Lab Management Systems or Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a software created to improve a lab’s productivity. As the name implies, this software ‘manages’ a lab’s data associated with instruments, samples, experiments, and laboratory workflows.
Labs generate huge amounts of information every day, which modest spreadsheets and other traditional tools simply cannot store. LIMS, however, helps automate as well as track the vast amounts of data.
LIMS can meet all the rapidly-evolving and varied requirements of the different laboratories. Therefore, it is a much-needed solution for every lab.
The history of laboratory information management systems
Organizations were manually keeping track of all the data. Not only was this time-consuming, but it was riddled with error.
This led a few enterprising entities to design an instrument-based system which gave a more commercial reporting solution.
A centralized minicomputer was developed, which helped the labs utilize automated reporting tools. This was the first generation of LIMS.
In the second generation, the lab management systems were expanded into the application-specific territory.
The third generation of LIMS emerged in the 1990s when personal computers were becoming more popular. The new LIMS of the third generation worked on a client/server model.
Under this model, the workloads were distributed between clients, service requesters, and servers, the providers of a service.
Industries continued the use of the client/server model, which was more developed, now. The system allowed the processing of data anywhere on the network.
In order to increase efficiency and productivity, lab management systems were being reformed constantly.
Web-enabled systems were also introduced to extend operations beyond the confines of the laboratories.
Additional functionalities, such as wireless networking capabilities and electronic laboratory notebook, are added to add to the potency of lab management systems.
Why do you need LIMS?
- LIMS is a need-of-the-hour software for all labs as it makes the work really easy by efficiently storing all the data, which can be easily retrieved whenever required. So, no rummaging through the huge volumes of data!
- It acts as an additional member of your team and can perform many more tasks than just keeping track of your data.
- You can manage the entire lab processes, such as lab inventory and sample management, using this software.
- As LIMS is digital software, there are no chances of human error, and the information is accurate.
- It also saves time which the scientists and lab technicians can use to research.
- LIMS is not limited to any one kind of lab and can be used in many types of labs, such as clinical labs, production labs, food and beverage labs, and natural sciences labs.
Laboratory information management system procedure
From sample storage, testing, reporting, and archiving, the lab management system takes care of the entire journey of a sample.
Scientists can store the following information, though LIMS is not limited to it.
- Time and date of the sample
- Batch material
- Inspection number
- Location of the test
- Additional information
The above information is stored safely in a single place and is easily accessible. Most often, LIMS generate a unique barcode for each sample data which can be scanned later, and used by various staff members.
Key functionalities of a laboratory information management system
Streamlining processes and providing error-free results are the two most important objectives of lab technicians and LIMS help them easily achieve the same.
All details of the samples are accurate and are safely stored with the help of LIMS. There are no chances of data being lost or mixed up, despite moving between various scientists and departments.
As the systems are fully automated, the process is extremely simple and straightforward for all lab technicians.
These lab management systems also streamline the crucial task of decision making.
Efficient LIMS automatically assigns work to all the team members along with suggesting the instruments that would be used for the particular task allotted to them.
Lastly, LIMS are also aware of the whole process of test-taking; therefore, they inform the staff members exactly where the task should go next.
With LIMS, you can stay updated with the upkeep of your equipment. It informs the lab workers where particular equipment is stored. This makes it easier for them to reach and, thus, saves a lot of time.
Not only this, but you can also be notified whenever a piece of equipment needs an upgrade or maintenance. This ensures that you are never working with substandard equipment.
Electronic data exchange
A modern Lab management system allows the successful transfer of data files in other desired formats, such as spreadsheets.
Moreover, the best LIM system will also integrate mobile technology to make the required information available on smartphones.
Disadvantages of LIMS
Till now, we have dwelt on the advantages of the lab management systems; however, there are a few cons too, that you should know.
Not only LIMS, but nearly all computerized systems are prone to system crashes. Power outages or corrupt hard drives may lead to data loss.
However, this problem can be tackled if the data is backed up regularly.
Reduced physical audits
“When everything is automated, what is the need for time-consuming audits?” This is where most of the people go wrong. It is equally important to do regular audits, even though computers are at work.
Lack of physical audits increases the risk of potential internal theft and manipulation.
No computerized system is immune to hacks. Likewise, LIMS can also come under the radar of hackers. Data breaches can lead to the disclosure of confidential financial information of the customers.
Therefore, it is necessary to update the firewalls and anti-virus software to mitigate this problem.
Best LIMS software
SapioSciences is a leading provider of efficient laboratory management solutions. They view lab processes as an asset, and not a liability, helping in delivering the non-erroneous results to a business’s customers.
This exemplar LIMS System gets to work the moment a sample arrives at your lab. Adapting quickly to any lab process via configuration, the versatility of this LIMS system makes it one of the most-opted-for system in the market.
If you want to increase the productivity of your lab’s technicians, then you must opt for a lab management system. This will save them from all the admin work and provide them more time to engage in other helpful tasks.
With a LIMS software, not only will the lab workers be benefitted, but all the customers will return satisfied as there would be zero error in your results.