by Ashley Carter

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So you’ve identified that your laboratory needs a LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), now you have to convince the powers-that-be that investing in the software is not only beneficial, but necessary. So how do you make the business case for purchasing a LIMS? Below we’ve identified the four most common benefits that can be used in a LIMS Capital Expenditure Request. These are meant to aid in the process and provide ideas, ultimately how your LIMS aligns with business needs is up to your company and how you choose to configure your LIMS.

Accreditation Compliance & Risk Abatement

Whether you’re looking to gain a new accreditation, or keep up with growing requirements of an existing accreditation, having a LIMS is a key component. Many accreditations, such as ISO 17025, may not explicitly require the use of a formal LIMS, but they do require the laboratory to prove they operate consistently and accurately against defined standards. These requirements further encourage the approach of risk-assessment and mitigation[1]. Think about the ability to produce accurate results consistently, and the risks associated with that. Some of the first risks that might come to mind are:

  • Data entry errors from manual data entry
  • Assignment of incorrect testing or specifications from manual review of requirements
  • Inconsistent interpretation of specifications
  • Failure to follow prescribed review steps due to lack of visibility

Each of the above topics and more can be addressed with the implementation of a LIMS. Below are some examples of how Wavefront LIMS customers have utilized their LIMS to prevent the above issues.

  • Instrument interfacing automatically imports test data, thus eliminating manual data entry from the instrument to the reporting system.
  • Application of login templates or specification sampling plans ensure the right testing is applied every time.
  • Specifications are analyzed and populated into LIMS once. Every time they are utilized, the same requirements are applied each time. The analysis of the specifications also can include multiple review sign-offs to ensure the right data is populated and remains secure.
  • Automation available in LIMS defines the workflow and ensures all steps are completed prior to creation of the report.

Improved Security

Errors in the testing of the samples is a risk to the business by potentially releasing failing material, scrapping acceptable material, and generally causing additional rework and slowing down the process. All, and more, are significant risks as relates to the laboratory process without a proper LIMS. Another risk that is just as important to the business case for purchasing a LIMS, is the security of the data. Wavefront LIMS includes security roles within the system to prevent someone from editing a test they are not qualified to edit, change results for an order that has already been reported, or make unauthorized changes to a specification that has already been approved, as a few examples.

In addition to ensuring the security within LIMS and the roles of individuals with access to LIMS, ensuring the security from outside individuals is extremely important. Wavefront LIMS works hard to ensure that each of their customers’ data is safe from outside influence as well as technical errors. Below are a few of the examples of what Wavefront LIMS Cloud security offers:

  • Frequent Vulnerability Scans
  • SOC2 TypeII Security[2]
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Encryption In-Transit and At-Rest
  • Regular Backups
  • Thorough Audit Records

Wavefront Software offers many features that can help your laboratory improve productivity, efficiency, and throughput, all valuable benefits for a business case. Find out more by scheduling a no-obligation demo today!

Improved Throughput

Oftentimes, any purchase must have a relatively short payback period before management will approve it. Building a business case for purchasing a LIMS will certainly benefit from including some sort of financial improvement. However, for a quality system, that can be difficult to put numbers to. One way to think about this topic is to consider time. The time it takes for the manual manipulation of data to populate your current system. How many steps are required to get from receiving a sample to producing a report?

Below is a common workflow for laboratories using Excel or a similarly manual system instead of a formal LIMS.

Before LIMS:

  1. Sample physically dropped off in the laboratory. Information about the sample is manually entered into the spreadsheet.
  2. A knowledgeable person reviews the information about the sample and determines what testing is required based on their previous experience.
  3. A paper traveler is created to identify the sample and follow it through the laboratory.
  4. As testing is completed, results are captured in notebooks, on forms, and paper printouts. All are either attached to or manually copied onto the traveler.
  5. Once the identified testing is done, a person manually enters the results onto different pages of the spreadsheet.
  6. The relevant data from the sample login and testing is manually copied from the spreadsheet into a separate report template.
  7. The report is then printed and delivered to a supervisor for review. They manually sign the report and scan the document into the system as a pdf.
  8. The pdf is then emailed to the customer.

After LIMS:

Now, after implementation of Wavefront LIMS, that same process could be reduced to the below workflow.

  1. Samples are received into LIMS through barcode scanning.
  2. Required testing is automatically populated based on customer and specifications desired.
  3. As testing is completed, results are automatically imported into LIMS.
  4. Completion of tests will automatically send an email to the supervisor for review of the data. Upon their electronic signature, the report is created and emailed to the customer directly from LIMS.

In addition to reducing points for error, comparing the above steps shows the potential improvement of throughput. The implementation of a LIMS reduced the steps by more than half. In addition, automation took the place of manual data entry and report creation. As you can imagine, this would significantly reduce time for logging in samples and eliminate the manual copying of results manual creation and review of the report. Using this logic, a reduction in sample handling time would allow for greater throughput capacity in the laboratory, which can then be translated to greater throughput for the business. Greater throughput results in improved financial returns. This is a very attractive business case for purchasing of a LIMS.

System Support

When developing a business case for purchasing a LIMS, it’s important to not overlook the long-term. Implementing a system that is so vital to your laboratory and business processes is not a short term solution. Therefore, the value of having that long-term, supported relationship with trusted LIMS provider is just as important as return on investment. If your lab is working with a home-grown system or a solution that is no longer supported, you will understand the risk of continuing with it (Windows rolls out changes twice per month[3]). Typically, something as simple as capturing new information about a sample, or creating a new test can be prohibitive. Additionally, the systems around us are constantly changing, and your LIMS should be able to handle that. Without a solid support from the LIMS provider, this becomes very difficult.

Wavefront LIMS was designed with growth of their customers in mind. Configuring new tests or capturing new information about a sample can be done by the user, without any coding experience or help from Wavefront personnel. Additionally, Wavefront regularly releases new version with bug fixes and new features that are available for our customers when they’re ready to update.

Wavefront LIMS has been around for over 20 years with an extremely low turnover rate for employees and never outsourcing support. Which means that the people supporting your Wavefront LIMS work for Wavefront and know the product best. To put this in perspective, when you run into an issue or want to incorporate a new feature, having reliable and knowledgeable support from Wavefront LIMS means faster response times and functionality that otherwise may not be an option.

Summary

Developing a business case for purchasing a LIMS should incorporate aspects of accreditation compliance, improving throughput, and ensuring that your system stays secure.

Schedule a Demo with Wavefront Software to see how we can help your laboratory and business thrive.

Sources

1: https://www.iso.org/ISO-IEC-17025-testing-and-calibration-laboratories.html

2: https://secureframe.com/blog/soc-2-type-ii

3: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/update/release-cycle

About the Author: Ashley Carter

Ashley Carter is the Sales and Marketing Operations Manager at Wavefront Software, leveraging her experience in sales and project management honed over several years with the company. Before joining Wavefront, Ashley spearheaded the implementation of Wavefront LIMS at an advanced materials laboratory while serving as a technical quality engineer. With dual master's degrees in Metallurgical and Mineral Process Engineering, along with Engineering Management, Ashley brings a unique blend of technical expertise and strategic acumen to her role, ensuring seamless integration of technology and business objectives in the laboratory industry. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys traveling all over the world, reading almost all genres of books, and playing with her dog, Everest.

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