This is an exciting year for Eurofins as we celebrate our 30th anniversary. Each anniversary brings time for reflection and recognition. We spoke with Anders Thomsen, business unit manager for Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center (ENAC) in Des Moines, IA.
Thomsen has been with the lab since 1992 and recalls the early days, noting how much has changed since the beginning of his career. One of the biggest improvements was streamlining the release of results by the use of fax and email, eliminating the “big bins of mail” full of printed reports to be sent out. Another milestone has been the implementation of online portals, giving our customers access to results online. Of course, ENAC has grown in numbers from 50 to over 170 employees in Des Moines.
“Quality has always been important, but it has become a larger and larger ingredient over time,” said Thomsen. “Moving to ISO wasn’t really a huge jump for us because we already had [GMPs] in place, including a well-developed quality documentation system. We passed our ISO accreditation on the first try.”
In 2010, ENAC moved to its current location near the Des Moines International Airport, allowing all of the samples to be under one roof. Previously samples had to travel across town for testing. 2010 was also a notable year because ENAC became an ISO accredited laboratory, allowing us to enhance the quality of our methods and grow exponentially.
The Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center in Des Moines was not always a Eurofins laboratory. Prior to Eurofins’ acquisition of the lab, it operated under Woodson-Tenent’s name. Woodson-Tenent Laboratories (WTL) had six labs, with the biggest labs in Des Moines and Memphis.
Upon acquisition in 2000, Eurofins consolidated the six WTL locations into the Des Moines location, turning 50 workers into 75, many of whom are still here today. After the Memphis consolidation finished in 2006, Des Moines’ lab expanded to two physical buildings: one building on the northwest side of town, the other on the southwest side of town.
“You are never done, you can always do better,” Anders said. “You don’t rest on your laurels; change is achieved by seeking continuous improvement.”
ENAC looks forward to continuous improvement in three main areas through lean initiatives. Lean management is part of the Six Sigma methodology that relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation.
Improving quality and safety through lean initiatives will set ENAC up to better serve customers and grow the business. Innovative quality systems and service will increase productivity and customer service. The past 30 years have taught us a lot and we look forward to a bright 30 years ahead.