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The Case for Digitizing Your Labs During the Covid19 Pandemic

Sasha Novakovich  Sasha Novakovich   |   April 28, 2020

The Context

As it was, the market for material science and chemical companies was changing rapidly. There was less demand in historically large segments of the industry and nascent demand for entirely new categories of products that don’t exist yet. Couple this with Covid19 causing supply, demand and logistics shocks and you get less forward revenue visibility and the potential to miss your numbers.

While you may not be in control of demand and you’re certainly not in control of Covid, you are in control of your customers’ experience, your operations and your expenses. These are impactful levers if your goal is to protect profit and cash flow.

How Digital Can Help

If the upside of going digital wasn’t compelling enough when the rising tide of a strong global economy floated all boats, maybe it will be now that Covid19 is leaving companies in its wake.

Leverage digital best practices. Alchemy’s proprietary workflow engine is able to quickly digitalize your best practice processes. We build into your unique workflows the functionality you would normally access in separate tools and software, so that people using Alchemy have access to both the data and the tools they need to do their job efficiently in one application.

Some companies call this “Digital Transformation,” but digital transformation doesn’t connote business improvements other than to be digital where once you were not. Having digital best practices enables operational responsiveness, speed to revenue, and cost savings as outlined below.

Protect your staff, so you can keep operating. Companies with this kind of software infrastructure benefit from complete, searchable, reusable access to their body of lab work from anywhere. During a pandemic, this directly enables work to continue even with new or changing safety precautions rolling out.

Having digital operating procedures managed centrally and rolled out locally enables lab management to respond to quickly changing employee safety recommendations. Software digitally reinforces procedural change and promotes compliance, guiding users through the new operating procedures as they work.

When lab staff are able to work equally well in distributed digital teams, management can load balance lab work in real-time across geographies that are less impacted by the pandemic to maximize lab output safely.

Finally, when all work is executed in a shared digital platform, management has real-time visibility to project status and efficiency metrics enabling better decisions faster at a time when every day counts.

Speed time to revenue. Digital best practices speed operations by getting the right data and the right tools to the right person at the right time in the process. This happens by way of specific integrated features. Namely:

  • System-driven processes and notifications
  • A shared digital workspace to facilitate teamwork across functions, geographies and/or shifts
  • A single data repository for all project data and communications
  • Automation of manual data entry and calculations to reduce data entry errors and improve accuracy on top of speeding up the work itself
  • Real-time reporting for management
  • AI-ready data at scale that can be easily searched and reused

In short, speeding operations improves customer responsiveness for sales today and time to revenue on new products tomorrow.

Consolidate tools to streamline costs and optimize insights. Having this kind of software infrastructure enables lab management to replace entirely or in part up to 7 categories of software and significantly reduce the IT cost to support them. This was well documented in a prior post my co-founder, Marko Gacesa, wrote called Software Options and Tradeoffs in the Chemical Industry. Who wouldn’t want to decrease costs while increasing capability?

At the same time, consolidating AI-ready data at scale helps a company leverage its historical body of work by enabling chemists to search and reuse prior lab data. The average chemist spends one day per week searching for data. Get that time back immediately. For management, having a system that connects business, process, and technical data “connects the data dots” across the lifecycle of lab work from a concept through R&D, product development, in-market customer service and derivative product. Management can manage with full visibility and make data-driven decisions quickly and effectively.

In Conclusion

By building digital best practices in Alchemy a company can achieve a trifecta of business benefits: operating continuity during the pandemic, speeding time to revenue, and cost savings. How can you afford not to do it?

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