Whether it concerns cell culture analysis in Sweden, forensic research in the UK or genomic sequencing in the US – laboratory samples are valuable commodities, and some are even irreplaceable. Working with samples in the laboratory requires concentration and precision, but also security and traceability. Researchers’ expectations of the instruments they operate are higher than ever before, and Eppendorf is meeting these demands with increasing interconnectedness and digitalization of laboratories.
Take the People Journey to the Polarstar
It is the goal of Eppendorf to evolve from a pure laboratory outfitter to a complete 360-degree-lab-as-a-service-expert. This vision carries the name “Polarstar”; the path to its implementation encompasses a process which invites employees to take part in its design. At this time, 20 “astronauts” are working on the “People Journey” in addition to their regular work within the company, and they are passionately engaged in establishing a new way of working. What is required? “Thinking about work in a novel way, evolving and making progress, and lifelong learning”, says Stephanie Pautz, Head of Global Strategic HR Development. These factors are essential in order to meet the goals of digitalization.
The digital community is now working on different topics such as Learning Environment & Tools, Digital Culture & Mindset, New Ways of Working & Collaboration, as well as Knowledge Transfer – entirely without any kind of hierarchy. “They meet in Space Hubs in order to exchange ideas; in the Space Arena, they present the results of their project work and coordinate with the digital Governance Board at Eppendorf”, explains Stephanie Pautz. Christina Bland, from the department of Engagement Marketing in Hamburg, is one of the astronauts. She describes her involvement: “I am so pleased to be part of the People Journey; it gives me the sense that I can actively support Eppendorf in the direction of digitalization and into the future. I have also met great colleagues from different departments from all over the world, and I keep adding to my knowledge about topics such as ‘New Ways of Working and ‘Digitalization’”.
The exchange and the knowledge will certainly not remain hidden away. “Initiatives such as ‘Working out loud‘ (editor’s note: a method which motivates people to share knowledge and competencies) easily engage 50 colleagues from different international locations”, Pautz points out. “And next year, we are going to establish a kind of marketplace that will provide even more opportunities with respect to employee development”, says the HR-expert who emphasizes that new colleagues, in particular, are cordially invited to participate.
Stephanie Pautz is convinced that learning from one another is the best way to conquer psychological barriers when it comes to new learning. Will Eppendorf newcomers ideally come equipped with all the digital skills? “Naturally, we want to attract the best people to Eppendorf, and everyone who brings more to the table than we already have will be an asset to us. Even more important, however, are wide-ranging curiosity , a willingness to work on new ideas – to contribute and show initiative – exactly in line with the message of our employer brand ‘Collaborate on new ideas’”, says Pautz.
Tanja Musiol, Head of Global Engagement Marketing, compares the common trend towards digitalization to the willingness and openness to adapt to new challenges – with respect to technical solutions as well as the way of working. “We need the courage of all to try new things and drive true innovation forward”, says Musiol. This includes our customers: “It is also about how we will support them step by step throughout the digitalization of their laboratories and how, together with our customers, we can successfully orient our ways of working towards the demands of the future.”
The digital laboratory
The Digital Lab Solutions at Eppendorf include the flagship of the company, VisioNize®. With the new VisioNize® Lab Suite, users can organize and manage their laboratories from anywhere, anytime, using the respective cloud application. Dr. Tanja Musiol, Head of Global Engagement Marketing at Eppendorf, describes the advantages of connectivity: “Our customers’ laboratory products and processes are networked and digitally monitored, and the workflows are structured and optimized accordingly, which highly simplifies sample processing and storage while also enhancing sample safety.”