It is a mistake to think that outsourcing your laboratory means you do not need a system for tracking samples and the resulting data. We can call this a LIMS even when an internal laboratory does not exist. The heart of every business, the gold dust that enables innovation, is increasingly seen as the data it creates. A LIMS is specifically designed to manage and retain key analytical information, from wherever it comes.
The true benefit of a LIMS is having that data at your fingertips for every batch of every day, together with the ability to access that data in multiple ways. This data provides a defendable QC framework for the business, if challenged, and ensures that you can benefit from intelligent use of the data to increase efficiency and profitability. Quite apart from anything else a LIMS removes the nightmare of an in-tray full of unfiled Certificates of Analysis from an external laboratory and instead records them correctly and automatically against the relevant sample and batch codes for instant recall.
A LIMS is therefore an invaluable, indeed essential, business management tool whether your laboratory is in-house or external.
An additional benefit is that the data is available in the Sample Tracking application and can be used for data analytics. The use of data analytics provides further opportunities to investigate trends and outliers, optimize processes, and make further cost savings. Statistical Process Control charts enable sample results within and across batches to be compared to find trends and warn of possible issues before they cause a line stop, or worse.
Management charts can be derived from the imported result data showing efficiency of the contract laboratory through turn-around time charts and other data. Multiple data sets from across the organization, including the Sample Tracking application, can be interrogated by data analytics tools, such as Microsoft’s PowerBI, to provide even more granularity and flexibility during investigative research.