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ELN Material Weighing

How one major pharmaceutical company leveraged scientific voice assistants to save time on routine - but crucial - tasks

Summary: Here’s how LabVoice partnered with a Product Development team to help their scientists save time by voice enabling a weighing process. Prior to LabVoice, scientists would have to repeat a weighing process several times, which we detail below. Once voice assistants were introduced and then integrated with the customer’s ELN and Inventory Management system, LabVoice was able to eliminate manual data entry (and as a byproduct, any manual errors) as well as save scientist time in the lab, so they can run more experiments efficiently.

  • Scientists saved several hours each day by eliminating manual data transcript and entry

  • The quality of data entered into their ELN and Inventory Management system improved as it was automatically captured through LabVoice integrations

  • Important EH&S information relayed immediately 

 

About the Customer: Our customer was part of a PD team of a global pharmaceutical company, focused on discovering, developing, and delivering medicines for millions of patients around the world. This customer brought LabVoice into its operations through a “Lab of the Future” initiative.

 

Status Quo: Before working with LabVoice, what should have been a relatively simple process was in fact, very laborious and time-consuming. For anyone who’s served as a grad student or lab tech or even much more experienced lab-based scientists, this shouldn't be much of a surprise.

Here’s how the scientist approached their work:

  1. At their office desk, the scientist would fill in the materials and expected weights into their ELN, and then proceed to the lab.

  2. Once in the laboratory (gowned and gloved up), they would then go collect the reagents, having to visually confirm that they grabbed the right reagent. 

  3. This is where things get murky. Typically, our scientists would have to use paper or even memorize the expected weight for each reagent, so they're limited to only 1-2 samples at a time. It’s also not uncommon to hear that they had jotted this information on the back of their glove.

  4. They travel about 15 feet from the shelves where the reagents are stored over to the fume hood and begin the weighing process on the balance. They write down the actual weights on paper - or their glove - and also collect the container ID and lot number. If they've grabbed the wrong reagent, they have no way of knowing until they are back at their desk.

  5. Remember the point about writing down this information on their glove or paper? Well if the scientist has more reagents to weigh, they have to remain in the lab rather than go back to their desk to enter this information (it takes too much time to deglove & ungown), so they remotely connect into their ELN from a shared laptop in the lab - on the other side of the room. They manually enter this information, perform a quick error check, then return to the reagent rack and start the process over again - often 5-6 times!

Enter LabVoice: Let’s see how this process unfolds now that our lab is voice-enabled!

 

For Steps 1 & 2, nothing changes, but then again, these were not the troublesome steps. Because the scientist is working hands-free, they can gather as many samples as a rack can hold, and walk over to the fume hood.

 

LabVoice is integrated with both a barcode scanner and the balance used for weighing, so all our scientist has to do is scan and weigh the sample - that’s it. 

 

LabVoice is confirming that the scanned reagent is indeed one of the reagents the scientist initially selected. If they grabbed a reagent by mistake, LabVoice will alert them to this error. Further, LabVoice can recall important EH&S information regarding each reagent as the user scans it. 

 

If everything checks out, LabVoice immediately retrieves the reagent metadata (lot number and manufacturer) from the Inventory System and the expected weights from the ELN. Once the reagent is weighed, LabVoice packages all of this information plus the actual weight and returns it to the ELN. 

 

All the scientist has to do is follow LabVoice’s instruction as to when to load the reagent, and then, in turn, prompts LabVoice when to capture the weight, which they can do so easily with a headset. 

 

And that’s it. They leave the lab in a fraction of the time previously spent performing the same workflow, confident the reagents weighed were the desired ones, and confident the measurements captured were the true mass of each sample. 

They estimate that they save, on average, 1 hour each day by leveraging LabVoice. And as important, the error rate for data entry has dropped to 0%.

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