SampleServe Sampling and Reporting Digital Solution
March 22, 2023

Why Your Laboratory Should be More Like Amazon

Russell Schindler, CEO, P.G.

Russell Schindler is the founder and CEO of SampleServe, Inc. a company specializing in collecting environmental samples, data automation and environmental reporting. Mr. Schindler also founded Compliance, Inc. an environmental engineering company with offices in Detroit and Traverse City, MI. Russell is a Professional Geologist and a graduate of Western Michigan University and holds 7 patents related to environmental groundwater remediation and environmental data management and digital chain-of-custody. Russell is the founder and host of a monthly technology meetup group in northern Michigan call Russell is an avid sailboat racer and has completed 14 Chicago to Mackinaw races and 6 Port Huron to Mackinaw races.

In the era of rapidly developing artificial intelligence (AI) platforms like ChatGPT 4.0, Googles new “Bard” AI, and other data management platforms like SampleServe, the move towards the automated production of tables, graphics, and entire reports including narration and executive summaries is inevitable. The power of AI in data analysis and presentation is undeniable, with its ability to identify issues, inconsistencies, and data anomalies that even the most attentive humans would miss. Yes, I know AI is not perfect, but it is pretty darn close, especially when it uses data that is directly input from sources like labs and apps like SampleServe. Moreover, it is significantly less expensive than humans and capable of performing tasks in milliseconds that would take a normal human being days or even weeks to prepare.

What does this mean for the future of laboratories? Every lab manager or lab salesperson will tell you that for the past 25-years or more, it's been a race to the bottom in terms of pricing.  When I started in this industry back before most people reading this article were likely born, the price for a typical BTEX analysis was over $90 per sample. Now there are some laboratories offering it for under $30.  The primary driver behind the price drop is competition.

What lab customers are actually buying is a number that was generated using a specific US EPA methodology and in theory this methodology should be identical from lab to lab. It’s been my professional experience that analytical results from lab to lab are generally pretty consistent. Yeah. we all know of exceptions to this, but generally they're pretty consistent.

It’s because of these specific methods and the volume of competition, labs have turned into undifferentiated commodities. Labs work hard to differentiate themselves, some have courier services, convenient pick up or drop off locations, or extended hours. If you ask a lab what makes them different or better, they'll usually cite these additional ancillary services to differentiate itself from its competitors.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon, is known for his customer-centric approach to building products. His philosophy is to start with the customer's needs and work backward to develop products and services that fulfill those needs. This approach has helped Amazon become one of the most successful and customer-focused companies in the world. Similarly, laboratories that understand and evaluate their customers' needs and requirements and then work backward to develop a solution that meets those needs are likely to be successful in the long run. This process should not be a one-time thing; it should be continuous consultation with the customer to understand their evolving needs, regulatory requirements, data format preferences, and other factors important to them.

SampleServe, a mobile field app, offers a white-labeled version that can bring a host of benefits to laboratories. The app helps labs differentiate themselves from their competitors, enhance their brand and reputation, offer advanced electronic data deliverables, and streamline the chain-of-custody process. SampleServe is a product that can help labs fulfill the needs of customers who want data graphics that can be quickly created, customized, and submitted to regulatory agencies. With SampleServe, labs can provide customers with an advanced electronic data deliverable that includes customized graphs, charts, and other visual aids that present the data in a clear and concise manner.

The benefits of SampleServe for laboratory customers are manifold. For starters, it is a comprehensive mobile field app that enables users to collect environmental samples and generate a suite of report graphics. Additionally, it streamlines the chain-of-custody process by automatically capturing GPS coordinates, date and time stamps, and signatures. The app is also incredibly user-friendly, with an intuitive interface that makes it easy for both field and lab personnel to quickly learn how to use it.

We are confident that a customized sampling app branded to your lab will provide the differentiation that labs tend to strive for. But will also improve customer satisfaction and keep your company current and relevant in the coming rapid evolution of data deliverables.

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