A LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), sometimes referred to as a LIS (Laboratory Information System) or LMS (Laboratory Management System) is a laboratory information management software system that offers key functionality to support the processes of the modern laboratory. LIMS is a concept that evolves as the chemical industry and laboratory demand for IT solutions grows.Despite this, a set of key functionalities are defined that define the standard of the LIMS concept. These functionalities can be divided into five phases of the laboratory process:
- receipt and registration of samples with customer data
- assigning, scheduling and following up analytical work related to the samples
- processing and quality assurance of samples and laboratory equipment
- recording data related to sample analyses
- reviewing, validating, and summarizing sample data for reporting and further analysis
A key function of the LIMS is sample management. This function is usually initiated when a sample is delivered to the laboratory and registered in the LIMS. Some software, such as LabMaster, can support the laboratory in earlier phases such as registering a sample requisition, supporting the sampler with sampling methodologies, possible fixation methods, amount of sample to be collected, sampling protocols, and the location where the collection is performed. Sample management is also supported by identifying collected samples using barcodes that are generated by the system, printed on adhesive labels, and adhered to sample vessels. When a sample is received in the laboratory, all data from field measurements and descriptions are recorded in the system, allowing for assessment of the sample condition.
Management of analyses
Another key function of the LIMS system is the scheduling and execution of analyses of registered samples. The software supports laboratory staff in the analysis methodology and report generation.
LIMS systems provide the ability to manage and assign laboratory procedures and methodologies to customer service, sampling and analysis processes
Document flow management
The LIMS contains mechanisms that support the correct document workflow at each stage of the laboratory processes, ensuring the correct format and content of the documents produced and access to the documents by laboratory employees.
Modern LIMS systems also include elements of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems for managing customer service and laboratory resources.
This includes functions related to handling inquiries, offers, orders, and complaints that are part of the research laboratory's customer service process, as well as the processes of service delivery by laboratory employees.
Laboratory equipment management
LIMS incorporates laboratory equipment monitoring mechanisms, offering functions such as equipment logging, maintenance scheduling, and equipment validation. It also keeps a record of maintenance activities performed on the equipment.