What is a lims?
This is the ultimate guide to LIMS software.
The work performed in labs requires a high level of efficiency to produce accurate results. Unfortunately, lab operations not supported by management and automation tools can interfere with a lab’s critical work and decrease its ability to meet business, customer and regulatory needs and requirements. That is where LIMS software comes into play.
Laboratory Information Management Solution (LIMS) software provides labs with all the tools needed to effectively manage vital lab processes and information, such as the entire sample life cycle and associated data. LIMS solutions digitally automate a lab’s workflow, transforming it into an organized and robust data-collection, data management and data reporting machine. Not only do LIMS solutions make data management easier, they also produce reliable results because of their data analytics and reporting capabilities. These features are especially important as labs manage large volumes of samples, tests, methods, projects, customers, inventory and much more.
If you manufacture a product then you understand how essential a timely and accurate data collection system is to a product’s integrity. Modern manufacturing processes produce unprecedented levels of data that become more increasingly difficult to organize over time. Having LIMS software in place ensures that your lab can analyze samples and data efficiently to ensure quality and regulatory standards are met.
There are many aspects that make up a LIMS so, let’s breakdown the definition of LIMS solutions, as well as the factors that make LIMS solutions useful for businesses and labs throughout the world. If you have any questions regarding this information or LIMS software solutions, contact Labworks. Our LIMS specialists will help educate you about what leading LIMS solutions can do for you and your specific industry.
Without any further ado, let’s get started.
What does LIMS mean and what is LIMS software used for?
LIMS stands for Laboratory Information Management System. It is a type of software used in labs in various industries to improve productivity and efficiency by automating processes and tracking all data associated with the sample life-cycle and related data such as test results, inventory, instrumentation, personnel, reporting, and process workflow automation.
LIMS software features a series of technology capabilities tailored to fit the needs of your operations. Some of the most prominent markets using LIMS software include research and development laboratories, process development and manufacturing labs, or bioanalytical laboratories. A fully integrated LIMS almost acts as a member of your workforce as it shoulders a lot of the burdens that might take multiple employees to manage correctly. Not only will it automate your workflow processes, but it provides timely and accurate access to information needed to make business decisions. With these critical details in mind, it can be difficult choosing a LIMS software provider.
Learn more about LIMS software through a LIMS software demo.
Laboratory Sample Tracking
The most basic function of a LIMS system is to manage the sample life-cycle including scheduling, collection, login, results entry, violation handling, QA/QC, validation, invoicing, reporting, and much more. The software also tracks and records the journey of the sample throughout its life-cycle through chain-of-custody tracking and tracking changes via an “Audit-trail”.
While the sample and analysis are the core entities, LIMS manage other data such as customers, projects, inventory, to provide a broad view of activity from many different perspectives.
Tests are often done via instruments that produce large volumes of data that can be tedious and time consuming to enter. To get the most out of a LIMS system, it is critical to integrate your instruments with your LIMS system to tedious data entry work, increase efficiency, and increase data accuracy. Most LIMS integrate with typical lab instruments as long as they produce an output file or allow for direct integration through an API.
Additionally, leading LIMS can track instrument calibration results and receive prompts for any scheduled maintenance. Instrument, test method, and employee data can be combined to determine which instrument is available and best suited to run tests and who is available and capable to run a specific test. Combining multiple data points like this helps to ensure accuracy and compliance.
LIMS applications are “Configured” to meet your lab’s specific needs. Configuration is different than “Customization” because configuration can usually be done by non-technical individuals using tools built into the software. Customization usually requires a software developer to make changes to the software to meet your lab’s requirements. Customization should be avoided when possible because it is more costly to implement and maintain over time.
LIMS software features inventory recording systems that track all the reagents and consumables in your laboratory. It will also monitor all expiration dates and ensure that you use viable products in your experiments. You can also track recipes, monitor workflow, deprecate volumes, and prompt workers when it is time to reorder. Since LIMS knows your inventory, it can also minimize over-ordering, reducing costs, and avoiding unintended reagent loss. Perhaps even more important is the traceability of LIMS inventory capabilities. If there is a problem with a particular lot of reagents, the LIMS will quickly identify which samples are contaminated and need to be retested.
