A graduate chemist, Trevor started working in forensic science in 1980 and with LIMS and laboratory automation in 1987. He gained a second degree in computing science in 1990, and since then has been involved in IT, successfully implementing and validating Information systems in regulated and accredited environments.
Consultant – 13 years
Project leadership on most Scimcon projects. Author of numerous published articles and frequent speaker at international conferences.
IS manager – 9 years, HFL (COR) GLP lab
In the lab – 20 years
Forensic toxicolgist, specialising in mass spectroscopy, Therapeutic quality control analyst, Quality assurance auditor
“I love having the opportunity to make a difference.”
Consultants do get a tough time in meetings. Sometimes it’s because someone thinks you’re there to somehow wave a wand and produce the answer, fully formed. Other times at least one person in the room thinks you shouldn’t be there at all. But these situations are a good challenge.
“You need outsiders – they see and hear more – to produce the blueprint for the system.”
It’s important to see things from the customer’s side. Why are you there? Can you come up with the answer or can’t you? Of course you can, but you need their help. Learning to read the room, to understand people and listen in detail to what they have to say are vital.
After that you really have to work at getting them on-side and engaged in the process – which can also mean you have to be prepared to change the process to match the people.
“We like to surprise clients by showing them what can be done.”
Geoff and I work together a lot on projects and we do similar jobs, but we work differently. He is by far the more creatively minded, whereas I am inclined more to question the detail. But we’re both in pursuit of the optimum solution.
The key thing is to arrive at a design for a system that is the right one for the client. Many clients think that the answer is simply to do things exactly as they have in the past. But it’s often a mistake to try; change is hard to manage successfully.
Similarly, there is a tendency to overcomplicate. If the review is the first the lab’s had for a while, many people see it as an opportunity to improve everything. But that makes the project more complex than necessary and risks its successful completion. Far better to focus on the core functions and processes. Only if you’ve got those right and time and money allow, consider those processes that are on the periphery.
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