Fink & Partner GmbH has been developing and selling LIMS software solutions for the laboratory and processing of measurement results for decades. The LIMS software manufacturer will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year (2022).
In this interview, AZoM spoke with Philip Mörke, CEO of Fink & Partner, about the company's genesis and the future of digitization in laboratory management.
Your company is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Congratulations on that. Tell us something about the history of your company.
The company was founded 30 years ago, in 1992, by my colleague Peter Niemann. He had previously worked for several years for a large, well-known equipment manufacturer and quickly recognized the requirements and problems that existed for storing, processing, and evaluating measurement results. He developed a method to manage data from laboratory instruments: The birth of Fink & Partner GmbH.
Image Credit: Fink & Partner GmbH
Peter Niemann had apparently struck a nerve and was able to win over more and more customers to his idea. In the meantime, our LIMS software [FP]-LIMS is used worldwide, and our company has grown significantly.
What distinguishes your LIMS system from other LIMS software solutions?
Each laboratory has very specific needs and workflows that should be mapped as best as possible with the software. Many standard systems quickly reach their limits here. Our [FP]-LIMS software has been designed in such a way that it can react flexibly to changes at any time. The LIMS system thus adapts entirely to the company's requirements, not the other way around, as is often the case. By the way, this high flexibility is also a very important criterion for the future viability of a company and thus the basis for digitization efforts.
Your LIMS system is used in small laboratories and very large laboratories. How do the individual challenges of the laboratories differ?
The decision to implement LIMS software is an important step for all companies. However, when it comes to the decision for or against a LIMS, different factors play a role. For smaller laboratories, it is important that the LIMS software is fast and reliable, offers all-important functionalities, and is reasonably priced.
On the other hand, groups and large companies usually require more sophisticated functionalities, and the focus is more on the aspect of harmonizing the system landscape. A central access point for all laboratories worldwide is important to them. We offer appropriate solutions for all requirements with our LIMS software [FP]-LIMS.
What are the advantages of digitization in laboratory technology? The investment must pay off.
Our customers from various industries tell us about a number of advantages after introducing the LIMS software. For example, the documentation effort in the laboratory is significantly reduced, which at the end of the day naturally saves not only effort but also costs. One customer reported a reduction in documentation effort of as much as 80%. All data is managed centrally in the software and is always up-to-date. Anyone looking for data will find it in [FP]-LIMS.
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Thanks to the secure and seamless documentation of the data, trends, and forecasts can be derived at an early stage using extensive evaluation options, which facilitates quality assurance. Our customers also see a huge advantage in the evaluation options at the analysis level: The audit trail makes it possible to trace the entire creation cycle of analysis - this is almost impossible with classic data collection.
Are there also risks associated with digitization in laboratory technology?
Of course, digitization always brings with it certain risks. For example, you have to be aware that data has a very high value, so it must not simply be accessible to everyone. For the LIMS software, this means protecting the data as best as possible through appropriate authorizations and security standards. For example, we have deliberately decided against a LIMS cloud solution. Users of our LIMS software can also freely define all user rights.
What advice would you give to laboratories that want to digitize their processes but are still hesitant?
Get to grips with the issue, and don't hesitate for too long. There are many ways to take the first step easily and cost-effectively. The LIMS version [FP]-LIMS Light, for example, is a good option for getting started at a low level and gaining experience.
In your opinion, what will be the biggest challenges in digitization in the future?
The decision to digitize laboratory processes is always driven by the motivation of all companies - regardless of whether they are small one-person laboratories or large global corporations - to make themselves more future-proof. Many have recognized that the entire world is becoming more digital and that corresponding solutions also simply bring a number of advantages.
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However, I believe that this generic term "digitization" is still not tangible for many people and leads to uncertainty. There are many digitization solutions on the market. Where does digitization even begin? What does it mean for our company? Which path is right for us? These are certainly questions that must first be clearly clarified so that digitization efforts do not end in frustration. But our experience shows that when you get to grips with the issue, you quickly realize that even small steps can be decisive for progress.
What are your goals for the next 30 years?
Our goal, of course, is to continue to grow. We would like to give many more companies worldwide access to our viable LIMS system. We are convinced that digitization in laboratory management can only work if we make it as easy as possible to get started. And our [FP]-LIMS software does that wonderfully.
Phillip Mörke - CEO
Image Credit: Fink & Partner GmbH