Why do you need LIMS software?
LIMS software keeps track of information about samples, experiments, lab processes, and instruments to make labs run more efficiently. LIMS software works to fit the needs of research and development. Process development and production, and bioanalytical labs. A good LIMS simplifies processes and keeps track of sample data, processes, and QA/QC results.
The Top Benefits of LIMS Workflow
LIMS can be changed to meet the needs of a lab. However systems today do a lot more than just keep track of samples. Modern LIMS components:
The location and tracking of samples — At its most basic, a standard LIMS will let you “accession” samples. Analyze their current position, and track and record each step in their lab workflow. It keeps track of samples and results for each aliquot and gives a combined view at the basic level, based on the flow of work. LIMS is the master data aggregator, so it must keep track of changes in the sample lifetime and make a full audit record of sample actions.
Stock of consumables and chemicals A LIMS will keep track of all lab equipment and supplies. It will keep track of the recipes that use these reagents, note who made them, reduce the volume in real time. And tell users to buy more. Since it knows what you have in stock. It can cut down on over-ordering, which loses money and slows down projects, and stop reagents from running out without warning. Traceability is extremely important. If a reagent lot fails, the LIMS will show which samples pass.
Lab methods usually involve more than one instrument, each of which makes a separate file of results in a different format. Your program should include these devices and their data, linking them to your sample records. LIMS should also look at QC data to see if samples meet the expected standards. Samples that do should move on to the next workflow step. While samples that don’t should go back to the previous workflow step, based on your business rules. Record the results of instrument calibration and get reminders about preventive upkeep. So that workers don’t use equipment that isn’t up to par. The LIMS can remove them from the list of choices while they are being calibrated or maintained.
Workflow creation, improvement, and growth Instruments from many different companies exist in laboratories. Laboratories desire the most durable tool. This makes it hard to keep track of the protocols, methods, and processes for each instrument. You should be able to use different workflows for different samples or jobs with your LIMS. Do you want to add more tools, robots, or instruments to your lab? Your LIMS should make it easy for you to set up these processes.
Ability to change
The best LIMS systems make it easy for users to set up their business processes and workflows. In the beginning of the program, this required custom coding, which made it hard to add new instruments and processes. Today, lab processes can be made or changed quickly even without the help of a LIMS provider.
Modularity: A modular program lets you build new workflows by taking parts from current workflows and adding new modules to reflect your lab’s growing expertise. Part of your process is adding samples. The accessioning tool should make it easier for you to come up with a new scientific method.
Dashboards and report writing Even though most labs are going paperless, it’s still important to see statistics and metrics. A LIMS stores samples, reagents, instruments, processes, and more. A program should let you see data in real time so you can keep track of samples and projects. And get quality control data. Is one instrument under performing? Can care improve how well a lab works? LIMS can find it before it gets worse. Is the weak point in your method hidden? LIMS records can show you where samples are stuck, so you can add resources to move things along. Meet your time-to-turnaround (TAT)? A program might give you reports and screens that show what percentage of samples finish the workflow. In the expected time and where you missed the goal TAT, so you can improve your process.
Many labs have to follow a number of rules, such as ISO 17025 and GxP for lab procedures. And 21 CFR Part 11 and data security guidelines for data management. Compliance needs LIMS in many labs. Given how important compliance is, keep an eye out for our future blog post on new LIMS updates coming in 2024.