Lab Reporting and Analytics
While putting data into a system and automating processes is important so too leveraging the data to achieve results and make decisions. LIMS software gathers data about samples, reagents, methods, workflows, and much more so that the lab can see the status of samples and projects in real-time. It also helps you generate useful quality control information, including mitigating risks of inefficiency in your lab work. Operational dashboards, automated reports, ad hoc queries, charting and trend analysis are just a few ways to manage and access LIMS data.
Laboratory Workflow Optimization
Laboratories use several different instruments throughout a particular workflow. Labs must select the most robust instrument to use during their experiments. The problem is that each instrument has uniquely controlled protocols, methods, and workflows. LIMS software provides a solution for properly managing these instruments across multiple workflows. Overall, our LIMS solution will make it simple and fast to configure your workflows while optimizing itl.
Benefits of using LIMS software
Along with the various components LIMS software offers, there are several benefits you will gain using LIMS solutions. While the primary purpose of LIMS systems may be to track and manage data, it also does so much more than that. A few of the benefits of using LIMS software include:
- Improves operational efficiency
- Improves data quality
- Increases access to data
- Facilitates timely and better decisions
- Promotes greater and better communication within and across organizations and with customers
- Enforces compliance and simplifies the lab audit preparations/process
- Promotes accountability
- Increases job satisfaction and employee morale
The value of these benefits has drastically increased during the Covid-19 pandemic because of a LIMS ability to facilitate the flow as lab resources work remotely.
Who Uses LIMS
LIMS solutions can be used by any type of laboratory such as an R&D lab, a process manufacturing lab, or monitoring and compliance lab. Small labs often think a LIMS is best suited for large labs with many users but labs of any size can benefit from the automation and data management a LIMS can provide. Single site or multi-site lab operations equally benefit from LIMS solutions.
Additionally, LIMS are used by many different type of individuals such as analysts, scientists, lab managers, QA/QC specialists and non-traditional lab personnel such as sample collectors in the field, sample log-in data entry associates, inventory managers, finance resources, etc.
How LIMS Help Business Comply with Various Industry Requirements
To ensure proper handling of data, including the 21 CFR Part 11, many laboratories have to respect regulations, including those that cover data integrity guidelines, ISO 17025, and GLP. Your lab can use LIMS software to comply with requirements across various industries.
LIMS Industry Experience
Labworks is a long-standing leader in the LIMS and the laboratory data management industries. Since 1985, LABWORKS has been successfully implemented in over 400 laboratories ranging from international laboratories with hundreds of employees located at many different labs to single laboratory operations with only a few users. Labworks has the most experienced team of experts in the industry, with an average tenure of 20 years of Labworks, LIMS, and lab experience. We take a holistic approach and focus on all aspects of a LIMS implementation, namely People, Processes, and Technology. 95% of our team members are dedicated to product innovation and customer success, and we do what it takes to make you successful.
Learn more about our LIMS software through the Labworks software demo.
LIMS Software from Labworks
A LIMS leader since 1985, Labworks is committed to excellence in all that we do, from product development and innovation to customer satisfaction. We do what it takes to guarantee your success. Labworks provide all of the functionality and tools needed to manage and automate the full sample/analysis processes in your lab from end-to-end. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Sample/analysis creation and scheduling
- Sample collection (mobile app)
- Sample log-in and preparation
- Results entry and instrument integration
- Quality assurance/quality control
- Violation alerts and automation workflows
- Validation and approvals
- Automated reporting
- Full audit trail and eSignatures
- Certification and regulatory compliance tools
You can count on LABWORKS for all your LIMS software needs. Our software is all about data security, accuracy, and ease of use. Whether you need numerous reporting and analytical tools that meet your data requirements or are focused on transforming data into information to help you make the right decisions and increase efficiency, trust LABWORKS to improve your laboratory sample management.