Translating Customer Requirements into Xerox Analytical and Characterization Services

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Working with customers to deliver services to help them solve technical problems is a very rewarding experience. This interaction provides analytical and characterization specialists the opportunity to apply their knowledge, experience and skills to areas of chemistry that normally Xerox would not be involved in.  

Solve problems and advance products

The fun part of all this is we get the opportunity to work closely with our customers to resolve difficult problems and advance their products. Our experience is wide ranging, and although it does not cover analysis of all type of materials, the work process and methodology that we apply to solve technical problems and obtain the required information is very transferable to all materials we come in contact with. This ability to translate customer requirements or the Voice of the Customer into actionable deliverables is embedded in our Xerox work processes that have made us very successful over the years.  

Identify techniques

The initial request from the customer may be very vague, and often they are unsure on how to acquire the information they are looking for. Often customers observe chemical and morphological differences between materials in their end use application and want to understand why are they performing differently.

Is there something chemically different between the materials? Was the process used to produce the materials different? Why do the materials perform differently? Through further discussions with the customer, we can help identify the appropriate analytical and characterization techniques for evaluation.   

Determine critical customer information

In other situations, the analytical or characterization tests requested by the customer can be refined or changed to a more suitable option that will meet their requirements. It is very important to have these conversations with the customer to more clearly define the specific work content and determine what is the most critical information requested by the customer. Through this consultation process, we translate the customer requirements into objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound or SMART objectives. 

SMART Objectives

Once SMART objectives are identified then the analytical and characterization evaluation can begin. Since the materials are new to XRCC many times, new test methods are developed, or modification made to existing ones to obtain the information required. This can involve exploring many factors such as new columns, identifying an optimized solvent system, operating temperature range, robust sample preparation and changing instrument conditions to develop the optimized test method.

Accurate, reliable, reproducible data

Analytical standards, quality control samples and calibration curves are employed when necessary to validate new test methods and generate quantitative data. Multiple analysis of samples are performed to determine specificity, accuracy, repeatability and reproducibility of the test method to ensure the new test method is robust. The end result is accurate, reliable and reproducible data that can help the customer improve their knowledge about the materials and to answer their analytical and characterization questions. 

Author: Dr. Karen A. Moffat

Learn more about our Analytical and Characterization Services.