Everything you wanted to know about digital scheduling and capacity management

(but were afraid to ask)

How What Why Who Where When

Binocs is the #1 global market leader for digital scheduling, capacity planning, and resource management in life science laboratories, particularly those of the pharmaceutical industry. Here is everything you need to know about our operations management system, and why 40% of the top Big Pharma companies use our system to optimize their laboratory operations.

How we do it: 10 ways Binocs makes life easier for labs

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1. Demand management

Binocs acts as a hub for all incoming demand by seamlessly integrating with any third party system (including LIMS, ERP, and QMS). This means that all work—not just release and stability testing but also instrument calibration, cleaning activities, employee training, meetings, and any other tasks—can be curated in one place, providing a single source of truth for everyone in the lab.

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 teams can immediately know what needs to be executed—and when—in order to protect their service level.

2. Operational management

Using our fully customizable services, Binocs allows labs to fully define their test methods following an established standard work model. This allows the system to factor-in variable lead times for concurrent/sequential testing, work within specific operational constraints, adhere to instrumentation requirements, and follow allocation dependencies to ensure fully quality-compliant peer-reviewing and double-checking standards. Thanks to our out-of-the-box KPIs, labs can readily review expected vs actual lead times and make adjustments to their master data accordingly.

And, to ensure the best person is always assigned to the task, Binocs defines and tracks employee training in an intuitive competence matrix. In this way, not only is each individual’s suitability to execute a service or activity logged, managers can also readily identify, at a glance, where gaps can be filled with cross-training!

3. Capacity planning

The roots of the Binocs technology are in capacity planning—it’s where the product started and it remains a central pillar of our commitment to excellence. The system seamlessly connects demand forecasts to automated operating models to provide a comprehensive preview of the expected workload, months or years in advance. This immediately allows planners to compare previews of upcoming work against the lab’s expected ability to execute based on staffing levels in any given period. Because Binocs knows who is available and competent to deliver work, where and when, it can automatically identify capacity bottlenecks and the resultant impact on service levels weeks or even months in advance.

With planners able to foresee potential capacity issues before they occur, they can use our what-if scenario analysis feature to simulate different solutions and identify the best way forward—for instance, by increasing in-house capacity or by anticipating the need to outsource analyses during peak periods. That way, last-minute firefighting on the shop floor can be kept to a minimum!

4. AI-enabled scheduling

By knowing all the incoming work requests, each team member’s training and availabilty, key instrumentation parameters, and the details of test methods and standard work, Binocs represents a digital twin of each laboratory. That means it has all the necessary information to construct an optimized schedule of work, with tasks automatically assigned to the best person for the job at the right time to maximize the likelihood of on-time delivery.

Where it once took a lab planner hours of work and careful manipulation of complex Excel spreadsheets, our AI-enhanced algorithms mean that weeks of work can be optimally scheduled (and re-scheduled) in mere seconds. Binocs represents a smart co-bot, a turbo-charged scheduling engine that takes away the complicated and repetitive task of calculating workplans, while continuing to give the human planner the final say on all allocations. Once finalized, every team member can see exactly what they need to do, when, with which key intruments, and can mark their tasks as executed in real time to ensure everyone has visibility on progress.

5. Campaign management

Although a LIMS is an indispensable asset in any modern QC laboratory, most such systems simply aren’t equipped to support lab operations between sample reception and the logging of test results. This is especially true for analyses where multiple samples can be tested in a single run—a LIMS may provide a sample runsheet, perhaps grouped by test and product type, however this is little more than a static best-guess list with no insight into the status of other (re-)tests and prioritizations.

Thanks to our zero-code integration, however, Binocs is ideally placed to seamlessly pick up the responsibilty of sample management from the LIMS when samples arrive in the lab. Combined with its status as a digital twin of the laboratory, Binocs can be set up to automatically group samples into campaigns based on any criteria defined by the lab staff themselves. Providing at-a-glance visualizations of each campaign’s fill rate and latest safe delivery date, the Campaign Manager feature allows for immediate stop-go decisions and can even be automated to launch when a minimum fill rate or maximum date are reached. Once a campaign is launched, the relevant tests are scheduled and assigned to the best individual(s) for execution, providing them with a clear and fully up-to-date list of precisely which samples to analyze and when.

