Building LIMS to Transform Quality Management in Manufacturing Laboratories

On a mission to revolutionize quality control, the collaborative efforts of three co-founders and Modeso gave rise to 1LIMS, a comprehensive Laboratory Information Management System. This project aimed to address the prevalent inefficiencies in manual quality management processes faced by manufacturing companies across diverse industries.
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Manufacturing, Laboratory automation
Full-cycle custom software development
13 full-time cross-functional experts
30 enterprise customers across the globe

Modeso has been a huge help. Coming from a hands-on laboratory role with no software engineering background, Modeso's technical team was invaluable in guiding me through unfamiliar territories. With their guidance, we learned how to develop rapid prototypes, enhance team efficiency, and conduct proof of market for various features and architecture. Without Modeso's expertise, I would have felt lost in this whole software development process.

Philipp Osterwalder
1LIMS CEO and co-founder

What quality control challenges do manufacturers face?

The evolving government regulations oblige companies to open their books and ensure traceability of raw materials, production steps, and quality control processes. Quality control is a universal mandate across industries, from pharmaceuticals to food production to ensure product safety. Diverse requirements, including microbiological analysis and toxin detection, apply even to seemingly harmless products like children's toys.

In-house laboratories are commonly used by production companies to oversee the quality of their goods. However, the prevailing method of quality management within these labs is manual. It involves using Excel for data input, printing sheets, and compiling data in journals – a process prone to inefficiencies and the risk of errors.
The increasing volume of data prompts companies to explore digital tools for streamlined data handling. The conventional solution to automate quality management entails the adoption of Laboratory Information and Management Systems (LIMS). However, these systems, often comparable to the scale of SAP, require extensive implementation timelines. Moreover, their price tags ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 Euros make them financially burdensome for many laboratories.

1LIMS – a lean and affordable solution

Recognizing the need for a more cost-effective and streamlined solution, Philipp Osterwalder, a laboratory technician with a pharmaceutical research and development background, decided to transform quality management.

Diverging from complicated and costly quality management solutions, his concept aimed to offer a new and straightforward approach – a platform that companies can tweak and adjust themselves without any coding to make it fit the unique needs of their laboratories.

Philipp chose to implement this concept with Modeso. His experience, including a profound understanding of laboratory processes in industries requiring rigorous quality control, combined with our technology expertise, proved to be a successful formula for executing this project.
Our team at Modeso got intrigued by the idea. We saw its potential and since we already had experience building similar products, we gladly joined the project. Within six months, we transformed the rough concept into a clickable prototype and showed it to several companies in Switzerland.

Fast forward, the project evolved into a 1LIMS, a comprehensive Laboratory Information Management System – a fully functional platform boasting various modules to cater to the diverse needs of laboratories. It takes only three to six months to get 1LIMS up and running, making it fast, budget-friendly, and adaptable.

In 2017, I recognized the need for someone with the expertise to turn my vision into reality – a capable team that can create a prototype, and develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to validate its market potential. This is when I approached Jonas and Samuel Schmid at Modeso and shared my idea with them.

Philipp Osterwalder
1LIMS CEO and co-founder

From prototyping to MVP development

We used the Lean approach for developing 1LIMS, moving from market research to prototyping and MVP development, with user testing to inform our decisions.

The concept behind the 1LIMS project was to create a cost-effective SaaS solution easily implemented and configured by customers.

To expedite the development process, we created a clickable prototype that served as a visualization of our concept. This prototype, while not as feature-rich as the eventual MVP, was instrumental in conveying our vision. We showcased it to the interested parties to communicate the problems we aimed to solve.
The core module of the MVP was Sample Management – a functionality segment centered on generating quality control orders, incorporating various sample types, and specifying testing methods. We expanded this module with a dashboard and Master Data, essentially forming a CRM-like interface within 1LIMS. It included the library of tests a company would conduct to control quality. We gave users the possibility to construct checklists, referred to as test plans, based on distinct test units.

Overall the MVP's features included sending quality control orders, specifying required tests, validating results, and generating PDF reports — a practical and efficient solution to streamline laboratory processes.

Our objective was to define the MVP with a focus on addressing the greatest pain points in the industry, concentrating on features that existing solutions lacked.

