This year has thrown the world a curve ball, and it’s causing many in management positions to reassess their ability to respond to unforeseen changes. The current pandemic is still full of uncertainty. What can we do to prepare for whatever comes?
Preparing your lab for a shutdown is just the start
Since April, Agilent has hosted a series of webinars to cover the fundamentals of preparing and protecting instruments before shutting down, and later, the steps needed to get them up and running again, with minimal loss of performance. These are maintenance fundamentals.
But what about all the other aspects of this current environment – the economic uncertainty, reduced on-site staff, and increased remote working? How can labs proactively prepare for and adapt to these challenges? That’s where Agilent CrossLab comes in.
"Agilent CrossLab is a strategic initiative that leverages our 50 years of expertise serving analytical labs, and seeks to help businesses improve performance across the lab," says Steve Cohan, VP of the Agilent Worldwide Customer Service Organization. "We have a unique brand promise: we want to provide insight in every interaction to help you get the business outcomes you need."
Through CrossLab, Agilent has expanded its capabilities to include consulting that can help labs better navigate the new challenges we face. Below, three Agilent leaders discuss ways Agilent CrossLab capabilities can help customers be better prepared for disruption.
Simplify, optimize, and transform lab operations
"When it comes to managing a complex lab, we look at three fundamental stages of evolution," explains Marc Boreham, VP and General Manager of the Agilent CrossLab Enterprise Services organization. "They are simplification, optimization and transformation, and they are directly applicable to this current environment. First, you need to simplify by getting visibility to what you have and how it’s used. Once you have that visibility and understanding, you are better positioned to plan. When we say optimization, we are talking about the ability to make better decisions, using performance data and the insight it provides. Optimization includes disaster recovery planning. The third stage – transformation – is where you really see the impact on overall business performance. A lab that is prepared for disruption and is ready to overcome obstacles will create competitive differentiation for their business."
Start your lab preparedness journey by considering these four critical areas:
Asset Lifecycle Performance Management
First, it’s important to know your lab instrumentation base well, so you understand where the opportunities are to improve efficiency, and where you may be most vulnerable in a disruptive situation. Asset Lifecycle Performance Management starts by tracking assets to provide visibility and financial clarity. CrossLab Asset Monitoring is part of the CrossLab Connect group of services, designed to help labs get greater visibility and control.
The new uncertainty is creating more demand for flexible ways to access and operate the latest technology within constrained budgets. Agilent offers an array of new acquisition options, including lease financing and shorter-term rentals of instruments as more flexible alternatives to outright purchase. Labs also have the option to buy certified pre-owned instruments directly from us. When your instrument is at the end of its lifecycle for your business, you can often trade it in towards newer technology. Alternatively, the Agilent CrossLab team can facilitate an environmentally safe recycling approach.
Digital Lab Connectivity
"Lab-wide connectivity is critical to getting the most out of your lab equipment, no matter where you are," says Kristin GIffin, VP and General Manager of Agilent Services and Support organization. "It is the tool that can make you most prepared for disruption."
Today’s instruments have smart technology that can self diagnose, troubleshoot, and support optimal maintenance. New tools like CrossLab Smart Alerts send alerts when instruments need consumables or experience trouble. Lab-wide connectivity lets you monitor all your instruments, access performance data, even troubleshoot, remotely. Ultimately, lab data enables insight analytics that drive good decisions and planning.
Digital tools also help remote teams stay as productive as possible. "Today’s training capabilities through Agilent University are broad and deep," continued Giffin. "We have virtual instructor-led courses replacing in-person courses and hundreds of on-demand courses online, with guided learning paths to support all skill levels."
Like good neighbors, strategic lab partners with operational expertise can keep your lab running during unexpected events. "In the current environment, we have had lab managers ask us to step in and supplement their staff to manage things we would not normally," says Marc Boreham.
Agilent can support your lab with program and project management and additional staff, which can significantly improve your team’s efficiency without adding to your payroll headcount. Depending on the requirements, a project or program manager can help you manage the details of a complex task, change management, or ongoing lab management requirements. Having a team who is familiar with your operations enables you to have flexibility in the face of disruption.
Agilent CrossLab can support management of suppliers and vendors to manage lab-wide resources, taking administrative burden off the reduced on-site staff. "We have the industry knowledge to support these requests, and can sometimes even drive cost savings while increasing service quality," says Marc.
"Work disruption does not relieve labs of their requirements to comply with regulatory guidelines," says Steve Cohan, VP of the Customer Service Organization. The Agilent Automated Compliance Engine can help ensure that distractions for your staff don’t lead to vulnerabilities in your compliance program.
The Agilent Automated Compliance Engine enables a harmonized, paperless, and lab-wide compliance qualification process. It can be installed within your IT network for significant data integrity advantages. CrossLab service people can assist with instrument qualifications, even computer system validations, freeing up your staff for mission-critical work.
To learn more about Agilent CrossLab capabilities, or request personal follow up on any of these topics, visit www.agilent.com/crosslab/contactus.
Steve Cohan, VP, GM Customer Service Organization, leads the 3,300+ field service team who complete more that one million service calls each year around the world.
Kristin Giffin, VP, GM Services and Support, leads the team developing core service offerings that include Agilent instrument services plans, Agilent University, Workflow Consulting, and more.
Marc Boreham, VP, GM, Enterprise Services, leads the team developing new lab-wide operational capabilities, including multi-vendor services, program management, relocations, and asset management.