Challenge 3: Being more efficient and accelerating experiment turnaround

May 22, 2024


This blog is part of the blog series: Top7 Challenges for R&D Labs Operations and Digitalization: Insights from our Clients.

Optimizing efficiency: a global imperative

In today's fast-paced world, scientific organizations across industries are relentlessly striving to enhance efficiency and accelerate their experiment turnaround times. This drive towards speed and efficiency is fueled by several key factors, including the imperative to reduce costs to stay competitive in the current economic landscape and maximize resource utilization to avoid the necessity for additional hiring (see our blog No Need to Hire Let Your Lab Scientist Work Smarter).

“Our laboratory processes and systems are disconnected overall, meaning we have manual & complex processes, huge inefficiencies, lost productivity and higher lead times for testing,” shares a Lab Systems Workstream Lead at a Pharmaceutical company

Digitalization has evolved from being a modern improvement strategy to a survival necessity and a means of optimizing limited resources. Cost reduction is a central objective for many organizations, prompting them to seek innovative solutions to streamline their processes and workflows. AI, with its recent advances, holds particular promise in this regard, offering the potential to streamline operations, automate repetitive tasks, and drive productivity gains across the organization. 


Woman Scientist Lab Microscope Aftershokz Elie_HighDef

Scientist utilizing modern technology to capture data via voice without interrupting her observations under the microscope.

We are seeking to increase our efficiency so we may be able to make our scientists’ lab lives easier, allow them to make their decisions faster or help make their days more efficient,” explains an Associate Director, Data & Digital Strategy at a Top Pharma company

Keeping talents while increasing productivity demands requires offering them the optimal working environment and addressing their pain points whenever feasible.

Reducing time spent on non-science tasks

In the pursuit of accelerating scientific research, every moment counts. Yet, scientists often find themselves bogged down by non-scientific tasks that eat into their productivity and hinder the progress of their experiments.

Documentation dilemma: balancing data and time

For many scientists, documentation is a double-edged sword. While it's essential for record-keeping and analysis, it can also consume a significant portion of their time. As one QC Analyst from a Top Pharma company laments, "Half of my time is consumed by documentation. And I perform this assay three times a week!" Similarly, a Toxicology scientist from a Top Pharma company expresses frustration: “I enjoy conducting experiments in the lab and making observations, but I dread the writing and reporting part.”
Moreover, accessing information such as the location of a reagent or the associated safety procedure from the lab can be challenging, often requiring scientists to walk back to their office and check the information on their system or seek assistance of the lab manager.

Digitizing with the ELN: overcoming interface challenges

Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) offer significant advantages for data management, but their interfaces can present usability challenges in the lab. The necessity for free (and clean!) hands, frequent logins and complex navigation can disrupt workflows and impede productivity. And this is unfortunately why many scientists still heavily rely on paper to collect their data, leading to the additional task of retyping these notes later on (see our blog on Challenge 1: Getting out of paper, increasing ELN adoption, or our White Paper Why ELN needs a Helping Hand… or Voice).
Additionally, in today's digital age, capturing and organizing images is an integral part of scientific research. However, the process of gathering and matching pictures with corresponding notes can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Typically, pictures are captured using personal phones or tablets and then need to be retrieved and uploaded to the ELN in the appropriate section. Importantly, they need to be matched with the corresponding sample or observation, which can be challenging if the scientist has taken a dozen of unlabbeled pictures of samples!

With LabTwin, we addresse these challenges by offering an AI and voice-powered digital lab assistant with a user-friendly interface. It enables scientists to dictate notes and capture data hands-free, eliminating the need for manual transcription or interruptions. Consequently, it saves them a considerable amount of time during experiments, increases their focus and typically reduces errors while capturing more data (see our blog on Challenge 2: Enhancing data quality and integrity, richer data with less errors).

Graph Challenge 3 blog - Workflow Mapping


Process and timing was analysed during a classic batch production workflow in a Top Pharma company before and after deploying LabTwin digital lab assistant. With LabTwin, the process is hands-free and instantaneously digitized, removing interruptions for documentation and the need for transcribing at the end of the day.

Additionally, LabTwin’s mobile platform allows scientists to capture images directly within the app and add annotations to the pictures via voice.

“When I notice a color variation between samples, I like to capture a picture. Previously, it would take me between 15 to 30 minutes to take a photo, upload it to my ELN, and add a comment. Now, I simply say: 'Hey LabTwin, take a photo,' and I verbally annotate it,” attests a Senior Associate Scientist from a Consumer Goods company.

Time savings: results from our clients

Our clients have experienced substantial time savings since implementing LabTwin, with an average of 93 minutes per week per scientist. By streamlining documentation processes and providing quick access to information, LabTwin enables scientists to focus more on their research and less on administrative tasks. The extent of time saved varies across organizations (ranging from 31min to 180min per week per scientist), depending on the nature of their current documentation process and use cases (see graph), but always represents a significant gain in time and data quality.

Graph Challenge 3 blog - Time Savings

Analysis conducted on 14 LabTwin client companies from different industries, to showcase the impact of implementing a digital lab assistant on efficiency. In green is represented the average amount of time saved per week per scientist. For the company highlighted in yellow, the graph on the right illustrates the variability in time savings depending on the nature of workflow selected by each scientist (from 5min every second week (min) to an hour 5 times a week (max)).

Data availability for collaboration and experiment Turnover 

In the realm of explorative science, where experiments often require repetition and optimization based on initial results, seamless collaboration among scientists is essential. Therefore, accessibility to captured data becomes critical for the continuity of experiments. Unfortunately, the time it takes for this data to become available online often hampers experiment turnover.

Traditional platforms like Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) are commonly utilized for data access and sharing. However, the bottleneck lies in the delay to update these systems with experiment data. Many scientists find themselves transcribing their paper or mental notes only at the end of the week or even several weeks later when they find time in the office.

“Honestly, half of the experiments that I have now in LabTwin would not have been digitized. It would be a massive pile of untranscribed sticky notes because I would not have found the time to digitize it,” shares a Principal Scientist from a Top 20 Pharma company.

By enabling real-time digitization of data during experiments and automatizing upload to the appropriate sections of ELNs or LIMS, LabTwin is very well positioned to address this challenge. It ensures instant data accessibility, thereby accelerating experiment turnover and empowering collaborations.

Graph Challenge 3 blog - Collaboration Efficiency

In this immunochemistry assay workflow from a Top Pharma, significant efficiency gains were observed when utilizing LabTwin. The assay process itself was performed 33% faster, while the staining review process saw an 83% increase in speed. Additionally, with data automatically digitized at the bench, the time taken for experiment turnover and data handover was drastically reduced from a week to just a day, resulting in a considerable acceleration of the experiment cycle.

To work faster, work smarter

As scientific organizations strive for increased productivity and efficiency, it's evident that working smarter is key. Providing scientists with smart and connected tools that automate non-science tasks can significantly enhance their workflow, allowing them to focus more on their research and less on administrative duties.

From reducing time spent on documentation to streamlining data availability for collaboration, LabTwin offers a comprehensive solution to address these challenges. By digitizing data capture in real-time, providing seamless integration with existing systems, and enabling hands-free operation, LabTwin empowers scientists to work more efficiently and effectively (read more about the success story from dsm-firmenich in their case study).

To experience the benefits of LabTwin firsthand and revolutionize your laboratory operations, book a demo today. Let LabTwin be your partner in driving scientific innovation and accelerating research breakthroughs.




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