Data is vital in a heavily regulated industry such as life sciences. IoT can provide considerable insight across the entire value chain, whether digitizing research and development or reducing operational expenditures.
Every function within the R&D space—from scientists to researchers to equipment managers and IT teams—has its unique requirements and use of data derived from IoT solutions.
And while data is necessary to each area of the business, it becomes powerful when data is harnessed and analyzed holistically. But to achieve this complete view, enterprises need flexible UI access and robust integrations available with their IoT solution.
Doing so presents an opportunity to generate insights that can lower capital and operational spending, automate mundane tasks enabling the ‘upskilling’ of workers, improve decision-making, and allow exceptional levels of visibility, productivity, and efficiency.
Real-time Location Data is Key for Different Users
In the equipment management world of life sciences, ERPs (enterprise resource planning systems), WMSs (warehouse management systems), CMMSs (computerized maintenance management systems), and LIMSs (laboratory information management system) often function as the definitive ‘source of truth’ for equipment metadata. Descriptive attributes like equipment owner, assigned business unit, and calibration schedules all live within these systems. Some may have needs for audit schedules, while others may have specific workflow requirements.
But despite having systems that serve as the ‘source of truth,’ equipment managers, for example, find themselves walking around a large facility looking for high-value portable assets to audit their inventory, manage PAR (periodic automatic replenishment) levels, and complete equipment calibrations on schedule. This manual process is inefficient and costs time and money.
For equipment supervisors, managing tasks for a few assets is doable. But as research labs scale and thousands of assets need tracking, the problem gets infinitely more complex. Oftentimes an asset can ‘have legs’ – researchers will move a piece of equipment from Lab 1 to Lab 2 without a formal move request. It creates a problem where the system of record becomes inaccurate, and the only person who knows the equipment’s location is the researcher. So, when the equipment supervisor wants to calibrate or complete their inventory audit for that equipment, they will struggle to do so effectively. Having a real-time understanding of equipment location simplifies this process and ensures the data isn’t stale.
For lab users who have fluctuating and urgent requests for equipment, waiting weeks for a new piece of equipment to come in may not be an option. Therefore, users must have a real-time understanding of any equipment that may be under-utilized and available for reassignment to them. That way, they can –promptly respond to urgent requests.
Unifying Data with Flexible Integrations Using a Network Connectivity Platform
How does an enterprise look to ensure data unification when deploying IoT solutions? It’s by identifying whether an IoT network provider’s integration capabilities are flexible, future-proof, secure, and scalable. Doing so enables customers to integrate data into existing workflows and processes.
Walking around the facility looking for equipment and managing a deployment at massive scale is complex for equipment managers. They need a highly simplified and mobile experience to easily filter what they’re looking for based on equipment location, unique ID, or a description.
To enable this, enterprises need a provider who can leverage built-in integrations, such as a Progressive Web App (PWA), to deliver the ability to view the equipment using a floor plan and find easily by using a LED blinker on the tag for last-meter verification. Additionally, using a camera-based workflow for scanning equipment EINs (via 1D barcode or 2D QR code) and pairing that with an asset tag enables customers to do this quickly at a massive scale.
These capabilities mean that equipment managers benefit from a mobile app-like, full-screen experience without the requirement to download an app on the phone, which can often present additional hurdles when using a corporate-owned device.
While equipment managers need a mobile experience, equipment supervisors rely on the desktop experience because they manage equipment from afar. They need the ability to efficiently filter, search, and find the location of specific lab equipment down to the exact building and room across the entire campus.
Using APIs, a provider must be able to integrate into a customer’s existing equipment management systems (i.e., ERPs, WMSs, etc.). With this added functionality, customers can have one single source of truth.
MachineQ’s Indoor Asset Tracking solution allows life sciences companies to integrate data across their organization. As a result, enterprises can audit equipment inventory in real-time, optimize equipment calibration schedules, generate move request notifications, reassign equipment to proper business units, sunset active maintenance contracts for deprecated equipment, and much more.
If you’re ready to unify data across your systems, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.