You’ve probably heard this story: modern labs can process more data than ever before, but with more data comes a higher risk of errors and costs.
Labs still trying to manage data and inventory with pen, paper, or spreadsheets run the risk of data entry errors and failing to meet regulatory compliance standards. For labs looking to scale, leveraging software is a must.
A LIMS is an excellent platform to add to your lab’s software budget, so read on to learn more about what a LIMS is, how it can benefit your lab, and the benefits of investing in one.
The LIMS (laboratory information management system) market has grown considerably over the years as labs rely on these platforms to do everything from sample tracking to billing and inventory.
In fact, the LIMS market was estimated to hit $2.3 billion in 2023 as these platforms have been an integral piece of effective and organized labs. A LIMS can help you with the following:
With these features come numerous benefits to labs across industries.
A LIMS can be extremely beneficial to a lab looking to get more done and scale. Here are our favorite benefits that come with adopting a LIMS:
Each of these benefits helps a lab streamline its processes and get more done. If you are new to investing in software for your lab, next we’ll cover how a LIMS is different from another popular option - an ELN.
ELNs (electronic lab notebooks) are another common option for labs looking to digitize their data, but they serve a distinct purpose from a LIMS.
Recall that a LIMS can help with managing sample/test data, automating workflows, generating reports, and integrating instruments. In short, a good LIMS is an automation powerhouse that will allow your lab to do more and scale.
While an ELN can help a lab digitize its operations, it primarily serves as a digital version of what a physical lab notebook provides. You can manually input data into an ELN and record notes and observations from tests; however, ELNs don’t offer the same reporting and automation capabilities as a LIMS.
Therefore, an ELN is not a suitable replacement for a LIMS though it can be a good complementary product. For labs looking to automate and scale, a LIMS is the clear choice and a worthy investment.
Clearly, a LIMS can be a great value-add for a lab looking to scale, but we’d like to call our seven key reasons your lab should consider investing in a LIMS:
A core function of a LIMS is centralizing and managing data. A LIMS brings together data from:
And it centralizes this data in one place for your team.
This eliminates the need for multiple spreadsheets or paper records and provides a source of truth for your lab. A LIMS’ ability to integrate with other software and instruments means data can be directly imported, reducing the need for manual data entry and the associated risks of errors.
Automation is a key benefit of a LIMS, and for good reason: it can streamline your operations and lead to a dramatic increase in productivity (read more about the ROI of a LIMS further on).
Routine tasks such as sample logging, tracking, and reporting are automated, freeing up your staff to focus on more complex and intellectually demanding tasks. Automated workflows also mean that processes are standardized, reducing variability and increasing reproducibility. The time saved through these automated processes can lead to higher throughput and productivity in the laboratory.
Compliance with regulatory standards and quality control are critical for laboratories, especially those in highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and environmental testing.
A LIMS can help you ensure processes are in line with these standards, as well as provide tools for monitoring and documenting quality control measures. QBench LIMS comes with a built-in QMS to help labs automate compliance along with their processes and data.
Mistakes happen - it’s a fact of life, especially for labs that manage large volumes of data.
A LIMS reduces these errors by automating data capture from instruments and enforcing consistent data entry through predefined fields and forms. This not only improves the accuracy of the data but also ensures consistency across different users and batches of work. The reliability of results is thus enhanced, which is vital for making informed decisions based on laboratory data.
Not only will a good LIMS help you automate your workflows, but it can also scale with you and adapt as your lab grows. Some LIMS providers will claim that they offer “configurable” automation tools however in reality changes to these workflows require custom code or extensive support, which can become expensive in the long run.
This is where QBench LIMS is different: QBench offers configurability and flexibility through a low and no-code automation system that allows you to automate almost any process you can imagine without the overhead of custom code. No matter how your lab evolves, the right LIMS can support you as you scale. Learn more about how to automate your lab with a LIMS for a deeper dive.
A LIMS can be an excellent asset in managing and optimizing resource usage in a lab. Not only does this save valuable time in keeping track of your resources, but it can save money by preventing waste as well.
By tracking sources like:
You can monitor stock levels, expiration dates, equipment calibration, and more to ensure your lab has everything it needs to run smoothly. This reduces the time spent worrying about inventory, freeing up your team to get more done.
As distributed teams become more common, it’s critical that your staff be able to have access to key data and collaborate wherever they are.
A cloud-based LIMS provides a centralized platform to streamline and share your data and makes this data accessible no matter where your team is based. This provides controlled access to sensitive data, ensuring that only authorized personnel can view critical information.
All this talk of investing in a LIMS is great, but you’d be right to ask what the return on this investment could be.
It’s a great question, so let’s crunch the numbers.
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 significant time by reducing errors and time spent manually entering data, and we’ve estimated that these time savings can be up to 7.5 hours per week per user.
Steps to estimate the ROI of QBench LIMS, assuming your lab has 20 technicians who work 48 weeks/year:
That results in $208,800 saved each year. When we subtract roughly $51,000 for QBench, it gives us 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.
It’s difficult to put a dollar value on avoiding the potential headaches, suspensions, and fines that could result from noncompliance with regulations, but any lab manager or quality director understands there is significant value to staying compliant.
Once you’ve decided to invest in a LIMS, then it’s time to make sure you invest in the right LIMS.
No two platforms are the same, and some may boast of user-friendly automation features but in reality, they require custom code to implement which can slow you down and increase costs as your lab’s processes evolve.
QBench consistently earns top marks on G2 for its wide variety of functionality, user-friendly tools, and quick implementation. It’s no surprise then that QBench ranks among the best LIMS on the market.
Click the button below to schedule a demo and see QBench LIMS in action for yourself! For labs looking to scale, the right LIMS could be the best investment you make this year.
QBench now tops the Highest Rated LIMS in North America list, ranked in 12 G2 Winter 2024 Reports, and won several G2 Winter 20204 badges.
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