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Alchemy’s Unique Approach to ELN

Marko Gacesa
February 11, 2020

As I mentioned in a prior post, lab and technical service work is mission-critical and core to every chemical company’s operations.

Why is that? Servicing products that are in market drives sales today and new product development is the engine of future revenue.

ELN Today. However, despite that, many chemists do their formulating and testing work with the support of Microsoft Excel and a paper lab notebook for notes. After lots of analysis, formatting and charting, they copy and paste key data tables and charts into their legacy lab notebook software as a permanent record of the key data. Usually the data then sits behind an obscure project name that often only that particular chemist knows or an auto-generated number that provides a few high-level categories of info about the product category or project type. While this approach is well understood and efficient for the individual chemist, the challenges are that:

  • Specific project work is difficult to find by others who are looking for information contained within data tables which is often not searchable.
  • The full arc and potentially numerous sub-loops of (re)formulating - testing - analysis - are not usually copied back into the ELN software, so information is missing except on the individual chemist’s computer or potentially somewhere on the LAN.
  • Critical processing or testing details are often missing.
  • Manager reviews and feedback often happen in email, so are not captured. This means that critical decisions and rationale are also missing.

A Better ELN Experience. At Alchemy we have a different vision for this entire ELN experience. We digitize core lab workflows and embed ELN into them. This enables companies to connect opportunities to lab processes and technical data across the lifecycle of lab work from a concept through R&D, product development, in-market customer service and derivative products.

Out of the gate all lab project work resides in one digital space that enables opportunity assessment, project prioritization, staffing, a detailed plan of action in the lab. The built-in ELN powers the formulating, characterization, testing, analysis, and reporting portions of lab project work.

The benefits of workflow automation with ELN built in are:

  • Improved customer responsiveness to support sales today
  • Faster time to revenue on new products tomorrow
  • Visibility to the status of all lab work in the system that is complete and automated
  • AI-ready data at scale including the full data arc of each project and across all projects.

Having analytical tools built in to the ELN allows users to formulate, test, analyze, and chart the resulting data with the click of a button. Imagine being able to visualize formulation performance data directly at the point of data capture. No more copying and pasting, no more multiple tools, no more moving tables and charts from file to file and saving versions of them on your laptop, the LAN and in legacy ELN. Instead, everything - the data, the tools, the charts, and the repository - is consolidated in one.

Every data table in your project can be charted at the click of a button. See the chart icon below in the turquoise box.

You can easily highlight the cells of data you want to graph and then choose the chart type:

Select how you want to analyze your data:

And format the chart:

While a seemingly simple feature, benefits accrue to both the chemist and their company.

  • Chemists save time by having everything - their data, tools, analyses and charts - in one place
  • They can collaborate digitally with teammates about their data and charts without risking file versioning issues
  • Chemists get to focus on the most valuable component of their work - the chemistry - versus finding and administering files or keeping team members up to speed.

At the same time, companies benefits from:

  • Projects can be completed faster and more efficiently
  • Automatic, time stamped capture of a team’s full body of work on a project is stored in the company’s master lab data repository
  • The data is searchable and reusable so future projects can benefit from the company’s aggregate digital knowledge base.

Overall, this feature feeds positive feedback loops in other processes and business objectives and this is exactly what should be happening with all features of a next generation ELN.

More on Product in Q2.

“Easy to understand system with tremendous flexibility and industry-specific workflows - the upside here is undeniable.”

- Coatings R&D Director

“Seeing that materials created in the system can be dynamically linked to create TDS/SDSs is a game changer.”

- Additives QC Technician

“The best experience was how detailed the live demos were. I rarely see such quality in a full rollout, much less a trial.”

-  Cosmetics IT Vice President

“Translating what was learned during the one-on-one sessions and actually doing it in Alchemy was awesome.”

-  Coatings Application Expert
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