7 Advantages of a LIMS

LIMS integrations illustration

Modern labs generate incredible amounts of data, which makes accurately tracking samples, inventory, and monitoring instruments a growing challenge. 

That’s where a LIMS can come in handy. 

With a LIMS, labs can process more data, reduce errors, and streamline their workflows - and that’s just the tip of the test tube. Read on to learn more about the top advantages of using a LIMS in your laboratory.

What is a LIMS

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a software platform that allows you to manage samples, inventory, and data and improve lab efficiency. 

A LIMS helps standardize workflows, tests, and procedures while providing accurate controls of your processes. Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) have evolved over the years to:

Manage laboratory workflows

  • Organize data efficiently
  • Generate reports
  • Support regulatory and compliance standards

As we’ll see later on, a LIMS can be a fantastic asset to any lab looking to scale and get more done without sacrificing data quality or compliance. 

Popular LIMS Features

Some LIMS can be incredibly sophisticated platforms boasting a host of features. Check out our complete guide to the key features to look for in a LIMS to learn about the top features to look for. 

Our top recommended features are:

  • Automation: Automation features streamline laboratory processes by reducing manual tasks, which enhances efficiency and accuracy. This enables labs to handle complex workflows and large volumes of data with minimal errors, saving time and resources. Select a LIMS that is configurable as well as customizable. Many LIMS platforms boast automation capabilities that require custom code, making them a challenge to use as time goes on.
  • Instrument integration: Instrument integration support enables direct communication between laboratory instruments and the LIMS, ensuring real-time data transfer and minimizing manual data entry errors. This integration not only speeds up the processing time but also maintains data integrity and consistency. 
  • Reporting: Customizable reports allow laboratories to analyze trends, monitor quality control, and make informed decisions. Effective reporting tools also aid in meeting regulatory requirements by generating compliant documentation and audit trails, which are critical for maintaining accreditation and public trust.
  • Compliance: Quality management and compliance features help to ensure predictable and repeatable quality without having to purchase a separate, costly QMS that doesn't sync data with your LIMS. QBench’s QMS features allow you to track and calibrate instruments, maintain records, create SOPs, store documentation, and more.
  • Sample management: Efficient sample management is a cornerstone of any LIMS, allowing for tracking and managing samples throughout their lifecycle. This includes logging sample details, tracking storage conditions, and monitoring sample usage. Effective sample management ensures the integrity of the samples and the reliability of the test results, which is crucial for accurate data analysis and reporting.
  • Inventory management: Inventory management is another cornerstone of a good LIMS, as it allows your lab to Keep track of all consumables, assays, and equipment in one centralized place. Track reagent and consumable lots and use them throughout the sample testing process. Generate barcodes for quick and accurate data input.
  • Customer portal: A customer portal in LIMS enhances client engagement by providing them with direct access to their data, test results, and service requests. It offers transparency, improves communication, and allows customers to track their samples' progress. This feature is important for customer satisfaction and retention, as it empowers clients and fosters a sense of partnership.

We’re just scratching the surface with these features, but you can already see some benefits that come with implementing a LIMS. Let’s explore these advantages next.

7 Advantages of a LIMS

As we just saw, a LIMS can do a lot for a lab. Whether it’s automating processes or providing an interface for your customers, labs can reap numerous benefits from these powerful features. 

The top 7 advantages of using a LIMS are:

  1. Saves time and improved efficiency
  2. Reduces errors
  3. Improves compliance
  4. Accessible for the entire team
  5. Reduces costs
  6. Improved customer satisfaction
  7. Streamlines processes

Let’s examine each of these in depth.

Saves Time and Improves Efficiency

A LIMS significantly streamlines laboratory operations, saving considerable time. 

By automating data entry, sample tracking, and result recording a LIMS eliminates the need for manual time-consuming processes. A LIMS can be a major asset in improving the efficiency of your lab while reducing errors along the way. You can make your LIMS even more efficient by integrating it with your software and lab instruments, enabling a seamless flow of information and reducing the time spent on data consolidation.

