In an ever more competitive landscape, Testing Laboratories need to address their challenges by focusing on the core drivers via a cohesive information management strategy.
Lab Test Information Management: Challenges
Testing Laboratories in the TIC industry have grown aggressively, both inorganically via acquisitions and organically, while simultaneously striving to maintain and grow margins. This growth model has brought with it significant, and I must say, inevitable challenges.
Some of the key challenges are listed below:
- Lack of standardization – Variability in core information and operational execution platform across lab locations and regions, including those driven by client specific customization.
- Ad-Hoc and inefficient processes – Redundant and excessive manual verification steps have been introduced at every stage throughout the operations.
- Ageing delivery platforms – The industry continues to rely heavily on human capital and has a lot of catching up to do in terms of technology adoption. Full automation in Lab data capture, auto report generation, B2B customer intimacy platforms are dreams that continue to elude even the most innovative, market leading service providers.
- Declining Margins – Given an increasingly competitive landscape and increasing input costs coupled with stagnant pricing (or even increased pricing pressures), margins are increasingly coming under pressure. This deserves to be mentioned separately as a Challenge on its own as it is one of the single most critical metric on which management performance is measured today.
- Revenue Leakage – This is a direct and inevitable result of lack of traceability in lab information management, all the way from the Test Request Form (TRF) being submitted to the corresponding invoice being issued. Labs all over the world end up under-invoicing. While the percentage loss in revenue varies from lab to lab, it does happen in every lab nevertheless.
- Impatient, Unhappy Customers – Let’s not forget the customer in all this. Customers want faster time to market and are unhappy with the Turn Around Time (TAT) delays they face from the TIC service provider. The list of impediments are long – rework due to lab reporting errors, invoicing mistakes (they will all complain if labs over-invoice!), the lack of reliable business intelligence, etc.
Lab Test Information Management: Way forward
Focus on the drivers!
- Gain Competitive Advantage – Do you believe you are in this business just to provide a test report? If not, how will you differentiate?
- Retain & Grow – Customers no longer want just a test report, even if you can manage to send an accurate report within the committed TAT. How will you ensure customer retention? How will you delight your customers continually?
- Improve Margins – It is difficult to maintain high margins while simultaneously aiming for higher growth, especially if organizations continue using human capital-intensive processes and systems. What are the operational objectives? In which areas will you be able to drive efficiency and improve cost competitiveness?
Align your objectives to the drivers
|Ensure Customer Delight
||a. Improve consistency and granularity of reporting data by adopting a robust universal master data management (MDM) system that permeates across all operational transaction management and reporting systems.
b. Accelerate Turn Around Time (TAT) by promptly responding to regulatory or customer requested changes to test protocols and packages. This is a lot easier to achieve once you have a workflow based, global test, protocol/package management system such as the TRIMS in place.
c. Automate test data capture, reporting and invoicing.
d. Deliver real time operational information and rich business intelligence reporting through a smart customer portal. Once again, this cannot be achieved if you don’t have the basis to efficiently manage rich referential data.
– Retain & Grow
||a. Implement best practice processes to improve operational governance across the network.
b. Adopt a scalable technology platform to handle simple to complex change management requests, quickly and accurately, impacting a large and ever increasing number of test protocols and packages.
– Retain & Grow
– Improve Margins
|Improve efficiency and lower risk
||a. Single source of truth for your test protocols and packages – eliminate reliance on stand alone, document/paper based test protocols and with it the risk of non-compliance with current regulatory and customer requirements.
b. Drastically reduce errors in test assignment, data capture and reporting, thereby minimizing rework.
c. Save paper and printing costs. This is not just about being socially responsible – it is pure margin, very much part of the current Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – this cost will go away with adoption of the new test protocol and package management platform.
– Improve Margins
Let us know what you think – leave a comment below.
Learn about how QualNimbus secures information on its applications. You can use QualNimbus solutions with peace of mind!
A lot of our prospective customers have a concern regarding information security on our platform. This is rightly so – as companies do want to ensure that the information they store on our systems is secured and protected.
We want to assure you that QualNimbus takes information security very seriously. We have the following measures in place to ensure security:
- Our infrastructure is hosted on Amazon AWS which has some of the highest degree of security in the world (it is even used by the US Department of Defense!).
- In addition to this, to ensure scalability, we have multiple tiers in our applications: Web Tier, Application Tier and Database Tier. All three of these tiers are themselves secured by complex challenge/response (password) mechanisms to prevent breach.
