When the country was turned upside down by corona in March 2020, fast and reliable testing was one of the biggest spearheads. To this end, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport had experts from all corners of the world and disciplines approach. Among them were data scientists from Pipple. These played a key role in providing insight into the national testing capacity.

A mega Excel, that’s what Farhang Dehzad, Teamlead Datalab at Dienst Testen, calls the file that Pipple managed and further developed. An indispensable tool for the entire organization. The file showed the current capacity of each test lab, so that the team could search for additional laboratories, people and materials in time in the event of imminent scarcity. It fed a dashboard that provided insight into the journey that the GGD’s swaps took from test location to lab.

Huge responsibility

Farhang: ‘Pipple’s consultant had a very decisive role in providing insight into which test lab had room for processing PCR tests.’ Managing and analyzing the data was a huge responsibility, Farhang explains. “At the height of the pandemic, 100,000 tests were administered per day. Managing such a chain in the right direction is a huge logistical challenge. The social importance is enormous. Just like the financial pressure, because a PCR test is not cheap.’ Not to mention the political importance: ‘All the figures that the House of Representatives receives about the test landscape came and come from us.’

When it became clear that COVID-19 was not out of the world for the time being, the initial crisis organization was formalized into a solid organization: Testing Service. This also included more durable steering instruments. Until then, a mountain of external data had to be manually entered into the Excel tool every week. That was error-prone and labor-intensive. That is why the Testing Department brought a second Pippelaar on board. He translated the Excel into code and built an application around it. Since then, the model has been automatically fed with external data and the information is much more accessible to colleagues.

Communicative power

Farhang finds a striking similarity between Pipple’s consultants to be their power of communication. ‘They are not data scientists in a lab. On the contrary. Both were clearly present in a pleasant way. They needed little instruction, went out on their own and dared to give their opinion. By listening, explaining, thinking along and brainstorming, they were able to channel the flood of needs from the business into a handy application with which the shop floor itself can work.’ In the meantime, the Testing Department is organizing itself even more sustainably. She also remains ready for future pandemics. Just like the applications to which Pipple made such an important contribution.

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