6. Autologous therapy slot allocation

Binocs isn’t only about Quality Control planning—due to our unique combination of technologies, we’re also ideally placed to support production planning for cell and gene therapy (CGT) products. This is especially important for autologous therapies, where treatments are developed from time-sensitive samples collected from the patients themselves. Due to the narrow time windows involved—typically 24 to 48 hours before the tissue becomes inviable—it is critical that samples can be collected and shipped to the manufacturing site and then be processed almost immediately.

To maximize the likelihood of this being achievable, Binocs works backwards from the manufacturing site (either in-house at the developer or at a CDMO), first planning the production schedule, then identifying available manufacturing slots for processing tissue into product, and then extrapolating from that an appropriate apheresis appointment that will allow sufficient time for the sample to be collected, shipped and delivered to meet the relevant slot. In this way, Binocs significantly reduces the coordination effort required by treatment center staff and reduces the strain on patients.

7. Performance management

Information is power and a lot of information goes into making Binocs an accurate digital twin: each batch uploaded to the Demand Manager, every test execution, each sample grouped into a campaign, every record of staff training—these are all data points saved in the system. The value of those data points extends beyond the purely operational: they represent critical information that can be used to assess and improve laboratory performance and that’s why we believe they should be available and accessible to our users. 

With Binocs, labs can start tracking their performance from Day One. We offer a range of ways for users to interface with their data, from out-of-the-box KPIs that have been especially designed for laboratory operations, to customizable and interactuive Gantt charts; or from intuitive capacity reports to our catalog of off-the-shelf dashboards, everything has been created with our users in mind. This means we provide labs with the tools they need to bring their performance to the highest level and we help senior management to simplify the harmonization, reporting and enhancement of data across their entire QC network.

8. Zero-code integration

The modern laboratory is every bit as much a connected data ecosysten as it is a physical place. That’s why a key principle of the Binocs philosophy is to offer optimized interoperability with the entire network of digital laboratory systems. We have long championed agnostic integration and provided a fully RESTful API to facilitate seamless connectivity with critical sources of lab data, such as LIM systems, ERPs and QMSs.

What does this mean in practice? Well, for one thing it means that labs don’t need a dedicated IT team with hacker-level coding skills! In fact, setting up a connection with another system is pretty much as simple as plug and play, a few pointers from our Support team and work requests can be arriving from a LIMS or any other source in real time!

9. Supply chain-QC integration

Despite being a critical component of the product release pipeline—and routinely being the biggest contributor to overall end-to-end lead times—QC teams often get overlooked in S&OP meetings and are rarely afforded the opportunity to participate in supply chain planning discussions. Nevertheless, we know from long experience that optimized Quality operations have much to offer the wider organization and that better connectivity between QC and Supply Chain can make all the difference in shaving precious hours and days from E2E lead times.

That’s why we support a more joned-up approach to supply chain planning, providing systems that connect the dots and pull data together from across the pipeline to coordinate test plans based on stratified priorities. We build that interaction into our entire approach, developing maturity models to ensure that our clients strike the right balance between advancing their digital plannign capabilities and the extent of their QC-SC integration.

10. Embedded support

We’re more than a software house, we believe in providing a full service to our clients to ensure that they can get the most value out of Binocs. It’s not enough to simply replace old ways of working with a shiny digitalized analog—we’re committed to delivering intelligent laboratory digitalization. From Day One, members of our implementation team can be on site to ensure that master data and standard practices are accurately reflected in a lab’s digital twin. This is designed to help make the transition to a new way of working as easy as possible.

In the same vein, team members can immediately access our fully-online e-learning Academy that has been developed specifically to help bring users up to speed in how to get the most from the Binocs system on a practical, day-to-day level. Once everything is up and running, all team members have full access to comprehensive and clear user guidance via our online Knowledge Base, which featuring helpful articles clearly explaining every feature in detail. And our comprehensive support also extends to a dedicated team of specialists who are available to answer technical questions.

