Management System for Labs is a specific type of software that is designed to increase the efficiency of labs through the tracking of the data that are associated with experiments, samples, lab workflows, as well as instruments. Scientists working with LIMS software LIMS can have specialization tools for researchers and developers, labs or process development laboratories, as well as bioanalytical labs. An effective LIMS serves as an extra partner to your team in automating workflows and tracking every important piece of information about your samples, such as information, processes, as well as the QA/QC results that your lab produces every day.
Top 8 Workflow Benefits from a LIMS
LIMS software constantly evolves to meet the demands of labs. If you’ve never had the chance to look at the possibilities that a LIMS can offer, it is possible to consider LIMS as just a tracker based on samples, but modern LIMS systems can do everything and more. Let’s look at the most important elements of an advanced LIMS:
Tracking and location of samples
The most basic of all, the best laboratory information management system will permit you to access (log into) samples, record their exact whereabouts (site laboratory, freezer, site box, shelf or cell) and track and record every step of their path through any lab process you’re using. Most samples are divided into aliquots. LIMS does not just track the results of the sample at every aliquot. It also offers a complete overview of the sample, patient, project, or batch level, based on the workflow you are using. LIMS is the most efficient aggregator of your data, and consequently, it is crucial to monitor any changes that occur throughout the life cycle of the sample and provides an audit trail that covers each action that is performed on each sample.
Inventory of consumables and reagents
A LIMS can allow you to keep track of the reagents and consumables you use and are introduced into your laboratory. It will track expiration dates and limit the usage of expired products, keep track of recipes, including the reagents, track the person who created them, deprecate quantities as reagents are utilized and notify users when it’s time to order a new batch. Since the LIMS has a clear view of the inventory of your business, it will also limit over-ordering, that leads to waste and higher costs, and also eliminate unplanned depletion of reagents, which can cause delays to work and projects that are overrun. What’s more important is the traceability that this gives. If there’s an issue with a certain amount of reagent, The LIMS allows you to quickly identify which samples are affected and must be tested again.
Integration of instruments
Integration of instruments Lab workflows usually includes several kinds of instruments, all producing different result files, which could be in various file formats. Your LIMS solution must be able to connect the various instruments as well as their results, eventually linking these results back to the record of samples. In addition, LIMS should allow some level of analysis of the QC outcomes to identify which samples fulfil the expected standards, send samples that have met the criteria to the next stage of the workflow process, and fail samples to the previous process step that your business guidelines stipulate. In addition, you can track results from the calibration of instruments and be notified of planned preventative services. When these instruments are in the process of calibration or maintenance, they are able to be removed from the list of options in the LIMS which means that technicians don’t have to use instruments that aren’t in the specifications.
Optimization, development and the expansion of workflows Laboratories are environments that are heterogeneous and employ a variety of instruments that come from different manufacturers. Laboratories are looking to select the instrument that is most durable for the job. The problem is that each instrument comes with unique protocols, processes and workflows that must be controlled. Your LIMS should be able to provide multiple workflows to use as required for certain examples or projects. Perhaps you are planning to expand your laboratory in order to incorporate a new kind of equipment, instrument, or robotics? Your LIMS solution should permit you to incorporate these workflows easily and quickly by adjusting.
The most effective LIMS solutions offer a user-friendly way for users to customize their individual workflows and business processes within the system. In the beginning, LIMS was a requirement for custom-written code, making it difficult to integrate new instruments as well as expand workflows and methods. Nowadays, LIMS supports more agility within the lab and workflows can be designed or changed quickly without the need for assistance from LIMS’s LIMS provider.
Using the modular LIMS lets you create new workflows utilizing components you might already know from existing workflows. You can also add new modules that showcase your lab’s growing expertise. As an example, you’re already transferring samples as part of your workflow. When you implement an entirely new scientific approach, then you’ll be able to make use of the already recognized accessioning tool to speed up the creation of your new method.
Dashboard and report generation
While many labs are trying to go paperless and paper-free, it’s important to have the ability to present your lab’s data and metrics in useful ways. A LIMS gathers a lot of information about instruments, samples, reagents workflows, and others. A LIMS will also provide you with the capability to display the data in real-time to check the condition of your projects and samples and also to provide useful quality control information. Are your instruments not performing as well as the others? Does maintenance help improve the overall lab performance? LIMS will help you identify this before it becomes a bigger issue. Do you have a bottleneck that’s not easily identifiable? The LIMS reports will show the reasons why samples are not moving at a particular stage and permit you to assign additional resources to alleviate the issue. Are you achieving your stated deadline for turnaround (TAT)? A LIMS can create dashboards and reports that display how many samples have been completed within the timeframe you expect and also where you’ve failed to meet the goal TAT to help you determine what you can do to improve your process.
Many laboratories are required to adhere to multiple regulations which cover everything from laboratory practices to ISO 17025 and GxP to ensure that data is handled properly, like 21 CFR Part 11 and the guidelines on data integrity. For many labs that are in compliance, it is only the utilization of LIMS. That compliance has a significant role to play, you must be on the lookout for our next blog post, which will discuss the particular benefits of LIMS for compliance as well as the financial advantages of LIMS.