What is a LIMS ?
Lims Stands for Laboratory Information Management System sometimes called LIS (Laboratory Information Sytem) or LMS (laboratory Management System).
A LIMS is made to help you during the whole processes of a laboratory. From sample tracking to decision making, a good LIMS will not only assist you during routine operations but should be flexible enough to help you during research through data analysis and data management.
What you can expect from a Laboratory Information Management System ?
The main strength of a LIMS lies in its specialisation, it is a software made for and around laboratories.
This is the core difference between a classic much flexible tool adaptable to many fields and a tool evolving and revolving around a specific discipline.
The discipline being the laboratory and, with it, samples to study, track and classify. Choosing to implement a LIMS is to make the choice of increasing efficiency and productivity using a tools specifically designed to answers your need.
If increasing efficiency is the main goal, laboratories are also expected to keep a certain level of security and to follow some norms and legislations. This is why a tool tailored especially for laboratories will often be the most suited answer.
LIMS are powerful tools with many facets related together to help the users.
What are the main functionalities available in a LIMS ?
- Management and monitoring the lifecycle of samples.
- Allow to input and/or compilate result of test
- Generating reports
- Barcode handling
- API integration allowance – to integrate with other systems (ERP/Warehouse/Accounting etc…)
- Data organization and transfer between systems
- Help for decision making (Global View, reporting, KPIs)
- Quality control : Skills, machine calibration, maintenance, issues
- Sample and Stock management with data in real time
- Automations : tracking, reports, notification and prelog for routine sampling and tracking
What investment will it require your LIMS ? What cost should you expect?
A LIMS is expensive, understanding that is one of the first steps it you want to implement one in you structure. The reason of this is that :
We are dealing with very sensitive and critical datas that has to comply with a lot of norms.
This high level of security implies a strong and complex system that will be costly
Another major factor of this cost is related to the fact that it is a advanced tools for a small market.
This cost can be frightening at first but it is important to keep in mind that the goal of this tool it to make your company more efficient and reduce errors and time loss Therefore a return on investment is expected on the long run but for it to be optimal it is important to choose the proper solution for your needs, expectations and financial capacities.
As always, the most flexible, complexe and powerful tools will also be the most expensive ones. Those tools will often be considered by companies without financial issues.
The boundary between ERP and LIMS :
It is important to understand that a LIMS systems does not replace an ERP and will usually not include accounting, billing, stock management of other main features of an ERP. That being said there are some exception solutions available on the market. In any case, it it important to what the company is expecting from the software, where does it stop and where the does the ERP starts
We can distinguish 3 different kind of LIMS :
- Small ones with limited capacity but not too expensive
- LIMS modules for ERP. Even though not really LIMS on itself this solutions offer powerful solutions to implement LIMS solutions inside you ERP
- Big Laboratory Information Management System that are the most powerful but also the most expensive solution.