Implementing NGS, Industry Tip #1: Operationalize Processes

Labs seeking to adopt next-generation sequencing (NGS) learn quickly that the technology requires them to think differently about how to conduct lab work and organize themselves for success. That’s because NGS processes are not just complex, but constantly evolving with the introduction of new instrumentation and sequencing methodologies. Add to that the data management challenge associated with NGS, and it’s easy for labs to get overwhelmed.

“With sequencing, you can’t just plug it in and go. Moving data around, storing it, and analyzing it are not trivial considerations,” said one of the experts who we interviewed for our new white paper, “Next-Generation Sequencing Comes of Age: Tips from Industry Leaders.”

The experts interviewed for our white paper came from different types of labs, with different priorities. But all agreed that a critical success factor, particularly for labs seeking to increase throughput while delivering high-quality results, is operationalizing lab processes. This doesn’t mean labs need to adopt strict Six Sigma standards, but it does mean thinking strategically about what processes you are running and why.

Setting standards doesn’t just help a lab organize and ultimately measure its lab daily lab activities, it helps set expectations with a lab’s customers. One large biopharma, for instance, has specified a certain set of services that are available on demand and has aligned its infrastructure to execute those tests reliably and consistently. The lab also relies on a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to manage processes, automation, and data flow, which enables it to structure its work to maximize throughput and control costs.

“We’re viewing sequencing in terms of a product we are delivering and setting expectations with customers about what they need and should expect to receive,” said the Genomics Laboratory Manager and Senior Scientist at the large biopharma.

To learn more about how the organizations that we interviewed are speeding NGS processes and streamlining how they manage data and deliver results, download our white paper today.