What we do: 5 Binocs value propositions in resource management

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At Binocs, we conduct a thorough business value assessment for all prospective projects, focusing on capacity planning, digital scheduling, and resource management, to ensure that we can fully deliver on client expectations and requirements in pharmaceutical laboratories. Here are five key value drivers that existing customers report as representing quantifiable operational benefits:

1. Optimized asset utilization with capacity management

Poor asset utilization in pharmaceutical laboratories leads to increased costs and inefficiency. Underused staff and equipment waste resources and negatively impact competitiveness and innovation. Capacity planning and detailed digital scheduling are indispensable for optimizing analyst and equipment utilization rates.


Labs that have implemented Binocs typically report at least a 20% improvement in their staff and instrument utilization rates.

2. Enhanced analyst productivity with effective resource management

Maintaining a high level of productivity among lab staff is crucial for increasing throughput, reducing time to market for new products, and maximizing cost-effectiveness through improved resource management. Many challenges in pharmaceutical laboratories can be resolved by automating time-consuming manual processes.


Through effective sample management and prioritization, workflow optimization, and competence-based task allocation, laboratories report that Binocs enhances test processing rates by up to 10%.

3. Reduced end-to-end lead times in pharmaceutical release

The end-to-end production pipeline can be lengthy process. The Quality Control stage often represents 55% of the overall goods receipt processing time (GRPT) and blocks up to 45% of all inventory at any time. It is therefore critical to reduce the GRPT as much as possible to enhance efficiency, minimize costs, and accelerate the delivery of vital medications to market.


Pharmaceutical QC laboratories that use Binocs to plan their assets report an average GRPT reduction of 3 days. Yet further savings can be achieved through handshake integration between QC, Supply Chain, and Production.

4. Improved laboratory employee retention with digital scheduling

After service level and planning adherence, employee retention has become the most important KPI in Big Pharma. Personnel expenditure represents roughly 14% of the pharmaceutical sector’s entire annual operating revenue. There is therefore a significant incentive for companies to protect their investment in skilled staff. This is especially true given that, when accounting for lost productivity due to training and orientation, the cost of simply replacing a lost laboratory analyst approaches one additional year’s salary.


Pharmaceutical labs using Binocs to enhance workplan scheduling and capacity management have reported that the resulting improvements to employee wellbeing have contributed to a 50% reduction in staff turnover.

5. The power of the Cloud harnessed for operations management

Locally-installed and custom-built software for operations management is a feature of a bygone era. This legacy approach significantly increases the total cost of ownership (TCO), since on-premise applications are highly susceptible to changes in technology. This makes them subject to rapidly diminishing returns as regular (and costly) updates are required to safeguard from obsolescence.


By contrast, Binocs is a fully enterprise-ready and cloud-based application. As a SaaS (software as a service) system, Binocs can be accessed from any web browser without specialist software. It is ISO-27001 certified, fully adhering to our stringent ISMS (Information Security Management System) policies, and offering a fully secure service with a 99.9% uptime. By using a SaaS approach, all clients have access to the same high-quality and up-to-date version of the Binocs system, with quarterly product updates ensuring that the technology is constantly being enhanced and refreshed. Overall, this significantly reduces the TCO and gives peace of mind to clients.

Why we do it: 15 points to explain the Binocs philosophy

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At Binocs, we’re deeply committed to delivering more than just robust digital scheduling and resource management. We imbue every facet of our platform with principles that transcend basic functionality, elevating the client experience and pushing for greater value at every step of the way. Our overall philosophy can be summarized by the following 15 points:

Speed is of the essence in operations management. With a structured approach via Binocs FastTrack™, we can launch a proof of concept in just four weeks and fully implement our complete digital resource management system within 14 weeks. Our implementation specialists are rigorously trained to facilitate quick deployments, ensuring that clients can begin to derive value as soon as possible.

Binocs revolutionizes capacity planning, digital scheduling and operations management in pharmaceutical laboratories by employing and enhancing traditional lean lab concepts. Leveraging artificial intelligence and other digital approaches, our system reduces wastage and errors through automation, significantly superseding the benefits of traditional lean methodologies such as rhythm wheels.

