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Reports & Metrics in Life Sciences

How Optimizing Access to Reports & Detailed Metrics Maximizes ROI

Reports & Metrics - 29 June 2016

By Anne-Marie Pinet, System Analyst, SOLABS

As part of our monthly SOLABS technology blog series, we’re speaking with our developers and analysts on their reflections on the industry, its development and rapid changes, and how their area of current focus may be pertinent to compliance/regulatory and the future of Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS) software.

For this interview, we’re talking with a SOLABS System Analyst, Anne-Marie Pinet, whose current work finds her collaborating closely with both clients and an internal Development team on Reporting in general, and more specifically, some of the less obvious uses for its valuable and detailed metrics.

Reports & Detailed Metrics Interview

Dan Harbridge [DH]: So Reporting is pretty garden-variety these days—Excel .csv exports, pivot tables, Crystal reports, Cognos reports, etc.—and yet there are many people who do not leverage their available reporting data, who may not even consult it. How do you bring it up with customers that they might not be looking at the entire available picture?

Anne-Marie Pinet [AMP]: It’s a great point! Many may not understand the finer differences too between short- and long-term trending, metrics, and how they may or may not see it helping them. One great example, though, that you can pretty well interest everyone with, is in the context where they take customer complaints and examine them—by production line, by shift, after new packaging, after ingredient shifts—and they’ll find, I can guarantee them, interesting things.

Say 10% of customer complaints at any given time are as a result of training issues—well, that is easy and relatively inexpensive to fix. And you’re talking about reducing the number of complaints by 1 in 10, so it’s hard to value that, but it definitely has a return on investment (ROI). Something may cost nothing to fix, but may save disproportionately more than that just by being addressed.

DH: Okay, so you’ve been in the industry for a while. What are some good reports stories?

AMP: Let me use an example of animal labs in pre-clinical trial companies, contract research organizations (CROs). How can a manager determine if their staff is sufficiently trained to bid, for example, on a contract that involves lots of lab rat handling? They would run an HR training report on user skills before they make the bid, to see if they have sufficient manpower and skill, to see if they’re equipped to even bid on it.

So you find out exactly how trained your employees are so you can nail the bid for the contract without under- or over-bidding. It’s a lot of work to gather this info manually and/or it doesn’t exist in that form—we’re talking someone having to go through all the Lab Techs’ HR files manually. In SOLABS QM you theoretically output one report.

"Reports are frequently used as a direct part of the regulatory or compliance requirements. Some reports are mandated that users have on hand... Good laboratory practice (GLP) requires that a master schedule be available via reporting at any given time."

Anne-Marie Pinet
System Analyst, SOLABS

DH: And besides the more robust reports, there’s also simple reporting through the SOLABS interface, right?

AMP: Yeah, well, if you can call it that: any of the View functions provide simple reporting: if you want to have reports on how many processes are pending approval, or how many documents of each type are in the Effective status, how many employees per department, etc., you can get this, for example, through filtering your search, or by using the left Navigation/View tables from the Home page as a user with advanced permissions.

DH: So besides what we traditionally think of as reports, there are mandatory reports generated for inspections and audits too, right?

AMP: Reports are frequently used as a direct part of the regulatory or compliance requirements. Some reports are mandated that users have on hand, or are ready to generate on the fly. Good laboratory practice (GLP) requires that a master schedule be available via reporting at any given time.

In the case of Sarbanes-Oxley, ISO 9001, or finance, for example: companies have to demonstrate that users using XYZ system are all trained on it. They have to be able to show that all users are capable and functioning. The auditor is potentially asking you to show that all users are trained on a specific standard operating procedure (SOP), and you provide that proof through a report.

Once you get good at asking the right questions and getting valuable reports back, reporting may lead to even further knowledge and/or more happy conclusions, but it may also lead you to monitor more variables. Because as you progress, the more you know, the more you want to know—if you think about it, the answer—if you will—to one report is the question that becomes the next one!

DH: Anne-Marie, thanks for speaking with us!


About the Author
Anne-Marie Pinet is passionate about being among the first points of contact for many SOLABS QM clients and implementations. As a Business Analyst with over 25 years of experience in computer science, mainly acquired in the Life Science Industry (at Charles River Laboratories & Quintiles), Anne-Marie is known for her strong analytical skills and for her ability to think outside of the box. Some of her key drivers are team spirit and customer/end-user satisfaction.

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