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Posted 5 December 2023 by
Adam Lester-George
Content Specialist for Binocs Technology

How to explain Binocs to your boss in under 5 minutes

It can be incredibly frustrating when there is a tool out there that you know will make your job easier but, to be able to use it, you need buy-in from decision-makers one, two, three (or more) levels above you. Whether you’re working on the lab floor or in the Quality office, the people who control the operational budget may not know what your day-to-day role truly entails—nor how an innovative technological solution could benefit you. Thankfully, however, what benefits you can also benefit them! So here’s a quick 12-point primer to help you explain the value of Binocs in the QC lab to your boss and demonstrate its potential to add value to your work, their work, and to the entire end-to-end Quality pipeline.

1. Finally, a single source of truth for all laboratory tasks—past, present, and future

In brief

With Binocs, you can gain complete visibility on all work in a single location. It’s a hub for all incoming demand, seamlessly integrating with any third party system (including LIMS, ERP, and QMS).

That way, you know what your team needs to execute—and when—in order to protect your service level.

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Staying on top of all the work requests coming into your QC lab from different internal and external sources can be a nightmare. Sure, a LIMS will keep you up-to-date on expected release and stability testing requirements, but what about your other critical tasks: instrument calibration, training sessions, meetings, etc.?

With Binocs, you and your team can gain complete visibility on all task allocations in a single location that acts as a hub for all incoming demand by seamlessly integrating with any third party system (including LIMS, ERP, and QMS). As a result, all your test plans are complete and up-to-date, and you can guarantee that everything is accounted for, meaning that urgent requests receive the priority they need in real time! With easy-to-use business rules and workflows, planners can define operating models that automate the optimized allocation of tasks arriving from any source, ensuring that you know what your team needs to execute—and when—in order to protect your service level.

2. A level of control over operational capacity you didn’t even know was possible

In brief

Binocs was built to optimize capacity planning—it’s where we started and it’s in our blood.

Ultimately, everything in the platform has been designed to present clear, intuitive information to provide you with the easiest path to capacity confidence at all levels.

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Can you point to someone in your organization who knows what work will be expected in the QC lab in the coming weeks or months? How about in 2 years time? And can they foresee capacity bottlenecks in advance, deftly dodging potential crises before they occur so there isn’t the constant need for firefighting on the lab floor? Or, conversely, can they readily put a number on the amount of extra work the lab can take on without incurring overtime? If you can identify a person who successfully achieves this, give them a medal!

But, if not, you might be interested to learn that Binocs was built to optimize capacity planning—it’s where we started and it’s in our blood. We connect demand forecasts to automated operating models to provide a comprehensive preview of the expected workload, months or years in advance. Our at-a-glance reporting presents clear visualizations of the amount of work expected to be delivered late versus on time and provides intuitive comparisons of best case workload against what can be achieved with actual capacity. Spot a seemingly intractable bottleneck on the horizon? Our native what-if scenario analysis feature allows you to effortlessly simulate different tactics to bring capacity back on track. All told, Binocs offers the clearest path to capacity confidence—for individual labs, entire sites, or across the whole QC network.

3. A system that works for you—not the other way around

In brief

Binocs is a purpose-designed platform built around use cases just like yours.

The system is there to make life easier for labs, taking the lead from our engaged user community to provide the best possible tool for the job.

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You have a process for managing your lab planning. It’s a complicated process, spread across multiple systems. There’s a highly complex web of Excel workbooks with convoluted data linkings. There’s also that in-house solution that was hacked together years ago. With patience, careful maintenance, half a week’s dedicated attention, and a dose of good luck, you can probably still get the numbers you need this month. Exhausting though, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s time to say good-bye to your Rube Goldberg solution and opt for something that will do the heavy lifting without giving you a hernia (or a stomach ulcer). Fortunately, the entire Binocs system has been developed from the ground up specifically with pharmaceutical labs in mind. We’re not an add-on, an afterthought, or a side hustle, this is what we do and we do it really well! Everything you see in Binocs is there for a reason—to make your life easier. And we know how to do that because we have active and ongoing engagement from our established user community, who guide our design choices to ensure they are clear and fit-for-purpose. We want to let the technology do the hard work so you don’t have to.

4. Now you can benchmark and harmonize your test method master data like a pro

In brief

Binocs lets you outline all your method details in a digital twin of your lab. You can configure variable lead times for different test types, operational constraints, and specific instrumentation requirements.

With all that information defined, our KPIs can give you the exact feedback you need to adjust your lead time estimates.

