LIMS, or Laboratory Information Management Systems, are software solutions that allow laboratories to record, track and maintain the vast amounts of data which are typically generated in the modern laboratory environment.
In addition, they can easily integrate with lab instruments (to capture and record precise readings in real time) as well as other software used by your company such as financial, HR, or ERP applications.
We look at some of the many advantages of LIMS for your lab – and your business overall.
By far the most obvious benefit of a LIMS system is improved operational and laboratory efficiency by making record keeping and reporting simple and streamlined. This reduces turnaround times, and frees up your staff to focus on critical tasks rather than manual data entry.
Administrative processes are also streamlined. For example, client invoices can be generated automatically, and HR systems logged with hours worked.
Elimination of human error
Even the most focused and diligent lab worker can make mistakes when transcribing readings, measurements, and sample details by hand. The larger the volume of data to be captured, the more these errors add up, and the less accurate and meaningful your overall results become.
LIMS can integrate with laboratory instruments and capture readings accurately, automatically and at great speed. Even where observations must be recorded manually, a LIMS provides a simple, paperless platform where results are visible to any department which needs them straight away, and can be checked when necessary.
Standardisation and Compliance
A LIMS platform will help you make sure all staff and all departments are following the same set of procedures and protocols, as the software guides them through a standardised process across the board, which you can customise to your specific needs. This is extremely valuable in industries where your lab’s work must comply with agency or government regulations and quality requirements.
Greater information accessibility and collaboration
Data, readings, measurements, and results can be made available to anyone who needs them thanks to cloud-based LIMS solutions. This makes collaboration across departments, or even across continents, simple and painless.
At the same time, highly configurable access controls and restrictions allow you to ensure that only authorised users have access to sensitive information, and any inputs or changes made can be traced back to the individual user should follow-up or clarification be required.
Enhanced quality management and control
Because all data and transactions are logged accurately and automatically, complete traceability is built into the system. This makes data auditing and regulatory compliance quick and simple. LIMS can be easily adapted to the specific quality control measures and protocols unique to your product or industry.
If desired, predictive reordering can be easily integrated into your LIMS program, so you know well beforehand when reagents and other supplies are running low. This is yet another area where LIMS
One centralised, paperless system
Retrieving old reports and certificates can be a nightmare where multiple, scattered systems exist. When those records are on paper, finding them at all can become impossible, or at the very least incredibly time consuming. Using one secure LIMS across your business eliminates all that hassle, making records easily searchable and available within seconds.
Modular and scalable
Some laboratories will have pretty standard requirements, whereas others might have highly nuanced needs specific to their industry or products. This is where the customizability and modular nature of modern LIMS systems really shines.
Your system can grow with you, and you need only make use of the functions you actually need. This keeps costs down, without hampering your ability to scale up and expand when the time is right.
Compared with paper systems or vast spreadsheets containing years’ worth of information, the intuitive interface offered by an appropriate LIMS application is much easier for lab staff to use. LIMS are also extremely helpful in spotting trends and patterns in data, as graphical representations of large quantities of information can be generated effortlessly.
Finally, all these benefits come together and complement one another to make your laboratory and business more profitable. Aside from the immense time savings associated with LIMS – often tens of thousands of man hours each year for larger laboratories – you also benefit financially through wastage reduction, increased staff productivity, better quality control, speedy and automated client invoicing, and much more.
In addition, a more efficient and more collaborative laboratory environment opens the door for innovation: giving you room to explore new processes and technologies, and ultimately develop new products.