LIMS or Laboratory Information Management System is a program that helps labs to run more efficiently by integrating the various tasks relating to labs like inventory, quality control and testing into a centrally established database. Most of the labs have some type of LIMS systems customized to accomplish their individual tasks. The small and medium scale enterprises still have a dilemma in deciding whether it would be beneficial to implement such a system in their lab. For those in confusion, should know the various benefits and the possible drawbacks that such s system can provide to enable them in making a selection.

Though implementing and maintaining comprehensive LIMS software can be a largely time-consuming and expensive process, but once implemented it can save a substantial amount of time for the user as all the tasks are integrated into a central location. Before making an approach to various vendors for quotations the set of user requirements should be clearly defined. The user requirements can be estimated from the features available and while the most basic and inexpensive LIMS possess the basic features certain customization is necessary to fit the requirements of the laboratory.

The potential benefits

The benefits obtained from the use of LIMS are inclusive and not exhaustive depending on the laboratory requirements. The first and foremost benefits provided through this system is the electronic capturing and transmission of data which not only saves time and compliance related work but also eliminates the requirement of any storage space. Another benefit is the automatic calculation of data which is performed through this mechanically developed software. This reduces both time and possibility of error or crosscheck for the viability of data. Since the necessary are stored electronically analysis of information or preparation of necessary reports can be done with just the click of a few buttons.

Sample testing can also be efficiently scheduled through LIMS and minimizing the occurrence of errors, thereby showing the most appropriate results. The benefits of tracking the status of reagents and chemicals or linking an instrument to each test can be availed by incorporating such software in the laboratory. It can be configured to work with any kind of lab, be it medical, geological or fertility lab. Since the software is sold it modules the user needs to pay only for the services availed and not for the entire package as a whole.

Making the right selection

There are several versions of the software available in the market with each one quoting a different price. The cost of the LIMS software depends on the number of modules required in the lab and whether hosted web-based service if availed or self-installation is opted for. While the web-based service requires some high initial expenses in addition to a regular monthly fee, the self-installation options cost relatively cheaper. Before deciding on which software to choose it is advised to consult with the concerned IT department or similar section of the lab and choose any online service only after conducting proper research and analysis work.

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