Laboratory staff at Glatfelter have established an extremely close, ongoing working relationship with Autoscribe. This has allowed the design and implementation in just 3 months of a configured Matrix Gemini LIMS for the company's corporate analytical services group.
Established since 1864, global paper supplier Glatfelter has expanded its product range from high-quality book publishing papers and envelopes to an array of highly technical products such as self-adhesive labels, papers for bill boards, reflective road signs, holographic printing and tea bags. Glatfelter's corporate analytical services group is involved in a wide range of activities across the group:
- Assisting in product development and process improvements
- Helping end customers in the best use of Glatfelter products
- Providing environmental analyses
- Addressing customer issues or complaints
The laboratory offers a wide range of analytical capabilities including instrumental techniques such as ICP. FTIR, GCMS, HPLC. SEM, EDS and numerous others.
The corporate analytical services group at Glatfelter carries out around 25,000 analyses per year, so the major challenge is managing the workflow for an efficient use of the facilities and a fast turn round of results. Headquartered in Pennsylvania, USA, with manufacturing facilities in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, and customers throughout the world, Glatfelter receives samples from a multitude of different sources. Around 80% of the samples need to be analysed using multiple techniques and be handled by many different analysts. Samples are received daily and must be logged in. allocated for testing and their test priorities set. Each morning, the analysts must allocate their workload for the day. The need for an automated management system became evident several years ago and a management system based on Microsoft Access™ was developed internally. While this served a purpose, each new version of Access necessitated a redesign of the system and a lot of time and effort had to be put into simply maintaining the system. This, combined with reducing support for Access within the organisation, led to the decision to implement a commercial LIMS. This, in turn, created additional challenges, since it was imperative that the LIMS chosen would:
- Fully meet Glatfelter's needs
- Include traceability and audit trails, especially for environmental samples
- Be cost-effective
However, by far and away the biggest challenge for the new LIMS was that it had to be implemented within a realistic time frame and not tie up a lot of laboratory staff management time in the design and implementation phase, especially as the existing Access system had to be maintained during this period.
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