One of our customers, a medium-sized food factory, had a hard time replacing their Excel QC sheets with a standard solution. Not because they did not have a budget or time, but because of the complexity of their Excel sheets. They had many, many calculations in their sheets.
Basically, they used these sheets to calculate the right amount of acid to add, in order to get their products to their target specifications. This business logic encapsulated in their Excel universe was one of the cornerstones of their process. While they knew that Excel was not a good solution as a LIMS, finding a standard solution that could deal with this complexity proved to be a challenge.
That particular customer is not the only one looking for powerful calculations in a quality control tool. Think about cases like conversion of unit of measure, or calibration lines to get to actual chromatography compounds. The list of use cases for calculations seems endless.
To support this wide variety of applications for calculations, we had to implement a very generic feature. And so we did. The AlisQI calculation engine lets you define your own calculations, using all parameters in your data entry form as input variables. We added a comprehensive set of predefined functions, to support more advanced math. Think about log conversion, standard deviation, range, and various rounding functions. To make life as easy as possible for you, we tried to stay as close as possible to Excel calculations.
Besides plain numeric calculations, the engine also supports date calculations, this is often used to calculate expiry dates or process lead times.
Calculate the expiry date of a batch by adding three months to the production date.
Process lead times
Calculates the time between the start and end of a production step.
Similarly, we can compute textual values.
Compute text values
Combine distinct article number and article name text values to a single value. We see this being used in master data management for example.
With this spreadsheet-like calculations engine, we enable our users to add an extra dimension to their data management. As the formulas are very similar to those in Excel, Quality Managers very quickly feel comfortable creating their own calculations. Currently, our users have created over 3.000 calculations and expressions. It is a very relevant feature indeed.
The calculated results can be used in all analytics and charting features, just as any other input. This proves to be immensely powerful in creating the ideal functional fit of AlisQI for many different businesses. We are often surprised and inspired by the ingenuity of our users!
Do you have specific calculations in your quality processes? Request a demo to find out how we can provide them.