Reduces Errors

As we alluded to above, a LIMS can help reduce manual input which means faster data entry and reduced room for human error. 

By automating data capture and management, a LIMS ensures accuracy and consistency in information handling. Not only does this lead to accurate results which can inform your lab’s decisions, but it also reduces the risk of compliance issues as well. A LIMS often includes features like audit trails and validation checks, which further safeguard against inaccuracies and inconsistencies.

Improves Compliance

A LIMS can be a major asset in helping your lab stick to required compliance regulations. 

LIMS supports compliance by providing structured workflows, detailed record-keeping, and robust data security measures. It ensures that all processes are in line with industry standards and regulations, such as FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11. The system's capability to generate comprehensive reports and maintain accurate audit trails simplifies the process of demonstrating compliance during audits and inspections.

Accessible for the Entire Team

In a post-COVID world, teams are more distributed than ever. This makes having a cloud-based repository for your lab critical if you want to scale your team in and out of the office. 

This accessibility is crucial for collaborative projects, where different team members may need to input or retrieve data at various stages of the workflow. With features like role-based access control and real-time data sharing, LIMS ensures that relevant information is readily available to all authorized personnel, fostering a more collaborative and efficient work environment.

Reduces Costs

While a LIMS will come at a price, it can save your lab money in the long run. In fact, a LIMS can be a fantastic investment for any modern lab.

To help illustrate that, let’s walk through the steps to estimate the ROI of QBench LIMS. 

First let’s assume the average lab tech is paid a salary of $60K, which would equate to $29/hour. QBench LIMS can save a lab up to 7.5 hours per week per user, so for this example let’s also assume that your lab has 20 technicians who work 48 weeks/year:

  1. Calculate the hourly rate (we’ll assume $29)
  2. Multiply by time saved per technician (7.5hrs per week x 48 weeks)
  3. Multiply by the number of users (in this case, 20)

That results in $208,800 saved each year. When we subtract roughly $51,000 for QBench, we get an estimated return of about $157,800 and an ROI of 157,800/51,000 = 309% per year. That’s a spectacular return!

Of course, this will change depending on the size of your lab and the features used, but it gives a solid ballpark estimate for what your return on investing in QBench LIMS could be.

Improves Customer Satisfaction

A LIMS can be a fantastic asset when it comes to customer service as well. By choosing a LIMS that supports a customer portal, you can provide a way for clients to log in and view results, as well as receive updates on tests. 

Add improved accuracy, speed, and reporting, and your LIMS can be a major asset to your lab both internally and to external stakeholders.

Streamlines Processes for Your Lab

A LIMS can be a major asset in making your lab more efficient, and you’d be surprised by the breadth of processes a LIMS can help automate. 

A LIMS can help organize and manage nearly every aspect of a lab’s operations. For example, a LIMS can help with:

  • Sample logging
  • Report generation
  • Instrument monitoring and calibration
  • Monitor inventory
  • Test tracking
  • Billing and invoicing automation

And more! A LIMS can take care of busy work and maintain your lab’s processes in the background, freeing up valuable time for your team to get more done and scale. 

Get the Guide to Choosing the Best LIMS

A LIMS can bring many advantages to your lab, but you need to make sure that you select the right one. 

With all of the options available, it can be hard to decide which LIMS to implement with your lab. 

That’s why we created our free guide: How to choose the right LIMS. 

Learn more about the different types of LIMS available, what to look for, and how to make the right choice for your lab. A LIMS may be the most important piece of software you purchase for your lab; armed with this guide, you can rest assured you’ll make the right choice. 

If you’re looking for a LIMS that blends a robust feature set with an easy-to-use user experience, we’d recommend QBench. Boasting powerful automation features, the ability to configure your LIMS to adapt to your lab's needs, and a growing list of integrations, it’s no wonder that QBench was awarded numerous badges in 2023 from G2 and is currently #1 on G2’s Highest Rated LIMS in North America list. 

To see QBench LIMS in action, schedule a demo today.