Whether a company is testing household, industrial or personal care products made of polymers and plastics, chances are they are facing increasing pressures to lower costs, control waste, reduce inventory, increase efficiency, and maintain regulatory compliance.
These concerns are driving business decisions in every industry and in those industries where laboratory testing and analysis is a core requirement of the business, the laboratory has a direct role in helping solve some of these challenges. In companies around the world, a laboratory information management system (LIMS) is the relied upon tool to integrate all the various components of the lab, to automate processes, centralize data capture and deliver that data to those parts of the company where key decisions are made about the business.
A LIMS will automate your laboratory and integrate with applications and instruments in the lab and also with enterprise systems across your organization. With a streamlined workflow in the lab, and a centralized repository for data that is available to the entire organization as it is needed, lab data can become a critical part of any key business metrics and have direct impact on management decision making.
American Laboratory recently published an article that talks about data management in manufacturing companies, and how a LIMS can improve workflow, save time and increase productivity. Here’s what the author has to say in the article, Achieving Success in Chemical Manufacturing: How a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) Ensures Flexibility in the Lab:
Changing raw materials, varying processes and conditions, and implementing different reporting requirements create opportunities for error and revenue/product loss that are less likely to occur in continuous process environments….
In such a dynamic production environment, laboratories must be flexible. Each batch change necessitates that the laboratory take critical steps, such as deploying specific analytical instruments and capturing unique data. One day a QA/QC lab may be using a chromatography system or mass spectrometer, and the next it could be near-infrared (NIR). Testing requirements will vary based on product type and composition… and even individual contracts with customers. Even as instrument manufacturers offer increased instrument flexibility, such as a single system that can be upgraded from a simple benchtop FTIR to a fully automated, multispectral range system that acquires spectra from the far- to the near-infrared without manually changing system components, holistic process and data integrity—beyond any one instrument—are still critical, and a LIMS that integrates instruments and process characteristics for centralized data and work flow management can ensure that….
Managing this complexity is not just challenging; it is truly mission-critical.
An ideal LIMS is one that serves as an integrated platform capable of supporting key enterprise processes and systems as well as providing full integration capabilities for laboratory instrumentation and applications. It should be scalable, flexible and configurable to accommodate a variety of workflows, lab types and user communities.
If it does all that, it should play easily with other applications and instruments in and out of the lab, providing one standard user-interface and enabling data sharing across the organization.