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Archive: September 6, 2021

What is LIMS?

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a software-based solution that can help labs effectively manage laboratory data, thereby increasing the efficiency of various lab operations. A LIMS acts as an interface between the laboratory staff and the database where all the information is stored.

LIMS entered the market of supporting technologies in the 1980s. The first in-house LIMS was developed by large organizations for handling some of the basic lab operations like data retrieval and reporting. Later, the remarkable progress in Information Technology, specifically the introduction of a personal computer, gave birth to the commercial client/server LIMS. Today, a LIMS has become a necessity for every lab interested to electronically manage data, automate workflows, and enhance efficiency.

Why use a LIMS?

In today’s competitive era, every other lab is striving to produce the best results possible from a technical point of view. They need to reduce turnaround time, enhance customer satisfaction, and meet the regulatory requirements of their industry.

The main focus of a LIMS is to increase the efficiency of lab operations by reducing manual tasks. Each LIMS available in the market today may vary from each other depending on the LIMS vendor and the target industry. Some of the core lab functionalities that a LIMS typically takes care of includes:

  • Sample management
    • Storage management
    • Lab inventory management (reagents, analytical instruments, etc.)
    • Workflow management
    • Work allocation
    • Report and Invoice generation
    • Instrument integration

How to choose a LIMS?

Selecting a LIMS that best meets your requirements has become difficult than ever due to a number of options available in the LIMS market. So how do you go about deciding which LIMS is right for your lab?

Some of the factors to consider while choosing a LIMS are:

Industry Type: The type of industry under which your lab functions or your lab type (QA/QC or R&D) is a very important factor to consider while choosing a LIMS. This can help you decide the LIMS that will support your lab environment. There is a diverse range of LIMS available, most of which are customized per the workflows or the regulations followed by the various industries (for example, food and beverage, cannabis, clinical research, etc). Therefore, every aspect of the lab including data management, workflow automation, and regulatory requirements should be considered while selecting a LIMS.

IT Infrastructure: The decision to implement a LIMS typically depends on the coordination between different departments, involving not only the lab but also the IT department. It is important that the IT department must have the infrastructure to support the LIMS deployment. Alternatively, the lab can consider choosing a cloud-based LIMS that can be easily accessed, 24×7, using any internet-ready device, without support from IT personnel.

Budget: It is one of the most important factors that govern the LIMS selection process. The core responsibility of a lab is the generation of quality data under the estimated budget and time. It is advisable to choose a LIMS that does not require huge capital investment.

In short, choosing a LIMS requires careful consideration of the various factors that could influence its successful and sustainable deployment and use.

Benefits of a LIMS

  • Some of the key benefits of a LIMS are:
    • Enables workflow automation, thereby eliminating human errors
    • Enables flexible configuration/setup
    • Centralizes access and storage of quality control data
    • Facilitates labs to meet regulatory compliance
    • Tracks laboratory inventory
    • Enables downstream data analysis


Industries, such as food and beverage, healthcare, cannabis, clinical, biobanking, etc., are evolving with time. The challenges that arise in the path of these industries with respect to data management are also never-ending. Massive amounts of data can cause significant data management problems and solutions are needed to manage it. One such data management solution is a LIMS. However, selecting a LIMS is not an easy job. It requires careful consideration of several factors such as requirements, budget, IT infrastructure, etc. A well-defined LIMS is central to a range of lab operations which ensures enhanced productivity and high-quality data. Additionally, it should be able to manage various documents required during audits. To conclude, a LIMS is a solution that can yield great profits if employed correctly.

Time to Implement LIMS?

A Laboratory Information Management System or LIMS is a software application that automates the proceedings of a laboratory, right from the intake of a sample, through its entire life cycle in the laboratory. In plain words, LIMS is an upgrade from spreadsheets, which cannot safeguard against human errors. Automation not only reduces errors but also increases the speed and efficiency of laboratory operations. Some of the key benefits of LIMS include:

  1. Saving time spent in maintaining records.
  2. Easy data traceability and accessibility.
  3. Elimination of human errors and improved efficiency.

