How a LIMS can help your bottom line
A Laboratory Information Management System, or LIMS, is an important investment for any laboratory. A LIMS does more than just keep track of your sample information, scientific data and results. It allows you to actively manage your entire lab process from instrument maintenance and samples to people and
consumables. A LIMS enables lab managers to make their teams and laboratories more efficient, to catch and correct problems quickly, and to ensure SOPs are followed. Laboratories driven by a LIMS experience not only better science, but better business outcomes.
LIMS, like the software in our everyday lives, continues to evolve. A modern LIMS has evolved from a sample-based tracking system to the digital backbone of the lab. It’s a tool that helps manage efficiency and costs. The business benefits of investing in a LIMS are often overlooked. Reducing the time it takes to do simple tasks like complete a project or compile reports improves sample turnaround time and enables scientists to focus on their real job, scientific innovation.
Top 6 cost benefits of a LIMS
The economic benefits achieved using a LIMS can include:
- Supporting compliance efforts – If you work in a regulated lab, you know that failure to adhere to those regulations can come with costly penalties, rework, and even result in product recalls. It’s important to demonstrate to regulators that data integrity and compliance have been maintained throughout the scientific process. A LIMS can be used to demonstrate to auditors complete sample traceability from data acquisition to final results. It tracks instrument calibration and maintenance, proper use of stocks, standards and reagents, and operator training.
- Decreasing costly data entry errors -Manual data entry has inherent risk. To mitigate that risk, organizations can put in place lengthy review processes, but this adds unnecessary cost and time to the process. Labs today are using LIMS to automate the laboratory process and eliminate human error. Electronic sample identification via barcode scanning or batch file uploads will reduce the data entry errors associated with manual sample identification. Barcoding capabilities also eliminate transcription errors as samples move through the workflow(s), assigning a unique identifier to each sample, container, and reagent to avoid mix-ups.
- Enhancing search capabilities – Instead of wasting your scientists’ valuable time, the LIMS puts information at their fingertips. If you want to retrieve information about a single sample, or a group of samples, a LIMS allows you to retrieve this using a simple search function. Notebook or spreadsheet-based tracking makes this very difficult.
- Integrating with existing (and future) software implementations – Your lab most likely utilizes software solutions that exist outside of the lab. Streamlining the flow of information between systems can automate processes that directly impact the bottom line. For example, a CRO will want to manage customers through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Manufacturing organizations rely on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions to manage their business. Today’s LIMS can interface with these solutions through an application programming interface (API). This bidirectional interface enables the lab to automatically notify accounting that customers can be billed or that product can be shipped.
- Keeping track of reagents and consumables – As reagents and consumables enter your lab they are entered in the LIMS. Now the LIMS will keep track of their expiration dates, track recipes including these reagents, and let you know when it’s time to reorder. Because the LIMS knows your inventory, it can also reduce over-ordering which leads to waste and increased costs and eliminate unexpected reagent depletion which causes work delays and project overruns. It also tracks when and how reagents are used so you know each sample that used that reagent.
- Optimizing instrument usage – A LIMS can be used to show lab managers when experiments are planned and help to create schedules that optimize instrument usage. The LIMS also keeps track of required maintenance and instrument performance, allowing you to schedule preventive maintenance to avoid unexpected instrument downtime.
These are some basic examples of how implementing a LIMS can help you control lab costs through improved efficiency, quality, and overall lab performance. Click here to find out more about LIMS solutions from Thermo Fisher Scientific.