Test tubes with a pipette
2 mins read

STARLIMS Helps Douglas Pharmaceuticals on its Lean Journey to Smart Labs

March 4, 2021

Douglas Pharmaceuticals, located in New Zealand, is a rapidly expanding pharmaceutical company with a reputation for high manufacturing standards, quality products and outstanding client service. The company researches, develops, manufactures, markets and distributes prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and consumer healthcare products. Today Douglas Pharmaceuticals exports to 40 countries around the world.

Lean Transformation

Douglas’ targeted growth and expansion was predicted to have enormous impact on their laboratory operations. Information automation management was identified as a necessity for their regulated New Zealand Quality Control Department to support the corporate strategy.

A “Smart Labs” program was established, and based on capacity and utilization studies, the opportunity for over 20% efficiency gains was identified, including the introduction of a lean initiative, organizational structure review, and centralization of services. However these benefit opportunities could not be fully realized if not supported by automation and the implementation of a LIMS system.

To minimize immediate headcount increases and unsustainable ongoing increases, the lean journey of which LIMS was an integral component began. There were also other tangible benefits:

  • Improved quality assurance and GMP compliance.
  • Spare capacity freed up for other value add lab
  • Reduced printing, stationery and storage costs.
  • Improved competitiveness and security in the market.

STARLIMS delivered significant efficiencies via standardized workflow, QC, stability and microbiology sample management, custom reporting, instrument and wider enterprise systems integration.

David Hipperson, Quality Engineering Manager

Partership with STARLIMS

Over 200 vendors were narrowed down to 5 from which business cases were developed. There was in-depth review and analysis for vendor selection to arrive at true differentiation. During vendor assessment, STARLIMS outperformed other competitors on a functional scorecard which included compliance, laboratory management, external interfaces, configuration, user interface and ease of use, etc. In the end, STARLIMS was chosen.


The Starlims implementation was a catalyst for process improvement and optimization, capability enhancement, a shift from teams to shared services, elimination of noncore, non-value activities as part of the wider “Smart” laboratory journey. The journey continues as Douglas enhances and extends the use of Starlims to other laboratory sites in addition to applying the learnings from this implementation to other computerization and connectivity projects.


Douglas has received from STARLIMS implementation, support and training required for them to manage and configure the system. STARLIMS has delivered significant e fficiencies via sta ndardized wor kflow, QC, stability and microbiology sample management, custom reporting, instrument, and wider enterprise systems integration. On average, DIFOT (Delivery In Full, On Time) has increased from 50% to 95%, while LIRs (Laboratory Investigation Reports) have reduced by 50%.