What is Workflow Manager add-on and how to use it? - LabCollector

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What is Workflow Manager add-on and how to use it?

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LabCollector offers the possibility to create custom workflow templates for any of your laboratory needs.

A workflow is a sequence of connected steps that can be used to organize your work and process, and is very useful for routine experiments, helping to standardize the writing of experiment reports, which results in increasing the quality of your laboratory activities.

There are many examples of usage for the workflow add-on , it helps gain time, be more organized, and efficient. In this KB, we will explain to you how you can use this add-on, what each node corresponds to, and some examples of its usage.

Inside the ELN add-on  a workflow is related to the Experiment level.

1. How to use Workflow Manager add-on ?

2. Workflow nodes

3. Workflow example of usage

1. How to use Workflow Manager add-on ?

Users of LabCollector’s Workflow Manager add-on can design any type of workflow, organize their jobs and monitor their status. Each of the workflow node/step is linked to LabCollector’s data, which could be modules, storage plates/boxes, add-ons, …etc.

This add-on is also associated with a dashboard to provide information on user’s activities including the number of workflows per user, project or template.

To add a template, simply go to Workflow -> Templates -> Add template (as shown in the screenshots below).

  • First of all, give your template a name.
  • On the left, you have a list of nodes that you can add to your workflow and link them together with arrows. All you have to do is drag and drop each needed node into the Template Diagram tab. (as shown in the screenshot below).

  • Once you are done, you can click on “Save” and your workflow template will automatically get added to the templates list, but at this stage it’ll only be a Draft, once you fully complete your template, you can then validate it by clicking on the “Validate” button, which will appear right next to the “Save” button. Once validated, you can now view who validated the template and when, how many times was it used and its current status. Plus, you can derive it, archive it, view configuration and details,… etc.
  • Below is an example of the information that will be displayed next to the template’s name once it gets validated.

  • Finally, you can initiate your workflow by going back to the homepage and clicking on located in the top right corner. You will then get the tab shown in the screenshot below. You can either select or deselect the “Use Master Template” checkbox, depending on which one you want to use, then select your workflow and give it a name, and you are all set !

A workflow can be associated with all LabCollector users or restricted to one or more groups. Only the super-administrator can make templates for different groups. The use of workflow teams can be combined to add another layer of access restrictions.
You can access Workflow Teams by simply going to Workflow Manager -> Setup -> Teams. Please refer to the manual for more detailed information.
You also have the option to set-up Master templates, which helps you connect multiple templates with each other. Please refer to the manual for more detailed information.

2. Workflow nodes

Down below is a screenshot for all the nodes that you can use inside a workflow and their corresponding explanation:

  • 1. This is the “start” node, every workflow should contain one, it signals the beginning of your workflow.


  • 2. This is a “module” node, it links to the selected LabCollector module, you can also specify all the necessary elements, such as the fields and information that are relative to this module.


  • 3. Box/plate” node: it corresponds to a certain storage position in which your sample, record, or equipment could be located. In short, it links the workflow to plates or boxes in the storage browser.


  • 4. Stage” node: here you can input all of the necessary steps and instructions about your process, you can arrange them, add descriptions, time limits, …etc. You can also have multiple stages in the same workflow. It can also accept multiple incoming connections and have mutiple outgoing connections at the same time.


  • 5. Recipe” node: this one is connected to the recipe tools of LabCollector, here you can specify all of the ingredients needed for your process, such as: reagents, supplies, equipment, … etc.


  • 6. Derivation” node: it allows you to choose one of two possible path ways (Yes/No).


  • 7. Link” node: this one allows you to establish a connection to any URL.


  • 8. Storage” node: this one allows you to add or remove your main/secondary storage.


  • 9. Analysis” node: It must come directly after a module node, it allows to have access and edit fields within the analysis tab.


  • 10. E-sign” node: it allows you to lock and sign all the records included in a workflow.


  • 11. Addon stage” node: it links to an add-on inside LabCollector, you can choose to link it to LSM, Tube Sorter, or any other add-on that you require.


  • 12. Remote stage” node: it links to a remote app, this app should then call this node with a special “node_id” identifier.


  • 13. End” node: every workflow must have one, it corresponds to the end of your workflow. Multiple end nodes may also be used.
Be Careful note
– Please note that it’s not possible to have multiple Start nodes in the same template.
– Each node has a unique menu for defining the workflow at that point. Additionally, each node has menu options that change based on the nodes it’s connected to.

3. Workflow example of usage

In this KB, we will share with you just one of many examples on how you could be using this highly versatile add-on, we chose a very fundamental one which is pipettes calibration.

The screenshot below shows a workflow for the pipette calibration process (please, don’t hesitate to click on the image to zoom in).

NOTE: All nodes inside a workflow should be linked to each other.

  • In the example above, we used multiple module nodes, such as the equipment module (to link the workflow to the pipettes that need to be calibrated, the balance that we are going to use during the process, …etc.), and also the R&S module (to link the workflow to distilled water for example).
  • We also used stage nodes in which we described all the necessary steps, we added one for calibration and the other for calculations (see screenshots below).

  • We added a derivation node, so if the accuracy value lies within the specified range (99-101%), then the pipette is considered normal and calibrated, and as a result, the workflow goes straight to an end node. If not, then the process could be repeated two more times before concluding that the pipette is abnormal and non-calibrated.

As you can see from the example above, the workflow add-on is highly versatile and dynamic, and you can add as many nodes as you require.

Now, all you have to do is validate your template, then hit “start workflow” and it’ll automatically start working.

You can use workflows for any logical process that you require.

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