Post Foods is North America’s third largest cereal manufacturer, with its base R&D operation located in Battle Creek, MI. Within the food industry, the Food & Drug Administration heavily regulates key side panel attributes. It is therefore critical that product formulas are represented accurately from bench-top work to full scale up in multiple national plants. Analytical verification takes place throughout the R&D process to ensure appropriate claim levels are maintained. This analytical data was previously stored in an outdated database system that was failing and no longer provided a reliable tracking system. The Core Informatics LIMS provided the optimum solution with its flexible data management and inventory tracking system. The flexibility within the Core LIMS has allowed Post to create a data repository to fit all of the unique brands and products, each having its own formula and analytical testing requirements. Post was also able to convert over one million lines of archived data into the Core LIMS system into a format that is trackable, searchable and retrievable.
Research is constantly innovating and renovating new and existing Post products; this can greatly alter the product profile and can create significant shelf life stability issues. Creating a Shelf Life Stability Module within the Core LIMS allowed Post to move away from excel as the primary tracking and charting program. The integration of the stability module into Post’s R&D processes has streamlined reporting and greatly reduced the time spent on data entry and manual charting. This module allows Post the flexibility to create stability studies with multiple time points, temperature conditions, and a multitude of different, trackable measurement types. This system allows for an entire 12-month stability study to be created by our end user within a few minutes. This can all be completed with the push of a button due to the gadgets and dashboard format that Post has created within the Core LIMS system. Prior to the Core system, a typical Stability Study would require approximately 40+ man-hours per year to complete; Post estimates that this will be reduced by at least 50%. On average Post conducts upwards of 150 studies per year.
One of the key features that Core Informatics has provided is the ability to self-administer and extend the Post Core LIMS system. Post has capitalized on the training received and has created its own unique and simplified user-interface. This simplified interface allows an end-user to easily execute their daily activities, un-obstructed by the complex configurations required from such a flexible system. The Stability Module allows for extreme flexibility in the design and execution of virtually any stability study, all while providing front end gadgets and dashboards that hide this complexity from the end user. The decision trees that were created using the Gadgets and Dashboards guide an end user through the vast array of studies that can be executed with a simple push button feel. This has forced an otherwise unstructured research environment to become streamlined; allowing for reproducible experiments and searchable data. Gadgets have been created to allow for quick link queries and reports. Core Gadgets have allowed for a simplified but thorough end user experience.
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