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Illumina's Quest for Precision: Unleashing Scientific Potential with Reliable Instrument Calibration

In the captivating world of genomic exploration, where the intricacies of life's code are deciphered and the frontiers of scientific knowledge are pushed ever further, one company stands at the forefront: Illumina. Known for its visionary genome-sequencing devices, Illumina has long understood that the pursuit of groundbreaking discoveries demands accuracy and precision. To that end, the company has embarked on a partnership with Tektronix, the experts in test and measurement equipment, to manage the calibration of the company’s wide array of instruments.


Dedicated Tools for Sensitive Work

Illumina's portfolio encompasses a wide range of instruments, from benchtop devices for DNA sequencing to massive sequencing machines like the NovaSeq and NovaSeq X. Illumina serves customers in many areas, including hospitals, universities, research labs, law enforcement, and veterinary companies.  These instruments require specialized tools and meticulous calibration to ensure accurate results and reliable functionality in the field.

To support its diverse and geographically dispersed customer base, Illumina relies on a dedicated team of field service engineers (FSEs) who are strategically positioned throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America. These skilled professionals play a crucial role in delivering exceptional service to Illumina's customers, which span a wide range of clinical and non-clinical settings. Equipped with a comprehensive set of specialized tools and instruments, including heaters, torque wrenches, sensors and multimeters, these FSEs are prepared to handle a variety of service and maintenance tasks with precision and efficiency.

Seamless Calibration

Tektronix, Illumina's trusted vendor for calibration services, plays a pivotal role in the management and maintenance of these dedicated test and measurement tools. Illumina previously managed the tool calibration for their FSEs in-house, but it was a complicated and time-consuming endeavor that at times left them without the tools necessary to complete their work.

The company handed over the management of its many instruments to a dedicated team of Tektronix employees who have since streamlined the process and ensured a seamless calibration and maintenance cycle for field service engineers, effectively achieving a zero-turnaround time for equipment calibration through Tektronix’s Active Exchange Program. After new engineers are issued their initial set of tools, Tektronix will send them a freshly calibrated set of tools about every 11 months, with a notification to return their existing tools to Tektronix for calibration, clean up and maintenance.

“Tektronix provides a seamless experience for our field service engineers,” says a service delivery program analyst at Illumina who oversees the partnership. “They receive one shipment with newly calibrated tools and simply return their previous tools for calibration in the same packaging. It's a well-oiled machine."

If instruments are broken or report as out of tolerance when they are calibrated, Tektronix also serves as the single point of contact and coordinates the shipment of these tools to their Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for adjustment and repair, maintaining a streamlined communication with Illumina’s FSE program managers and simplifying the asset management process for Illumina.

A True Partnership

The partnership has also extended beyond reliable calibration services, with Tektronix consistently demonstrating its commitment to Illumina's ongoing success. In a bid to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of the company’s antiquated tool tracking method, Illumina’s U.S. headquarters recently implemented an automated system to monitor tool locations, calibration dates and ownership. This automation project has significantly reduced manual efforts, with the information now flowing directly and automatically from the internal Tektronix tracking system to Illumina’s new Salesforce platform.

Illumina acknowledged that the team faced many challenges with this project along the way but praised the team’s ongoing dedication to finding solutions: "The differentiator with the Tektronix team is that they just kept working with us, didn't give up, and consistently helped us find both short-term and long-term solutions. We worked hand in hand like true partners, and now Illumina is considering the implementation of the program on a global scale.”

Driving Future Innovation

Illumina's collaboration with Tektronix has been instrumental in maintaining the calibration and accuracy of the company’s genome sequencing instruments, allowing Illumina to focus on their primary mission of advancing genomics and delivering exceptional results to their customers across the U.S. Discover how Tektronix's Service Solutions can help your team achieve exceptional calibration and maintain the highest standards of precision and performance in your industry.