It has been a challenging year so far. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged as a pandemic in the beginning of 2020 and has spread globally, impacting nations, businesses, and the lives of most of us. The COVID-19 has activated an unanticipated and unparalleled worldwide emergency, which has drastically impacted many organizations, including research and analytical facilities.
Welcome to the New Normal
‘Lockdown’ is a term that most of us likely never expected to be applied to our lives, much less to our labs. But here we are and potentially not for the last time. The pandemic has led to nationwide travel restrictions, conference cancellations, and in many cases, laboratory closures or restricted working conditions. Adapting to the “new normal” in labs across nations created significant complexities related to remote lab management and routine procedures. Operations had to deal with challenging adaptation of routines as:
implementing stay-at-home orders or working restriction
maintaining productivity with many employees working remotely
restriction service and support on customer sites due to security regulations
developing back to work protocols, ensuring social distancing and the list goes on.
Have you been challenged with keeping your lab operational and productive this year? Lockdown, home office, work restrictions and many uncertainties down the road. But you are not alone. Find out what challenges other colleagues are experiencing. Visit thermofisher.com/moving-forward.
For many ‘life in the lab’ became ‘lab-life at home.’ As we move forward towards what we hope will soon be a post-pandemic period, it is useful to reflect on the challenges we faced, the lessons learned, and to distill which of the ‘temporary’ changes that were made we can — and should — adopt more permanently to ensure business continuity today and tomorrow.
How do labs remain functional in various states of lockdown? How can we counter the loss of lab camaraderie to meet social distancing measures? How do we get work done remotely and do we have the right tools? Those are challenges that many analytical laboratories experienced this year. It became clear as we navigated this unprecedented landscape that flexibility would be key. The lessons learned may provide opportunities for new ways for moving forward in the post-pandemic era. In fact, there were many unexpected opportunities, for instance, financial support to bridge the budget and make cost-effective and flexible investments. Instrument trade-in programs now offer faster and easier replacement of your old instrumentation with state-of-the-art technology than ever before, including flexible financing options. Learn more about your financial opportunities and trade-in programs.
Move Forward with Remote Solutions
Solutions for remote working, remote management, remote service, virtual meetings, webcasts, or cloud-based tolls were already available in the pre-pandemic era but didn’t receive the same attention as today. In many cases, advanced instrumentation may provide various benefits as entirely-automated workflows, remote control, remote data processing, tools for advanced self-maintenance, or simple replacement-modules to overcome downtime. Those solutions are now more important than ever to stay connected and operational. Learn more about solutions that will help you to keep your lab operational and productive.
Keep Your Lab Operational
Instrumental maintenance and service are essential to avoid downtime and keep the lab operational. However, many laboratories experienced restrictions over the period of lockdown that hindered on-site service visits. At present, rising infection numbers may result in new lockdowns, in a time where it is essential to keep our analytical labs operational. This challenging situation may open doors for new opportunities. For instance, in many cases, instrument service can be done remotely using digital tools and augmented reality. Today, remote support is capable of providing faster diagnosis and off-site issue resolution in up to 35% of cases. Diagnosis support tools and augmented reality have the potential to replace, not completely but partly, on-site visits and speed up system diagnosis and troubleshooting. Learn more about remote service tools here.
Analytical laboratories rely on routine workflows including a whole range of analytical steps that can be generalized in sample prep, analysis, and data handling. And though most of those tasks require an on-side lab technician, many manual steps can be automated, like sample preparation. Using modern robotic technology offers a way to make our life easier by automating low-value routine activities. In fact, the benefits expected from a higher level of automation in testing laboratories are more than that, especially when we consider sample preparation procedures. Manual sample preparation protocols are not only labor-intensive and time-consuming but are also quite expensive and prone to human errors. Automation of routine activities, such as sample preparation, may therefore offer a long-term benefit, not only in times of social distancing and lockdown.
As mentioned above, data handling is an essential part of a routine analytical workflow in every laboratory. Here the choice of chromatography data system (CDS) can positively affect your ability to work effectively and aid you with maintaining 24/7 operation of your laboratory from a remote location. CDS is vital for compliant, efficient and reliable operation of any modern chromatography laboratory – it will manage all the analytical processes from instrument control to raw data storage and processing, right through to generating the final results. Options for laboratory software systems moving from a traditional on-premise setup to a cloud-based deployment and the associated benefits and challenges are available today to ensure business continuity.
In this uncertain time, remote working and social distancing may impact your work and laboratory productivity. But does it really have to? Find out about solutions and technological developments that help keep your lab fully operational and highly productive today, tomorrow and in the future.