Exceeding the Industry Standard: Electronic Laboratory Notebook Success Stories
Within a laboratory, there are many options to consider when trying to increase efficiencies and effectively manage workflow. Electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) have the potential to change the internal operations of the laboratory by making notebooks searchable, increasing the speed of the review process and freeing scientists from the tediousness of recording results. However, not everyone is sold on ELNs due to concerns around interruptions to laboratory workflow and the return on investment (ROI). To help laboratories overcome these concerns, let’s examine two success stories illustrating the real benefits ELNs brought to two different companies:
Kalexsyn – Providing Clients with Above-Average Service
Kalexsyn is a contract research organization that was founded in 2003 with the aim of providing above-average service to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology community. The founders knew that in order to provide better service than any other competitor, they would need to increase the productivity of the staff, as well as improve the level of communication with clients. The concluded that the best way to help accomplish these goals was to move away from a paper-based laboratory notebook and implement an ELN.
In 2004, the company installed an Accelrys ELN and immediately began to see the following results:
- Increased Productivity – Management estimated that scientists were able to reduce the amount of time they spent on data entry by 25%. In turn, this additional free time was focused on more research. By reducing the hassle of documentation, management was able to provide better and faster results to clients.
- Improved Client Communication – Part of management’s commitment to improve customer service was to provide clients with more transparency regarding the laboratory process. Eventually, this led to a mandatory weekly status update. In order to ensure that scientists did not spend too much time creating these status reports, management simply automated the report generation process through the electronic laboratory notebook. Each week, a detailed status report is sent to clients with little to no manual intervention.
Kalexsyn concluded that implementing an ELN improved the internal laboratory workflow, allowing scientists to spend more time focused on their client research.
Eli Lilly – Return on Investment
Eli Lilly is a global pharmaceutical company that has been in business since 1876. The company is focused on developing drugs for use in everything from cancer to depression. In 2003, they realized that in order to stay competitive among other giants in the industry, they would need to modernize laboratory processes by implementing an ELN. However, some individuals in management were initially skeptical of whether an ELN would provide a return on their investment.
After going live with an ELN in 2004, the company accountants began to monitor the return on investment. They discovered the following:
- Time savings – The bulk of the ROI came from scientists not having to spend as much time on administrative tasks as they had to in the past. For example, an ELN allows for experimentation setup and documentation of results to take place much faster. Over a year, this can really add up to substantial savings.
- Access to information – By ensuring that documentation is digital, information that was once stored in paper notebooks and difficult to access, is now searchable. This has increased the personal productivity of every scientist within the laboratory.
Companies that utilize ELNs are finding great improvements in such areas as customer service and return on their investment. As the global marketplace becomes more competitive, an ELN will help to make sure companies retain customers and free up capital through productivity gains.
For more information regarding Accelrys’ ELN, please visit our website today.