In the realm of operations management, security is paramount. Alongside our rigorous ISMS policies, Binocs is proud to be the only lab resource planning and scheduling solution with full ISO-27001 certification, ensuring peace of mind alongside its expansive functionalities.

Thanks to its RESTful API, Binocs seamlessly integrates with other systems like LIMS, enhancing its role as a cornerstone in any pharmaceutical laboratory’s interconnected digital ecosystem for optimal resource management.

Binocs brings transparency into digital scheduling and capacity planning. We democratize the planning and scheduling process, enhancing communication by demystifying complex operations management in pharmaceutical laboratories.

By offering key performance indicators and visual analytics, Binocs elevates the standards of capacity planning and resource management, providing unprecedented visibility both vertically and horizontally within and between teams.

The challenge of disparate planning data and KPIs across multiple teams and sites is effortlessly solved by Binocs. We replace incompatible systems and complex Excel workbooks with a unified platform, simplifying capacity planning and ensuring streamlined operations management across organizational levels.

Binocs is co-created with its vibrant user community, ensuring the product is constantly adapted to the real-world needs of pharmaceutical labs engaged in capacity planning and operations management. Through user needs assessments, user analytics monitoring, and user beta testing, we ensure the product is always fit-for-purpose.

Whether you’re managing a single team or overseeing an entire network of sites, Binocs can scale its scheduling, capacity planning and resource management functionalities to meet your specific requirements without skipping a beat.

Binocs has built a legacy of enduring value, attracting repeat business from pharmaceutical giants like GSK, AstraZeneca, Merck KGaA, and Lilly. Not only do they keep coming back but they increase the number of global roll-outs year-on-year, continually expanding their usage based on a history of successful outcomes in operations management.

Our AI-enhanced digital scheduling and capacity planning algorithms slash planning times by limiting the amount of manual effort required from humans. This means that a weekly schedule can be ready in moments instead of hours and that entire workplans can be optimally rescheduled at the click of a button. However, Binocs here to support, not replace human decision makers–that’s why the final sign-off always lies with the Planner/Manager.

Consider Binocs as your resource management time machine! Our What-If Scenario Analysis feature allows you to look into the future to forecast problems and then rewind/fast-forward to explore potential alternatives. It also saves hours of planning time each week, which can then be banked elsewhere, as well as creating extra time where there previously was none, such as in end-to-end production planning!

Bluecrux is a specialist in making today’s supply chains into tomorrow’s value chains. As a Bluecrux technology, Binocs helps to transform supply chains into value chains by emphasizing value creation at every step. By optimizing capacity planning and digital scheduling in pharmaceutical laboratories, Binocs enhances operations management and resource management. This streamlined approach reduces waste and operational costs, turning cost centers into profitable segments and adding competitive advantage.

Binocs has a global footprint with offices in the US, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. With additional representatives in various time zones, including Asia-Pacific, we’re a global brand with a local feel.

We’re big enough to matter but small enough to care. Because Binocs isn’t just another tool in a large suite of corporate products or an add-on to an existing system, our solution is purpose-designed. By being focused solely on optimizing capacity planning, digital scheduling and resource management in pharmaceutical labs, our dedicated team of over 50 specialists can concentrate on delivering the best solution to our customers.

Who are Bluecrux and the Binocs squad?

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Where does Binocs operate?

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When: a potted history of Binocs

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  • 2011
    Bluecrux founded
  • 2015
    First Binocs model for capacity planning
  • 2018
    Binocs operating model manager introduced
  • 2019
    Binocs Performance Twin implemented
  • 2020
    Zero code integration launched
  • 2021
    CGT slot management technology developed
  • KitBox feature add-ons introduced for Binocs dashboards, workflows and integrations
  • 2022
    Binocs digital scheduling algorithm updated with AI
  • Interactive Gantt charts incorporated
  • Bluecrux and Binocs fully rebranded
  • 2023
    User co-created UX enhancements introduced