhancement, Waters created an optional new secure web client interface called Sample Share for sample submissions and results management that can be accessed via the web. This now frees users from the lab and allows the system to be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection.
While Waters’ new solution is web-based, it is not a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. It is a client/server system in which the ELN acts as a fat client. The system exists behind the customer’s firewalls but accessed through a browser using the correct password protocols.
In addition, there is an entirely new NuGenesis Stability Module that allows user to manage the entire stability protocol, from the matrix to managing work schedules and assigning tests to reviewing results. The NuGenesis Stability Module addresses the full stability lifecycle and comes with canned reports that can do predictive evaluations for custom requirements such as sample shelf life.
Mullen points to the single interface as a key benefit behind the functionality of the new system. “You can search all of the Waters software from a single interface. For example, if I were to draw a wagon wheel,” he explains, “at the center is the ELN which then has access to the different components and modules at the end of the spokes. In addition to all the other modules and systems, we have integrated our Paradigm system, which is an applicaiton that sells on its own but is now also an optional tool that’s integrated with the LMS solution.”
Another piece being introduced with the LMS is NuGenesis Connectors. This rather simple component is the technology behind making the connectivity between the modules and various business applications seamless and transparent. It is a bi-directional interface between the chromatography systems in the lab, between SAP, etc. It communicates sample names, work lists, lots and more. Connectors makes it much easier to integrate instruments and business systems throughout the site.
Mullen states that the bottom line is a hugh up-front savings for customers. “Based on my experience, when you look at the time spent executing procedures, such as recording and capturing information,” he explains, “when these tasks are automated, they take much less time. It reduces a four to five hour process to one that can be done in minutes. Then, following that, rechecking and verification are also streamlined. Forms are automatically generated that flag problems and thus enable faster execution and eliminate the need for a second verification.”
“LMS is significant because there’s a market, it can be plugged in for a low cost, and it gives a single interface to all Waters components,” emphasizes Mullen.
The new NuGenesis Lab Management System is offered in three layers depending on the needs of the users. A base kit include the NuGenesis SDMS and focuses on ensuring record compliance. The next step up is to add the NuGenesis ELN which comes bundled with the Paradigm Scientific Search and SampleShare software. Finally, the customer has the option to add the Stability Module and Connectors to the overall system when that level of capability is desired.
Many organizations are examining workflows and work processes across the enterprise, seeking to optimize operations from the product research to product delivery. Laboratory activities are coming under the microscope and being examined for ways to drive greater efficiency and lower costs. Waters’ NuGenesis Lab Management System puts a new spin on how sample management is performed and should provide a strong option to traditional LIMS.
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