Does your lab need a LIMS? To be frank, yes. This isn’t just coming from the point of view of a LIMS provider, but from someone who’s a scientist. Having to grab data from a spreadsheet program to put into a graphing program in order to calculate complex correlations from previous data was a pain. Combining everything into a presentation program was tiring! It’s a lot of hours that are spent outside the lab when I could have been working on another project or preparing different samples. The tedium is frustrating, and it left me annoyed with my company and wishing there was a better way to prepare all the data.
LIMS are a lifesaver for any lab staff who have to compile data, be it for presentation or for sending in a lab report to a client. They also help staff who are uncertain of the priority of the day. These may seem like small changes, but they can mean the world to scientists in the lab. I know that if I had a LIMS, I would’ve felt much happier working at my company and would’ve stayed longer. But my personal story alone is unlikely to be enough to convince someone to implement a new LIMS.
So what are the benefits of getting a LIMS? If your staff have to spend hours and hours compiling data just to create a Certificate Of Analysis (COA), then implementing a LIMS would hours in time. They can prevent human error when they upload the results from an instrument directly to the system. They speed turnover rates on tests by streamlining the process of items like data input and pass/fail criteria. LIMS can also compile data in case your lab is concerned with the accuracy of results and this allows you to track duplicate tests easily.
They also help with company morale. As mentioned earlier, it gives guidance to labs with technicians struggling to decide what needs to be done for the day. It gives clear-to-see priorities in the lab and allows technicians to determine what they must do for the day. This gives technicians confidence and pride in their work. A well organized lab is a happy lab!
Additionally, when a lab has a Quality Management System or QMS, you have a direct line of feedback from lab workers to you. This helps with workplace confidence because it allows workers an opportunity to voice their grievances and lets your lab brainstorm how to fix these issues. It makes them feel that you listen and truly care about issues that occur, and it gives managers a window into some problems of the lab.
LIMS increase output for testing labs by removing the tedium of using dozens of programs. If your lab likes a particular program for invoices or reporting, LIMS can still allow you to use this alongside a management system, or you can use a billing system provided by the system. Some allow you to use a customer portal with your branding to enable customers to look at their results as soon as you would like. You can see the turnover rate for certain teams and assign them to particular tests if you feel they do it well. There’s even more you can do with a LIMS, like track your inventory or group tests together as a major project.
Another reason to bring in a LIMS is that it keeps you from having to code entire software in-house. Making something in-house is time-consuming, costly, and often difficult to make compliant with regulations. It can be difficult for a lab to find the budget to keep an in-house computer scientist to maintain the company LIMS. Depending on the size of the lab, this can be even more difficult for a few computer scientists vs. many technicians. LIMS developers already have a dedicated team that’s available to troubleshoot with your lab should you be having problems.
Do you still wonder whether you need a LIMS? Even if you feel you don’t, your competition won't feel the same way. LIMS are a rapidly growing business and its profits are projected to be up to $1.15 billion by 2025. (1) Your competitors will pick up a LIMS for themselves and may even draw your customers away. Labs are seeing a greater need to get management tools to maximize the productivity of their associates. Not only that but these same tools help to make the lab feel more communicative, better managed, and more efficient by worker standards. When your scientists are happier, it’s that much easier to get work done, and your lab is that much more effective.
The long and short of LIMS is that labs need to get them if they want to continue to be competitive. Though it can be intimidating to find the budget to get one, it’s well worth it. Upon buying a LIMS, companies may wonder how long it will take to implement into their current system. In our next article, we’ll discuss the implementation time for a LIMS and some factors that affect this.
Citations- Woods, L. “Global $1.15 Billion LIMS Market Analysis Report 2016-2018 With Forecasts to 2025 - Cloud-Based LIMS Offer Growth Opportunities - ResearchAndMarkets.com”. Business Wire. Retrieved from https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180417006195/en/Global-1.15-Billion-LIMS-Market-Analysis-Report