<img alt="" src="https://secure.tent0mown.com/160156.png" style="display:none;">
scishield-home-hero_corner-top-right scishield-home-hero_hex-patter-left
Schedule Demo
scishield-home-hero-2023_2_image1 scishield-home-hero-2023_2_image1

Genomatica - Geno Jumps Ahead

Posted by Craig Morgan on Apr 29, 2024 2:04:33 PM

How ChemTracker helped Geno turn a technological challenge into operational improvement.

Geno (www.genomatica.com) is seeking ways to reduce the planet's reliance on fossil fuels by offering plant-derived ingredients to some of the world’s largest brands.

The company’s 130 researchers work to make molecules and materials from more sustainable sources. To manage their chemical inventory, Geno initially relied on homegrown spreadsheets; once their operation grew they migrated to a commercial system.

The tool Geno adopted, however, a client program running locally on servers, eventually fell short of the company’s IT security standards.

Geno needed a new solution – one that could adequately address security concerns while delivering the inventory management capabilities necessary for a sophisticated research lab.

Choosing a path forward

Selecting the solution fell to Jeff Boldt, senior director of lab operations for Geno. Jeff leads a small department with one person focused on EHS, another on purchasing, and three lab associates.

“We were primarily concerned about cost and capabilities,” said Jeff. He and his team support research across 35,000 square feet of lab space and maintain a chemical inventory of 5,000 containers. They looked at a number of options.

“I thought ChemTracker had a fair price point,” he said. “And it offered all the capabilities we needed – as well as having a good implementation plan.”

Another factor that ultimately led Jeff to select ChemTracker and SciShield was the modular nature of the platform. The potential for scaling and broadening capabilities in the future is important to their strategy.

Putting the plan in action

Geno now has a modern cloud-based solution for managing its entire chemical inventory.

“I was impressed with the whole implementation process,” Jeff recalled.

“It was definitely handled by project managers, with good established timelines and steps: when everything needed to happen, who the contacts were… it was very professionally handled. Rachel (SciShield implementation manager) did a great job.”

According to Jeff, the seamless onboarding process for existing staff and end-users allowed more time to spend training power-users.

Seeing immediate improvements

For a small team like Jeff’s the SciShield platform has brought immediate advantages.

“The cloud part of it is definitely nice,” said Jeff. “My IT team doesn’t need to maintain it, and do patches and reboots… It minimizes the IT burden on my side. That’s a definite improvement."

Meanwhile, the Active Directory has made a large impact on administration.

“I personally had to manage the user list on the old program,” said Jeff. “So if there was a new employee, I’d add them as a user to the system and give them a password; if they forgot the password, reset it… It was constant, tedious, and disruptive.”

“Now ChemTracker is tied into our Active Directory. Nobody needs a username or password. They just click on a link and go right in. It makes it a lot easier on my side.”

The new platform has also improved the training process. “I don’t have to train people on yet another system with a different password,” Jeff said. “We don’t need to do anything. Just click on it and you're in. So that’s also a nice improvement.”

ChemTracker has brought improvements to Geno’s reporting as well. The previous system exposed the raw SQL database queries; for someone like Jeff who doesn’t consider himself a programmer, it was not effortless.

“The reporting is more intuitive with ChemTracker,” Jeff said. “It works seamlessly out of the box.

“It also has the automatic linking to CAS or catalog numbers, so you can access the main vendors, and the system fills in details for you, you can access chemical properties and safety data sheets (SDS).” The automatic connection eliminates significant amounts of manual work that used to fall to Jeff.

Building Confidence

Many of the improvements at Geno are quantifiable. For instance, the approximate time for a researcher to access an SDS has been cut in half.

Additionally, with ChemTracker the team can:

  • Create a list of groups that work with a particular hazard in a matter of minutes – a task that would previously take a day.
  • Identify individuals that have a certain hazard exposure in two or three minutes instead of an hour.
  • Identify a space with a given hazard in 30 minutes compared to two hours.

Other benefits may be less tangible but perhaps more significant to the organization. The improvement in security is a prime example.

“The security, back-end improvement is not quantifiable,” said Jeff. “We just don’t need to worry about it now.”

Similarly, the team’s confidence in other areas has grown too. For instance, in their ability to quickly and accurately respond to questions about the hazard profiles of chemicals in the labs. And that data is reliable and accessible when they need it.

The adoption of ChemTracker provides a stronger research foundation to help Geno meet its ambitious product milestones. And the flexibility to grow.

“We’re interested in other modules that can be used in the enterprise system,” said Jeff.

For a company leading a global transition to more sustainable materials, Geno knows that making a material difference in the world starts in the lab.

Learn more about Geno - www.genomatica.com