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So, you’ve got your test methods established and you’re working to defined lead times. But how do you know those lead times are accurate—were they measured with the equipment your lab uses today? Are all the analysts in your team actually working to those lead times? And what about your sister lab 1,000km away—are your procedures the same as theirs? Are they even the same as in other labs at your own site?! Lots of questions but maybe not so many answers…

Thankfully, the digitalized service model in Binocs allows you to fully define all your methods, factoring in variable lead times for concurrent/sequential testing, operational constraints, and specific instrumentation requirements. From there, it’s a piece of cake to measure KPIs and adjust your lead time estimates with real, empirical data—and to achieve this across the entire QC network!

5. Leverage AI to schedule people, instruments, and tests like no human can

In brief

Our AI-enhanced algorithms mean that schedules can be finalized in seconds, and re-scheduled just as easily.

Not only will tests be delivered on time, you can be confident that the right people will be assigned to tasks at the right time.

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For a lot of software vendors, artificial intelligence is the buzzword at the moment. But, with Binocs, AI has been a cornerstone of our approach to intelligent scheduling since long before ChatGPT dominated the zeitgeist. Our smart algorithms take all the data from your lab’s digital twin—information about your incoming work requests, the availability of your personnel and equipment, individual training levels, the priority of testing requirements, your test method standard work configuration, and your instrumentation’s capacity for sample grouping—and optimizes all of it, everything, just like that, at the click of a button!

No more impenetrably complex spreadsheets. Gone are the rhythm wheels that require constant adjustment (or, worse, can’t be updated to reflect unexpected changes). Schedules that once took hours or days to formulate manually can now be finalized in seconds, and re-scheduled just as easily. And, because all methods can be configured as sequences of dependent activities with constraints defined by your team, you can be confident that the right people will be assigned to double-checking and validation tasks at the right time, ensuring fully quality-compliant end-to-end processes.

6. Optimize work allocations based on the best person for the job

In brief

Our competency matrix allows an at-a-glance overview of everyone’s training status for all tasks and method. It also means that Binocs always knows who’s the right person for any given task.

For training with a defined end date, our re-training monitor allows management to track recertification deadlines and book refresher courses in time.

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It’s one thing to plan work allocations efficiently but it’s quite something else to do so equitably. How many analysts are there in your lab team, ten? Twenty? And how many methods and instruments is each analyst trained to use? And to which level? Already that’s a lot to keep track of. Now factor in the range of tasks: even if there’s a lot of cross-training on the lab floor, it’s often the case that some team members end up being assigned the same tasks day in, day out. If your laboratory uses a self-assignment system, this might sound pretty familiar. So how easy is it for your planner not only to identify the best person for the job based on their individual competencies, but also to ensure that tasks are being allocated fairly and consistently across the entire team?

Binocs takes team member training as a starting point for all work assignments. Our competency matrix allows an at-a-glance overview of everyone’s training status for all tasks and methods, accounting for certification expiry dates and specific activity preferences. Combined with information about everyone’s day-to-day availability and shift patterns, the system optimizes the schedule to ensure that tasks are allocated to the best person for the job, not simply based on a first come, first served system! We even provide a re-training monitor, so lab management can keep track of recertification needs and plan training accordingly—that way, no-one loses their accreditation and your team doesn’t lose capacity!

7. At last, an intuitive way to manage sample testing when LIMS is OOS

In brief

Every lab needs a LIMS but one thing they’re not designed to do support your test management on the shop floor.

Because Binocs integrates with any LIMS, it can optimally manage testing and sample grouping in between logging reception and execution.

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It’s a simple fact: a LIMS is an indispensable asset in any modern QC laboratory. But what happens in between sample reception and logging test execution results? Truth be told, it’s a bit of a black hole in the LIMS approach. Maybe, if you’re lucky, yours will provide you with a list of samples grouped by test method or product type and then, until it’s time to update the system with results (hours or days later), you’re basically on your own. But you don’t have to be!

Binocs integrates with any LIMS to receive sample and batch information in real time, providing a seamless handshake so we can support you on the lab floor—we know which equipment supports sample grouping, we know when it’s free, and we know when you’re the person with the right training and availability to execute the tests. We’ll give you the information you need so all you have to do is get the samples where they should be and then you can focus on your skilled tasks instead of unnecessary admin.

8. Yes, you can have that vacation time!

In brief

Binocs offers full visibility on upcoming schedules far in advance while effortlessly facilitating short term changes to workplans with minimal disruption.

Laboratory staff can plan their time—and their off—with confidence, reducing stress and enhancing wellbeing.

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It’s the classic scenario: your lab’s work schedule is manually managed by a planner who is overworked, underequipped, and has to juggle a thousand different considerations. It’s not their fault but the fact is, you often simply don’t know what you’re going to be doing next week until Thursday rolls around. Combine that with unpredictable demand variability and urgent last minute requests, and perhaps living week-to-week means you can’t even plan-in your vacation time. With Binocs, the entire team schedule can be established weeks in advance, with short-term updates easily integrated at the click of a button.

