COMPO EXPERT: Quality and safety for healthy growth

COMPO EXPERT GmbH, headquartered in Münster /Westphalia, is an internationally positioned company with currently about 700 employees and 21 own distribution sites in Europe, North and South America as well as Asia, and Africa.

The company produces high-quality specialty fertilizers and biostimulants at its two own fertilizer plants in Krefeld /North Rhine-Westphalia and La Vall d’ Uixó (Spain), offering professional users safe solutions for ornamental horticulture, tree nurseries, golf, and sports turf, gardening and landscaping, public green spaces, fruit, and wine-growing, as well as for agriculture and market gardening.

The innovative product range includes special mineral fertilizers, slow-release fertilizers, coated fertilizers, nutrient salts, liquid fertilizers, biostimulants, micronutrients, and soil improvers. With this assortment, COMPO EXPERT occupies a leading market position.

It is sold exclusively to and through major national and international customers.

For quality control at the production site in Krefeld, Germany, the company relies on the [FP] LIMS from Fink & Partner, which is integrated into the system landscape.

Learn more in the LIMS user report with the subject “COMPO EXPERT: Quality and safety for healthy growth”.

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Highest standards for optimum product quality

Due to the wide range of applications for its products, COMPO EXPERT is subject to a number of national and European quality requirements, including fertilizer regulations governing the approval and labeling of fertilizers. In addition to the legal framework, however, the company has naturally also defined its own strict quality standards. Volker Staat, Chemical Laboratory Assistant & LIMS Administrator in COMPO EXPERT’s test laboratory, confirms: “Quality assurance has a very high priority in our company. Careful quality checks are carried out from purchasing through production to delivery. Nothing leaves the factory until it meets our requirements 100%.” The high quality standards are also reflected in customer satisfaction: the company’s products are appreciated by customers worldwide. Above all, the high physical quality of the granulated goods is emphasized: All products are described as particularly firm, low-dust and durable.

Quality in the laboratory too: from Access to LIMS software solution

At some point, COMPO EXPERT’s testing laboratory in Krefeld wanted to digitalize its internal analysis processes in order to meet its high quality standards. Away from test books and Excel spreadsheets – towards a digital solution. At first, the decision was made to use an Access solution programmed in-house to map the figures. This worked well for a while, but the system soon reached its limits: When new varieties were developed, they had to be integrated in a cumbersome way; trends and correlations could not be read or evaluated; there was no reporting function. In 2014, a new, more practical solution was needed that could be individually adapted to the ever-changing requirements of the testing laboratory – not the other way around. Volker Staat knew Peter Niemann, CEO at Fink & Partner, from working with him on a previous project. “I looked at the website and thought ‘An analysis management system – that’s what we need.'”

LIMS User - Volker Staat - Compo

Volker Staat
Chemical Laboratory Assistant & LIMS Administrator

The LIMS software solution convinced everyone in the lab

Fink & Partner’s modular [FP]-LIMS was convincing right from the start. In addition to the digital implementation of the topics analysis management and test order management, the software also offers modular solutions for recipe management and a web interface. What previously took a lot of time or, in the worst case, was only possible by calling in a programmer, can now be done flexibly and easily. “We can supply the plants elegantly via the web browser – was also possible before, but very complicated. No installation, no complicated login – it just opens in the browser and it runs!”

Thanks to the modular architecture of the [FP] LIMS, the introduction of the LIMS software could take place successively, which was also found to be very pleasant by the laboratory staff. It quickly became apparent what the LIMS was capable of in use. Today, the employees are particularly enthusiastic about the high flexibility of the software. “We can flexibly define different limit values or versions, or enter new qualities for different time periods – that was not possible so easily with Access. Past values are then also changed automatically – that was of course not optimal,” confirms Volker Staat.

In addition to the high flexibility, he also sees other significant advantages: “We use the LIMS very intensively every day. It saves a lot of time and, above all, paper. We can finally read trends at an early stage, transparency within the company has increased significantly thanks to the reporting function, and the recovery rate of results is 100%.” Volker Staat is convinced:

“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do today if we didn’t have [FP]-LIMS.”

COMPO EXPERT: Ready for the demands of the future

Responding to trends and remaining highly flexible – this is what COMPO EXPERT stands for, and not just in production. Volker Staat also sees the introduction of the [FP] LIMS and its intensive use as an important milestone for the company’s future viability.

“A LIMS is an optimal way to meet the increasingly digital challenges in the laboratory as well. My experience shows: Especially for more complex testing processes, a LIMS is simply indispensable.”

Today, more than ever, it is essential for laboratories in all sectors of the economy to take advantage of digitization and incorporate it within their daily processes. The change from a system with many media discontinuities to a holistic digitalized solution like COMPO EXPERT is still a distant dream for many companies. However, the case study exemplifies how a LIMS can be a decisive competitive advantage in times of advancing digitalization – thanks to leaner processes, greater transparency, and maximum flexibility.