With so many systems to choose from, how do you select the right LIMS for your lab? Below are some helpful words of advice to get you started on your journey of finding a LIMS.
Determine if Your Current Process is Inefficient
Some companies believe that if they buy software, this will fix their problems. But adding software on top of a poor process will only compound the issues.
Take this project as an opportunity to understand your process. Highlight steps that add value. Highlight steps which are non-value added, and remove unnecessary non-value added steps.
Figure Out What You Want and What You Don’t Want
As good project management practice, companies will outline a user requirement specification. What we are talking about here, is a step before this, that doesn’t necessarily contribute to the validation of the system, but are important aspects of selecting software that you need to consider.
- Do you view this as an opportunity for personal development? Taking on a great project such as implementing a LIMS could be seen as an attractive qualification on a CV.
- Are you wanting a system to help you differentiate you from your competitors? Manual processes are resource heavy and require focus on detail to ensure your client communication remains at its highest. Some systems offer portals for your clients to keep communication open offering a higher level customer service experience.
- Aligning yourself with best practices. Finding a LIMS company that listens to their user base is a must. With changing technology and regulations, you want a company that keeps up to date with this information and creates features to facilitate your compliance. Even if you are not in a regulated industry, processes naturally evolve to improve your product or service quality. Why not find a LIMS that helps you do this as part of your continuous improvement? Frequent updates is a must, and static processes are not the future.
- Business continuity. Whether you looking at a commercial off the shelf (COTS) LIMS or bespoke system, business continuity is a major factor in this decision. Sure, a bespoke project sounds fun, but what about the afters? After the project is finished, who’s going to support it? Make sure you’re asking the right questions when looking at your options. Most LIMS companies offering a COTS solution have state of the art infrastructures to support your business continuity. In addition to their infrastructure, look to see if they have a user community. User communities are great for generating on ideas and getting a different perspective on functionality.
Remember to Stick to the Knitting
The greatest thing about getting a system into your lab is that is allows you to focus on your core competence – sample analysis. Your core practice is what is most important. The goal is to improve the processes that run this core, but make sure that you have ample resource to dedicate to the project without jeopardising your core. This is where a LIMS supplier may offer project management support. Therefore, it’s essential to have a positive relationship with your LIMS supplier and understand that this relationship is a long-term commitment. Finding a company that is aligned with your culture and values makes this commitment easy and effortless. Let your LIMS supplier worry about project management and bringing you new and fast functionality so you can stick to your knitting (sample analysis).
Looking at the Bigger Picture
It’s easy to look at what you need now because you have all the facts now. The most challenging thing is to think about what you need in the future. You have to predict where your business is going and how you see it working in 5, 10, 20 years’ time. Having the bigger picture in mind will help you make the right decision. And along these lines, you may eventually want your systems to be integrated. It’s too much to ask you to predict the future, so make sure you choose a supplier who is willing to grow the product with their user base and listen to customer feedback.