Over the past decade, the food testing industry has adopted new methods and strategies to reduce turn-around-time and the total duration of testing methods. In addition to the tests themselves, many other factors must be considered when referencing total turn-around-time and the amount of time spent by your staff in filling out and submitting laboratory testing forms.

For a majority of laboratories, turn-around-time begins when the sample is received to start testing. Turn-around-time can be reduced logistically by the use of expedited shipping services and couriers, but the laboratory itself must manage processing the samples in a timely fashion once they hit the laboratory door.

To a food manufacturer or producer, turn-around-time starts the second the sampling commences at the production facility. The technician sampling must gather the sample, identify and label the samples, then finally fill in the laboratory paperwork before the samples are shipped.  Automation advancements in terms of sampling and labeling of individual samples have occurred, but are limited by the complexity of the sampling protocol. Fortunately, large improvements have been made in how testing requests can be submitted to laboratories.

As part of our commitment to provide premier customer service, along with increasing our customers’ ability to easily work with our organization, Mérieux NutriSciences has become one of the first third-party laboratories to implement the use of Optical Character Recognition-friendly (OCR) Sample Analysis Request Forms (SARFs).

OCR software allows sample analysis forms to be scanned directly into a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) by automatically extracting data from pre-defined zones on the document to ensure the fidelity of the data transfer into our system. OCR increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the sample submission process and offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Decrease in time filling out SARFs: All test methods, detection limits, and test codes are pre-programmed for each SARF. You will only complete sample descriptions by simply clicking boxes for associated testing.
  • Reduction of sample submission questions: Approved submitters and the location from which samples are received are pre-programmed and selected from a drop-down list. Our Customer Care Representatives will be able to contact the specific submitter and location immediately regarding any sample concerns.
  • Increased accuracy: Sample descriptions and the associated testing are automatically uploaded instead of manually typed, significantly decreasing sample description errors.
  • Increased traceability: All SARFs are immediately saved into a modifiable PDF format that can be retrieved any time. After SARFs are scanned into our LIMS system, the sample receiving technicians are responsible for reviewing and validating them to ensure all information is correct.
  • Reduction in sample processing time: Samples get into our LIMS system quicker due to being in the sample log-in “fast lane”. As a result, your samples may get into production faster, leading to results being released earlier. This is contingent on lab specific batch sizes, processes, etc. as all customers utilizing the older SARFs still need samples manually logged for testing.

Technological advancements are all about making life easier while being user-friendly and intuitive. OCR software achieves all of this and much more. Contact us to explore our OCR Sample Analysis Request Form option for your future sample submissions.

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