A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is now virtually a requirement to support daily operations for labs that support any type of testing, from R&D to commercial. The global LIMS market is currently over $500 million and is projected to reach $750 million in the next few years. A LIMS can take many forms, ranging from custom-built software to an off-the-shelf vendor-configured system that supports an entire lab organization.
Like buying a house, organizations should select a LIMS solution to best fit their day-to-day and long-term needs – and be sure to select the right partner for implementation.
In this post, we outline the top 5 ways a LIMS can create value for an organization:
1. Driving Operational Efficiency
A LIMS improves lab productivity by simplifying and accelerating processes through workflow automation and supporting direct connections with laboratory equipment and systems (like lab instruments, electronic notebooks, or chromatography data systems). The workflow management features included in many full-stack LIMS can automate the movement of a sample through the lab process life-cycle and not only track samples but also manage reagent and lab equipment inventory.
Instrument integration eliminates the need to manually read and record instrument measurements, which both expedites those processes and limits opportunities for human error. These moves to automation and centralization will drive greater efficiency across lab processes, enable easy tracking and data recording, and, ultimately, save time that can then be dedicated to more complex business problems.
2. Ensuring Compliance and Proper Data Management
Labs typically operate in highly regulated environments. Regulatory bodies like the FDA, ISO, and CLIA are primarily concerned with the process, accuracy, and traceability of laboratory testing. A LIMS can offer powerful features that enable labs to maintain data compliance and audit trails. For example, many out-of-the box LIMS products are compliant to regulations such as 21CFR Part 11. Utilizing a LIMS ability to integrate directly with other systems removes the possibility of data transcription errors and increases the integrity of data collected in the lab. Standardized templates and workflows built directly into a LIMS improve reproducibility of batch processes. And with a proper back-up plan, a LIMS can alleviate regulatory concerns for data retention and be vital in the collection of evidence for any planned or surprise audits.
3. Leading to Innovative Solutions
The increased data availability and transparency yielded by having sample testing information in one central system that is easily searchable will lead to improved knowledge sharing and collaboration across the organization. With a LIMS, reports on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of samples tested, turnaround time, and personnel productivity can be created and reviewed on a consistent basis. This information contained within a centralized system can help organizations manage resources more efficiently, shine light on areas for improvement that would otherwise be missed, and support the development of predictive analytics capabilities to help drive major business decisions that will increase revenue and decrease costs.
4. Improving Scalability
With the number of manual steps required to support lab analyses reduced, lab organizations will be able to increase throughput and scale more effectively. A LIMS can automatically push sample test results that are then easily accessed and viewed by lab personnel. As an organization matures and grows, continues to upgrade its technology, and seeks to meet increasing demands it is key to have the ability to scale to support large volume testing and a wide variety of clients. This is especially important for organizations that are in the clinical and/or commercial space where supporting higher volumes is essential to keep up with the competition.
5. Increasing Stakeholder Confidence
The lab equipment industry is moving toward more automated solutions for testing and analysis. Lab management systems are a key￼ requirement for most customers￼ when choosing an organization to perform lab testing and analysis. Transparency—the ability to share real-time data and information across internal teams and with clients—is central to a lab’s success in today’s competitive landscape. Having a LIMS in place gives clients, investors, and other partners the confidence that processes are streamlined and automated and that their data will be stored securely and easily retrieved.
A LIMS offers myriad advantages for lab organizations, from operational improvements to increased visibility to KPI-based, data-driven reporting.
With cloud-based LIMS solutions becoming more available, organizations have opportunities for even greater flexibility and cost savings. When selecting a LIMS to implement, it is critical for labs to perform a thorough evaluation of available products as well as of their own processes to ensure that business needs and requirements are supported. The true value of a LIMS will be unlocked when this comprehensive assessment is paired with an organized, efficient implementation.
West Monroe Partners has completed multiple LIMS projects and has the deep expertise to help organizations address their lab optimization needs. Contact us to learn more about how West Monroe can help.