Philipp Osterwalder
1LIMS CEO and co-founder

Gaining initial traction across Switzerland

We showed the MVP to about 100 Swiss companies operating in the food and beverage, plastic, building and construction, and recycling industries. Out of these, around five companies expressed interest and became paying customers after the testing phase. These were sizable enterprises, boasting diverse factories dispersed throughout Switzerland. For instance, we successfully implemented 1LIMS in quality control laboratories across all ten factories of one of our corporate clients within a year.

The adoption by major players underscored the market impact of 1LIMS and its capability to meet the varied demands of large-scale enterprises.

Currently, we have about 30 paying customers across Spain, the UK, Poland, Germany, Canada and Switzerland. Our approach involves analyzing and optimizing laboratory workflows and data streams, along with automating routine and value-adding workflows within laboratories. During the pre-implementation phase, we conduct best practice workshops focusing on laboratory digitalization, with 1LIMS being the product that we set up and implement.

Philipp Osterwalder
1LIMS CEO and co-founder

Advancing based on input from customers

The evolution of 1LIMS has been shaped by an iterative process of user testing and adjusting our development roadmap based on user feedback.

We actively engaged with customers to understand their needs and test new functionalities to decide on further steps informed by shared insights. This collaborative approach allowed us to enhance the platform, incorporating valuable features and improvements with each iteration.
Currently, the platform encompasses various modules tailored for distinct purposes:
Sample Management focuses on quality control orders
Task Management ensures internal checks and control of device functionality and processes for quality assurance
A service middle layer facilitates data exchange through devices, external service laboratories and third-party systems
An advanced analytics dashboard serves as a core functionality

Scalable technology and powerful integrations

During product development, we've consistently integrated new features into 1LIMS while maintaining a steadfast technology stack. We use Node.js on the backend and Angular on the front end. The architectural backbone of the application is built on microservices, providing flexibility as standalone modules or in combination.

One key aspect of product development involved integrating with common ERP systems to automate the setup of master data, such as product information. This integration ensures a seamless workflow. For example, when a company places an order for a new raw material in SAP, it triggers a quality control order in 1LIMS to inspect the incoming material upon arrival, maintaining stringent quality parameters.
Similarly, during internal production orders within SAP, 1LIMS automatically generates quality control orders, ensuring that each production step adheres to pre-defined quality parameters.

We added an Exchange Module that facilitates import/export of data and integrated the platform with ERP systems like SAP, service labs, and laboratory devices such as High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and pH meters to eliminate manual data transfer, creating a seamless flow.

This automated process guarantees full traceability of materials in real-time, providing our customers with a robust and efficient solution for quality management.

Establishing a multifaceted tech team

Our product development journey began with three co-founders and a team of three software engineers. Over time, we expanded to a team of 13 full-time employees, incorporating roles such as business analysts, UI/UX designers, and dedicated product owners. This growth has allowed us to refine our product, incorporating customer feedback and ensuring a seamless user experience.

Working with Modeso feels like having a high-performance team at your side. No matter the challenge – be it in development, business, or technical roadmap – they consistently provide unwavering support. Regular exchanges and close collaboration characterize our partnership. It’s like being part of a sports team – united and dedicated to excelling in both business and development. That encapsulates our entire experience.

Philipp Osterwalder
1LIMS CEO and co-founder

The 6-year evolution empowering manufacturing efficiency

After about six years of continuous development efforts, 1LIMS is a valuable solution for manufacturing companies. It enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and maximizes the analytical capabilities of their laboratories.
On average, the implementation of 1LIMS reduces the time spent on manual data management by 30% to 40%, freeing up approximately one employee per laboratory team. With reduced manual data management, employees can allocate 25% more time to analysis, empowering them to focus on value-added tasks.

Towards global leadership in quality data management

Modeso is on its way to fulfilling our client’s vision of establishing 1LIMS as the global leader in quality data management. Our goal is to offer a centralized hub, facilitating businesses across diverse industries to seamlessly collect and manage their quality data. We’re currently working on the new functionality for the platform to realize this vision.

The upcoming features in 1LIMS include an invoicing module for service labs, a document management system, and LabPilot – a laboratory assistant similar to Copilot, that uses AI to connect data sources and make recommendations based on historical data. In this way, risk-based tests can be carried out in the laboratory, reducing analysis costs and effort in the long term.
Another exciting project in the works is a module designed to optimize the production ‘recipes.’ By leveraging key factors, such as raw materials, costs, and quality parameters, 1LIMS customers can customize how they build their products, reducing waste and enhancing overall efficiency.

Modeso’s team remains dedicated to enhancing the 1LIMS platform’s capabilities and efficiency for our customers.
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