Automated, growth-based rapid microbiological methods (RMM) can drastically streamline microbial testing within the quality control (QC) laboratory, freeing up significant time for microbiologists to perform higher value work. While microbiologists understand the value this technology can bring to their lab, they need to build a solid business case around its bottom line benefits. Executives within the business who must often juggle priorities, may not understand the benefits of automated microbial testing in the lab and its impact to other parts of the business. The following are six potential areas where automated RMM can help improve operations.
- Faster Times to Market
Faster test results can lead to faster shipping times. In the example of a sterility test, the manual method takes 14 days. Automated, growth-based RMM systems can produce final results in half the time, saving nearly a week. And therefore, products can be shipped sooner.
- Fewer Investigations
Though time-tested, the manual method for microbial testing offers the potential for errors. A miscount, a missed transfer during serial incubation, or a keying error on results can potentially generate a costly investigation. With automated, growth-based RMM technology, the potential for error is limited. Once samples are loaded into the system, the combination of internal robotics, imaging technology and on-board computers ensure correct counts and accurate reporting. This level of reliability ultimately leads to fewer out-of-specification (OOS) investigations, each of which can have a significant cost in both time and resources that could be focused on other activities in the lab.
- Streamlined Data Flow
Some automated RMM systems allow for integration of microbiological data into existing laboratory information systems (LIMS). This capability reduces the time and effort involved in manually keying, and allows for improved communication between the microbiology lab and all other stakeholders who need to know test results.
- More Engaged Manufacturing Personnel
Because automated, rapid methods such as the Growth DirectTM System are self-contained, they can be located near the manufacturing lines. Their ease of use creates the potential for manufacturing teams to be trained to capture and load their own environmental samples. This can reduce the burden on the QC lab and potentially generates greater buy-in for sanitary practices and cleaning procedures among the manufacturing line workers.
- Increased Efficiency
Though microbiologists experience firsthand the timesaving benefits of automated RMM technology, greater efficiency appeals just as much to company executives. They can be confident in the QC lab’s ability to respond to increases in production, and focus on higher value work like updates to SOPs or performing investigations.
- Lower Inventory Requirements
If the microbiology tests are the gating tests to product release, faster results could mean faster times to market, allowing manufacturers to operate with less inventory space. They can make better use of storage space they've already purchased, or incur fewer warehousing costs as they expand.
Learn more about building a business case for the Growth DirectTM System. Download this free guide to quantifying the economic benefits of growth-based RMM.