Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, announced today that The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), a UK-based government organization, has implemented Thermo Scientific Nautilus laboratory information management system (LIMS) for use in its laboratory near York, UK. The LIMS is used to manage an archive of more than 50,000 samples, improving efficiencies and productivity across Fera's laboratory. As food safety becomes even more of a legislative concern in the United States and Europe, Thermo Fisher Scientific is at the forefront of providing the right products and consulting services to effectively meet the needs of international regulatory authorities and protect the safety of consumers around the world.
Fera is an executive agency of Defra and provides robust evidence, rigorous analysis and professional advice, underpinned by world class research, to government, international organizations and the private sector. Fera was created in April 2009 by merging the Central Science Laboratory (CSL), Defra's Plant Health Division, Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate, the Plant Variety Rights Office and Seeds Division, and the Government Decontamination Service. Its purpose is to support and develop a sustainable and secure food chain, a healthy natural environment and protect the global community from biological and chemical risks. Fera is the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for the UK and Malta for chemicals in food, pesticides, veterinary drugs, dioxins and polychlorinated biophenyls (PCBs). NRL status means that Fera is officially responsible for setting up EU-wide standards for routine procedures and reliable testing methods.
Fera manages more than 600 research projects, analyzing more than 50,000 plant and food samples a year. To establish credibility for its international work, Fera requires robust processes, and it decided that a single LIMS could support this objective instead of a number of smaller bespoke systems or manual processes. The LIMS would enable the organization to manage all samples on site within a single repository and harmonize its worksheets across its laboratories. In addition, Fera recorded its analytical trend data manually, so it needed a LIMS system that could automate this information in an acceptable format to support internal investigation and reporting functions.
Fera selected Thermo Scientific Nautilus LIMS for its ease-of-use and its ability to be configured and managed in-house. In addition, it offers the company a flexible and intuitive user interface that makes it easy for laboratory personnel to configure the LIMS to suit individual workflows across the laboratory. Since the implementation of the system, Nautilus LIMS has improved operational efficiency by enabling data to be entered one time only and shared among all departments. In addition, the LIMS has improved the security of data entry and has greatly assisted sample identification and tracking. Using Nautilus, parts of the laboratory are now 95 percent paperless, and the system reduces lab time by 25-30 percent because there is no manual recording of data and transcription errors are eliminated.
Paul Burrell, LIMS manager at Fera, comments: "Nautilus LIMS provides the ideal informatics solution for Fera because its flexibility allows us to expand and develop the services provided by the laboratory." He continues: "We use Nautilus LIMS strategically on projects, eliminating paper reports, working electronically and involving customers in the project by giving them access to their results in real time. Only with Nautilus LIMS can Fera continue to manage so many diverse projects across so much of the laboratory."
Nautilus LIMS provides Fera with a complete sample recording, management, retrieval and reporting system, improving productivity and efficiency. Prior to the implementation of LIMS, plate-well values had to be recorded manually, which took more than an hour. With Nautilus, this step can be completed within ten minutes. Fera's Food Analytical Service has also substantially improved laboratory efficiency.
The LIMS supports both Fera's public sector and commercial projects, helping it generate revenues. The organization selected Nautilus because it is scalable and flexible, letting it grow with the business and enabling it to be more competitive. "We have had some major successes using the features of Nautilus to help win and deliver new work and projects," explains Paul Burrell.
Dave Champagne, vice president and general manager for Thermo Fisher's Informatics business, comments; "We have been building our capabilities for the food safety industry over many years, and the world's best known brands rely on our integrated LIMS solutions to help them maintain their quality and production standards. We are very excited to be working with Fera, which has responsibility across a nation for the safety of the food supply and environment."
Thermo Scientific is part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science.
About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (thermofisher.com) is the world leader in serving science, enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. With 2008 revenues of $10.5 billion, we have approximately 34,000 employees and serve over 350,000 customers within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic labs, universities, research institutions and government agencies, as well as environmental and industrial process control settings. Serving customers through two premier brands, Thermo Scientific and Fisher Scientific, we help solve analytical challenges from routine testing to complex research and discovery. The Thermo Scientific brand represents a complete range of high-end analytical instruments as well as laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents to enable integrated laboratory workflow solutions. Fisher Scientific provides a complete portfolio of laboratory equipment, chemicals, supplies and services used in healthcare, scientific research, safety and education. Together, we offer the most convenient purchasing options to customers and continuously advance our technologies to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, enhance value for customers and fuel growth for shareholders and employees alike.