When South African medical device manufacturer Marlin Laboratory Manufacturing needed to replace a manual paper-based quality control system, they looked North to Emydex to advise and assist in implementing an electronic solution.
Introducing the client
Emydex has a strong presence in Sub-Saharan Africa working with their local market partner, Summit Process Solutions, with offices in Pretoria and Cape Town. Together Emydex and Summit have 10 customers spread across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana operating 17 separate plants, each operating Emydex at the core.
The partnership recently added Marlin Laboratory Manufacturing, based in South Africa, to their client base. Marlin Laboratories is a specialist in the design, manufacture, and implementation of reverse osmosis water purification systems for the renal industry in South Africa. The company’s service teams regularly provide servicing and measuring the quality of the water, to life-saving dialysis machines installed across South Africa.
All Emydex clients are important and an integral part of industry supply chains within the countries in which they operate. As specialists in the food supply chain, it was interesting to see how easily the Emydex software was customisable to support Marlin Laboratories. This was particularly sensitive to drive quality control, as it operates in the critical healthcare arena where Quality is a matter of life and death.
Marlin Laboratories, in addition to their manufacturing competence, have a team of 25 in-field service technicians working at over 200 sites in hospitals throughout South Africa. Increasing volumes, together with increased reporting and compliance requirements, created the need to evaluate a solution to address the challenges of their manual and paper-based process.
The manual processes were becoming a challenge for the field technicians as well as the back-office finance and administration head office team. There were various bottlenecks at month end caused by increased data gathering at each site, followed by regional consolidation of the data being sent to the Head Office, causing a challenge in responding to their client needs.
This was the initial motivation to consider a new approach, together with the many obvious benefits of moving from a paper based to a digital solution. The additional benefits envisaged improved data accuracy, consistency, predictable process efficiencies as well as integration logistics and finance systems.
“The drive to make this change came from a need to improve operational efficiency plus the heavy demands of evidence-based compliance within the medical industry bodies together with the needs for governance and risk management for our own clients.”
Mark Pretorius, CEO, Marlin Laboratory Manufacturing
Emydex and Summit Process Solutions were tasked to review the existing processes and to recommend the design for an advanced mobile technology-based solution that would simplify and standardise the business processes and business model.
What we did
Emydex and Summit worked closely with Marlin Laboratories Management and field technicians to examine existing processes, how they worked and how we could create improvements and streamline their existing processes and operations.
“The major challenge for Marlin Laboratories was the volume of paperwork created at every site visit. As we worked through that, we highlighted other opportunities to enhance training and skills by implementing a standardised technology based approach for Training and Operations, to improve the productivity of each engineer in the servicing of the more than 700 units across the country.”
Jeffrey Macer-Wright, Technical Director, Summit Process Solutions
This was precisely the sort of challenge the Emydex Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS) was built for. EQMS is a software system that allows various industry operations to be analysed and to be captured in process steps in consistent procedures. This approach not only covers steps for each individual, but also next steps and actions for other colleagues involved in the end-to-end process-based workflow.
With the workflow capturing the confirmation of actions and relevant data, complete results are then accurately loaded into the cloud based database for access by Head Office enabling real time response and reporting for completed tasks, replacing many manual tasks.
The application can run in either on-line mode or in offline mode with data synchronisation with the cloud at convenient times.
The system went live, country-wide, toward the end of 2019.
Ongoing reviews of the new system and other back office legacy systems will continue to yield productivity and efficiency improvements with effective reporting and data analysis.
“Since going live, we have continued with ongoing process reviews of the new system as we further optimise productivity and take further steps for integration with our other back office processes for logistics and finance systems”
Mitch WIshart, Service and Training Manager, Marlin Laboratory Manufacturing
The results and benefits from the introducing the new system are now being experienced in various ways. According to the team at Marlin Laboratories, the new Emydex tablet based EQMS has brought about several improvements:
- Asset management has been enhanced
- All completed workflows and reports are uploaded from the service locations eliminating paperwork bottlenecks experienced at month end.
- Accuracy has improved, with proof through reports and evidence-based compliance
- Immediate access to data in validating results of current and trend results
- Visibility of team performance and where there might be areas for improvement
- Logistics are being simplified, with tracking of spare parts and consumables feeding into parts management which helps planning and projections
- Compliance and traceability has improved
In other's words
“Moving from a paper-based system to state-of-the-art technology is a business engineering project that involves everyone in the team. Technology in the workflows running on a tablet standardised everything for us. The team have embraced the transformation.
The team on the ground with varying skill levels have all benefited from the standardisation. It proves that Emydex can help small companies like us to leverage the cloud-based technologies previously only available to large enterprises.”
Jen Marques, Emydex systems Administrator, Marlin Laboratory Manufacturing
Contact Sales in any of our Dublin, Brisbane, South Africa or Toronto offices