Steady growth and an increase in regulations were taking their toll on Alpha Analytical Laboratories and the lab’s information infrastructure no longer met their needs. It became difficult to effectively track samples and instrument data was manually entered—taking resources away from other activities.
Alpha Analytical selected Element LIMS from Promium as the backbone of the lab’s information infrastructure. The implementation of Element LIMS streamlined and automated the sample management process as well as strengthened procedures for quality control and reporting.
Alpha Analytical Laboratories, Inc. located in Ukiah, California, is an ELAP-compliant analytical laboratory specializing in environmental and water testing since 1975. Clients include water companies, municipalities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), other government agencies, and engineering firms. Specializing in analyzing drinking water, wastewater and characterizing matrices for hazardous waste, the lab’s library of certified methodology is offered through Wet Chemistry, Inorganic, Organic, Metals and Fish Bioassay divisions. Alpha Analytical employs over fifty analysts, scientists, and other laboratory staff and has two locations encompassing over 13,000 square feet of processing space.
For well over three decades, lab owner and director Bruce Gove and his partner, Rob Phillips were successful in staying current with regulatory requirements and incorporating industry standards in the operations of Alpha Analytical. But eventually the growth in the number of customers and the volume of analyses from those customers began to put a strain on the lab. Compounding the issue was an increase in the number and complexity of regulations from Federal, State and Municipal agencies.
The lab employed a rudimentary laboratory information management system (LIMS) but it was exceedingly difficult to perform basic management functions. As Gove noted, “We could no longer efficiently track samples all the way through the lab and it was very difficult to really know what we physically had in-house.” Manual activities also put pressure on scientists and the QC group as additional hours were spent checking and correcting data entry. Gove had decided it was time to implement a new LIMS.
Having seen several other LIMS over the years, Gove knew what he wanted. “We wanted something that would be simple to use and could help manage our samples from the beginning of the process to the final report.” Alpha Analytical also considered developing a system internally but the team quickly concluded that the effort would be expensive, time consuming and would not produce a product they could support.
Element LIMS from Promium was selected as the LIMS for Alpha and was implemented over the course of several weeks. The management team identified four key criteria to determine success and has been very satisfied with the results. Their goal was to implement a system that was: 1) easy to use, 2) affordable, 3) would strengthen quality management, and most importantly 4) delivered improvements in productivity.
Element LIMS has become indispensable to laboratory operations. Lab owner Gove concludes, “I can’t imagine where we’d be without Element LIMS.” He and Watson noted several features and functions that have made the difference to the laboratory.
Alpha Analytical has come to see Promium as a true business partner. “Promium has been excellent to work with—we could not have grown the laboratory without them,” concludes lab owner Gove.