- The web tier is hosted behind a load balancer, which is itself secured as well.
- We also require that every user of our system has a strong password – and only valid users can access the system.
- All our systems also implement role based security – that allows for fine tuning of the capabilities that users have access to once logged into the system based on their role(s).
- All transactions on our applications happen over a HTTPS connection that uses 256 bit encryption (so information cannot be hacked during transfer between your machine and our servers).
- Finally, as a last measure of security, we store each customer’s data in a completely separate database schema – so your information is never intermingled with information of other companies.
We hope this addresses concerns regarding security. We have been able to win the trust of large, industry leading firms about our security and scalability. We would be happy to discuss any of these aspects in detail with you – just contact us.
We want to assure you again that we take the security of your information as seriously as you do. We want you to use QualNimbus solutions with absolute peace of mind!
Learn why Software as a Service (SaaS) as a means for delivering entire applications over the internet makes sense for your business.
What is SaaS:
Historically, companies were required to buy, build, and maintain their IT infrastructures despite exponential costs. Software as a service (or SaaS) gives companies an alternative. SaaS is a mechanism of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of managing hardware, software and applications, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from the complexities of software and hardware management. QualNimbus, being a SaaS solution, will manage the hardware, software as well as access to the application, including security, availability, and performance. All you need is an internet connection.
Benefits of SaaS:
The SaaS model has flourished because of the many benefits it offers to businesses of all sizes and types. Here’s what’s driving customers to take advantage of SaaS solutions:
- High Adoption: SaaS applications are available from any computer or any device—any time, anywhere. Because most people are familiar with using the Internet to find what they need, SaaS applications tend to have high adoption rates, with a lower learning curve.
- Lower Initial Costs: SaaS applications are subscription based. No license fees mean lower initial costs. Having the SaaS provider manage the IT infrastructure means lower IT costs for hardware, software, and the people needed to manage it all.
- Painless Upgrades: Because the SaaS provider manages all updates and upgrades, there are no patches for customers to download or install. The SaaS provider also manages availability, so there’s no need for customers to add hardware, software, or bandwidth as the user base grows.
- Seamless Integration: SaaS vendors with true multitenant architectures can scale indefinitely to meet customer demand. Many SaaS providers also provide APIs that let you integrate with existing ERP systems or other business productivity systems.
The image below provides an easy to understand view of the various types of solutions, including SaaS and how the various models differ.
| On Premise Solution
|| Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
||Platform as a Service (PaaS)
||Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Entire Hardware/Software stack & People all in house
- Substantial IT costs to maintain & manage (high TCO)
- HW/SW Upgrades & Scalability are expensive & time consuming
- Lights-on focus – limited innovation
- Full SW stack & People in house; HW vendor managed
- High IT costs to maintain & manage (high TCO)
- SW Upgrades are expensive & time consuming
- Lights-on focus – limited innovation
- App/Data & People in house; HW/SW vendor managed
- Moderate IT costs to maintain & manage (high TCO)
- App Upgrades are expensive & time consuming
- Application focus – siloed innovation
- Entire HW/SW stack & People vendor managed
- No internal IT cost – pay/use
- Low TCO (multi tenant)
- Highly scalable
- Continuously evolving product; transparent upgrades
- Resources freed for innovation
OUR CURRENTLY AVAILABLE SaaS PRODUCTS
If you are a Testing service provider – or a buyer or supplier with an in-house lab – you know the importance of having a solid master data management (MDM) strategy. Having a clean information base is critical for all of your master data – including information pertaining to Tests, Test Lines and, if applicable, Test Packages and Test Protocols.
If you are a large TIC service provider TRIMS helps ensure that you can govern this information across many laboratories worldwide, ensuring consistent service to your customers everywhere. Just as important is to have the ability to make a change to a master data element – or Test Line – and have it automatically be reflected across every other artifact that it is referenced in.
QualNimbus’ Test Reference Information Management Solution (TRIMS) can help with this. It is a state of the art solution that allows you to establish a solid master data management as well as master data governance strategy and lays the foundation for business intelligence reporting and advanced decision support systems.
and we would be happy to have a more detailed discussion with you.
Inspekt is our SaaS solution
to manage the entire value chain pertaining to Inspections Services. The solution is aimed primarily at small to medium sized Service Providers as well as Buying houses or Importers based in the sourcing regions that have their own in-house Inspections teams.