All of this means that you, your colleagues, and even your boss can book annual leave with confidence. Binocs helps to reduce unnecessary overtime requirements, decreases uncertainty anxiety and generally helps to improve overall wellbeing in the lab—because if everyone knows where they stand, the entire team is happier, and that’s something we already know makes the workplace a better place to be.

9. Learn from and improve lab performance with actionable analytics

In brief

Every piece of information you input into the Binocs system is a datapoint that has the potential to help improve your performance—so we ensure it is all easily available to you.

Binocs gives you the tools to allow you to start tracking and enhancing performance from Day One.

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Data is power. No doubt, your laboratory already has processes in place that allow your team to manage resources, plan schedules, and assess capacity bottlenecks. But how easy is it to aggregate all the process inputs into usable, actionable data that you can learn from? Does anyone in the lab itself have a clear oversight of what’s going on? Are outcomes assessments constrained by the functionality of that one Excel Pivot chart that your colleague set up before they left 5 years ago? Frustrating isn’t it, knowing that the data is there but you can’t effectively leverage it to improve your performance?

With Binocs, every data point is at your fingertips. Each time a batch is uploaded to the demand manager, every time a user executes a test, every group of samples that is campaigned together—it’s all there in the system, and we believe it should all be easily available to you. That’s why we place so much importance on providing clear and accessible reporting and visualizations: because inputting the information is only one half of the job. Our out-of-the-box KPIs come pre-loaded to allow you to start tracking performance from Day One, automatically updated with your data in real time. For those who want to dig deeper and gain more insights, we offer a catalog of off-the-shelf dashboards and custom visualizations designed to help pinpoint precisely what is (and isn’t) working. And for the data analysts in the organization, all that delicious data is right there, ready to be analyzed via custom reports and SQL queries. Whatever your requirements, we give you the tools to bring your performance to the highest level—whether it’s for one lab or an entire network.

10. A platform you can use with ease because you know we’ve got your back

In brief

We do everything we can to support you and your team in making the transition to Binocs in your laboratory.

Our implementation specialists, online Academy, comprehensive Knowledge Base, and Support team are there to make your digital transformation journey a truly transformative experience.

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Engaging with any new digital platform involves a steep learning curve and the transition cost can be high, especially when it replaces one or more long-established processes—the last thing you need in that situation is to feel unsupported. From the beginning, members of our implementation team can be on site to ensure that master data and standard practices are accurately reflected in your Binocs digital twin, making that transition as easy as possible. Meanwhile, you can access our fully-online e-learning Academy that has been designed specifically to help bring users like you up to speed in how to get the most from the Binocs system. Additional courses are even available to train super users, meaning that your team can have one or more in-house Binocs Champions!

But that’s not all: everyone also has full access to comprehensive and clear user guidance via our online Knowledge Base, featuring articles clearly explaining every feature in detail. Got some more technical problems and not sure how to proceed? That’s why our dedicated Support team is on hand!

11. Bring Lean visual management into your digitalized lab

In brief

Binocs brings lean philosophies into the connected lab with digital visual management on every level.

Our intuitive Schedule Board, Execution Kanban, operational status pages (and much more) all leverage the advantages of digital to provide the clearest visual summaries.

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Most laboratories are well-versed in Lean methodologies these days, it’s an approach that really revolutionized clarity and efficiency in the workplace—10 years ago. You probably use many Lean visual management techniques every day to ensure that anyone entering the lab can understand the current operational status in under 5 minutes. A wall-mounted planning board, carefully labeled batch records, clearly sequenced sample trains, categorized T-cards: these are all great systems for improving performance in a pen-and-paper world but your lab is already well along the path of digital transformation. Isn’t it time your approach to visual management caught up?

Let’s start with that planning board. The Binocs equivalent, the Schedule board, gives your team members complete visibility on what each person has planned. Unlike the board on your wall, ours allows instantaneous filtering, so you can display only your own tasks, just those activities associated with your current test, or all planned work linked to a specific batch or instrument. You can see, at-a-glance, which of your activities risks resulting in late delivery, precisely which samples should be campaigned together for your analysis, and any comments left by fellow team members. And you can see all this from any web browser! Then there’s our Execution Kanban board, which enhances your task execution process by providing a simple, visually clear drag-and-drop system to view and update the status of your day’s tasks. And, for that critical overview of operational status—for the individual, the lab, or all the labs in a network—our custom landing page can bring that 5 minute time limit down to about… 25 seconds! The first thing you see when you log into Binocs, this one-look screen will tell you everything you need to know about where and when critical activities are planned and where current task progression stands.

12. More than just capacity planning and scheduling!

Interested in learning more about the full range of support that Binocs can offer your QC lab? Why not reach out for a free demo today!