You’ve probably heard of research lab management software, but what does it do? A LIMS is a software system that manages all of the information related to a laboratory’s processes, such as sample tracking, results reporting, and data analysis.
In this post, we’ll discuss how LIMS can help your lab run more efficiently. We’ll also cover the key features of LIMS and how they can benefit your organisation. So, if you’re wondering how to choose research software for your lab, read on.
What is Research Lab Management Software?
Like the data management software in the business world, research and development departments require software applications to support critical aspects of laboratory processes like research, development, and testing of the final product. The software helps researchers accurately track, organise, standardise, and centralise research data and operations in the lab to deliver insights faster.
What Do Laboratories Use Research Lab Management Software For?
Below are some of the goals that laboratories have when implementing LIMS to achieve their needs.
Since labs must track, document and manage their entire inventory needed for controls and samples, a good LIMS can help researchers to get everything they need at the right time. The software also reduces the time required to enter data manually and eliminate human errors, which can sometimes lead to huge losses.
Lot management and release
A laboratory with laboratory information management software can easily monitor its batch usage, batch performance and the distribution of tasks among the users in the lab. The system will also provide data about previous similar batches, allowing the researchers to analyse in the context of the entire product instead of a single batch.
Stability study management
Using the software, researchers can configure their samples and study how various temperatures and humidities affect their results. Such a move can help them develop a complex matrix of testing that prevents future degradation with data trending.
Researchers can use LIMS to determine the quality of a batch of a product or a sample of water in a distribution system. Thanks to the system’s reliable traceability, users can trace a sample if they detect poor quality or unwanted bacteria.
Thanks to its automated documentation, LIMS users can easily find information about the storage of samples, the results and any other subsequent data analysis.
LIMS’s complete documentation guarantees a high level of transparency, which is important in third party audits and cases where customers need reporting.
Minimal resource consumption
Due to the digital record of samples in LIMS, Labs can minimise the time they spend documenting samples and concentrate on their core functions like analysis. This will save them time and money used when trying to track down or regenerate samples.
Core components of Research Lab Management Software
The three core components of a good LIMS are sample tracking, storage organisation and protocol execution. Since labs deal with different samples tracked by various researchers through varying methods, it can be challenging to ensure that your data is not compromised by human error. Below is a detailed explanation of these components and how they work alongside each other to improve lab processes.
LIMS has a primary role of tracking every sample through testing and storage. Some of the processes in tracking include recording all data about the sample when it arrives, like its identification number, source, collection date and quantity. Additional data will also be captured as the sample moves through other lab processes. Some of this data includes the test results, time-based study metrics and derived sample data.
In addition to the sample-specific data, LIMS will also record who interacted with the sample throughout the lab processes.
LIMS should also help in the standardisation of the laboratory’s workflows and underlying procedures, steps and protocols. LIMS helps labs to standardise their processes by digitising the steps in protocols and procedures to ensure that all people handling samples execute the correct step in the correct order.
The other critical feature of LIMS is helping users keep track of a sample throughout the laboratory processes. The system will track the exact box where an individual sample is stored, thus eliminating the need to check every box when looking for the sample. Additionally, the system will track the drawer that the box is placed, the rack the drawer is, and the rack’s room. This will help researchers save time because they can pinpoint the exact location of various lab samples.
Why modern labs need Research Lab Management Software
Since modern labs process and analyse vast amounts of information, they need an automated system for speed and accuracy and avoid errors. A good LIMS can improve a lab’s efficiency through automated sharing of documents, annotating and commenting. LIMS also acts as a centralised system where scientists can manage lab processes and easily access data.