Quality control (QC) managers may see the improvement opportunities behind rapid automated microbial detection, but for their businesses to adopt this innovative technology, they will need to clearly articulate its value to their executives, highlighting the technology's merits as sound investment opportunities with tangible returns on investment (ROI).
Automated microbial testing can revolutionize how QC laboratories perform their testing. And the sooner the business gives the go-ahead, the faster this technology can start demonstrating its value as an indispensable asset.
"The addition of automation to microbial quality control frees critical lab resources for higher value activities."
Improves existing processes without significant change
Not only can rapid automated microbial detection technologies like the Growth Direct™ System address the lab's testing volume, but the addition of automation to microbial quality control frees critical lab resources for higher value activities. This factor alone has the power to reallocate a business's most valuable resources to where they're needed most, instead of manually reviewing samples, relocating samples between incubators, or keying in test results. Rapid automated microbial detection supports all three. In addition, samples are regularly inspected for growth as part of the automation process, so while laboratory technicians resolve problems elsewhere, a company's microbiology QC lab retains its fastidiousness.
Reduces product release wait time
While there are many quality tests performed on products prior to shipment, the microbiology test can often be the gating factor. Some manufacturers will await final test results before shipping, delaying the time to get product to market. Other companies may ship at risk. Accelerating the time to results for the microbiology test can benefit both. For manufacturers awaiting results, they reduce their wait time by about half. For companies shipping at risk, their level of risk will decrease significantly with results in about half the time of the traditional test. In the end, it is about patient safety, and the more rapidly the test can complete, the faster treatments can reach patients.
Automated microbial detection technology like the Growth Direct™ System can detect autofluorescing micro-colonies long before the human eye. Photosensitive pixels detect and enumerate micro-colony clusters of about 100 cells within hours of incubation, whereas manual testing could take days and millions of cells before visible. Automated, rapid microbial detection technology like the Growth Direct™ System can reduce test times for environmental monitoring, sterility and bioburden testing.
"Non-destructive tests allow the QC lab to remain streamlined while still increasing process efficiency."
Non-destructive test supports good manufacturing practices
A key aspect of the traditional culture method is that when a sample of interest is uncovered, one of the first steps the lab must take as part of the investigation is to identify the growing colony. Many businesses looking at rapid detection technologies will find that certain types of tests will destroy the colony, making identification difficult.
Growth-based methods use no reagents as part of the process. At the end of an assay, the sample is available with growing colonies that can be identified using an ID system or other methods. This allows the QC lab to remain streamlined while still increasing process efficiency.
Automation makes just as much sense in the microbiology laboratory as it does on the manufacturing floor. Manufacturers looking for more efficiency in their quality control labs, equipment with quantifiable ROI and automation that takes advantage of the best aspects of the traditional culture method should consider what automated rapid microbial methods can bring to their business. To learn more about rapid automated microbial detection technologies like the Growth Direct™ System, visit www.rapidmicrobio.com.