Author: Dragan Krsta
Are methods getting more complex or do we have higher “quality” expectations?
The days of “in-house” methods are long gone, or are they? Depending on where you are in the world the need for accreditation often limits the analyses your laboratory can perform. But in most cases the design, development and validation of methods is left to the laboratory performing them. Only the data and quality systems are accredited. Therefore, we see laboratories carry forward legacy methods and procedures, developed many years ago on superseded equipment. Avoiding regular exercises in method development limits accessible efficiency gains. Therefore, at ADKL Labs we develop training packages focused on continuous improvement principles.
Method development and validation procedures are usually the work of a few specialists within a laboratory. The specialists possess the understanding and have the time to undertake such work. The specialists are a fountain of knowledge and they are a bottle neck. At ADKL Labs we recommend sharing experience widely and encourage continuous improvement approaches with our training packages. Method development is critical in cultivating analysts with valuable qualities, such as:
The experience gained by an analyst undertaking method development is not limited to that specific method, application, instrument or software. Consider the widely available chromatography mass-spectrometry systems (LC/MS and GC/MS) on the market. At ADKL Labs the observations and experience gained during method development are often directly translatable across analyses, systems and even platforms. During development work, analysts learn the limitations of their instrument then observe “trends” affecting the quality of their data. While many trend visualisation tools exist, observing the changes in system performance for yourself, applying a solution, then recording the change is worth a thousand trend charts.
The value in method development is created when the analyst drives their own troubleshooting and recognises the same approach(es) apply elsewhere. There are countless areas for improvement and efficiencies that cannot be realised without active participation. For example, the below areas are commonly encountered:
Experience with method development takes time, specifically instrument, sample prep. and bench time. However, we can adopt proactive strategies to spread experience among the team(s), so they don’t have to learn it the hard way. At ADKL Labs we focus our approach and training packages on three areas:
At ADKL Labs we enthusiastically develop training material(s) focused on gas and liquid chromatography, with and without mass spectrometry. After establishing a foundation in the theory and practical aspects of the technology we can better explore and understand method development approaches and processes. Please contact ADKL Labs if you have any enquiries, feedback or would like to share your ideas.
Note: The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of ADKL Labs.