In short, implementing a LIMS saves time, money, and effort. Your laboratory personnel is not drowning in entering data manually and maintaining them correctly, thus enabling them to focus more on their research. That roughly translates into more business and profit capital for the laboratories.

Is it Time to Implement a LIMS?

Now that we understand what a LIMS is and what benefits it offers, the next question that arises is when to start using one. Before we address the elephant in the room, here are a few questions for your consideration:

Are you meeting the turnaround time for your processes? In other words are your laboratory personnel able to meet all the steps listed in your SOP’s without deviations and delays in process execution and validation?

  1. Is your laboratory personnel spending too much time managing daily transactions and maintaining documentation of transactional processes?
  2. Is your business facing losses due to erroneous test reports?
  3. Is data-retrievability a major issue for your day to day laboratory operations?
  4. Are you able to maintain data integrity, meet customer expectations and deadlines and take major decisions simultaneously?

Any laboratory investing in a LIMS needs to ask these questions to themselves. Each of these questions roughly translates into a telltale sign that it is high time for your laboratory to implement a LIMS. Let’s take a closer look at these answers:

  1. If the answer to this question is no, you need to consider investing in a LIMS. Maintaining turnaround time is one of the basic requirements for the smooth running of a laboratory. Your personnel should be able to refer and follow set SOPs without deviations and difficulties.
  2. If you are thinking no to this question as well, here is your sign number 2. Daily transactions and documentations, while highly important activities, should not make up for the bulk of your personnel’s responsibilities or job roles.
  3. A yes here means you are close to tough times. Erroneous test reports translate to lost business opportunities. Errors in reports often rise from manual data entry and human intervention. A LIMS automates this, thus eliminating error percentage.
  4. Pulling up data easily saves time. Time is money and thus, needs to be saved. A LIMS stores all data in one place, making retrieval easy.
  5. Fast decision making is critical for improved business transactions. Another requirement is meeting customer expectations by providing service at par with the industry standards.


The questions discussed above and the answers that followed each point in a direction that says what an ideal laboratory operation looks like and what could be done to achieve it. There are multiple parameters to consider while implementing a LIMS. If the questions discussed above apply to your facility, it may be time you start looking into a LIMS to automate your laboratory workflow and choose a vendor that best fits your requirements.

Choosing a LIMS

Choosing a LIMS is complex, but NXG is here to help. With the most modern platform, industry accelerators, and comprehensive services, it’s never been easier to deploy a solution that meets your needs.

The basic function of a LIMS is to track samples and store sample workflow related information from the time it enters a laboratory until it is disposed. In this blog, we highlight some important factors to be considered while evaluating a LIMS solution for your laboratory. Finding a LIMS with desired features requires several factors to be considered, right from the deployment process, services offered, customization costs, and support and training packages offered by the vendor.

Here are some important factors that must be considered while selecting a LIMS:


When choosing a LIMS platform, technology plays a significant role. A LIMS built on a technology platform that serves as an enabler and helps in the implementation process is much more conducive to your laboratory environment than a LIMS built on archaic platform. A solution that enables to scale, is flexible and leaves a small IT footprint is a robust solution to your operational needs.


It is important that the data is accessed by authorized users, at the appropriate authorization level. Provision should be made that even if there is a breach, the data still cannot be extracted since it is encrypted at rest as well. If the solution is a web based LIMS, should be hosted on AICPA developed, SOC compliant world class infrastructure along with multi-layered application level security. Additionally, ensure that regular database backups are taken and stored in a geographically distant data center for seamless data recovery in case of man-made or natural disasters.

Regulatory Compliance

Some of the regulatory bodies and guidelines laboratories need to follow are – ISO 17025:2017, ISO 9001:2015, HIPAA, GMP AND GAMP, EPA, FDA, USDA, GFSI, FSMA, CLIA. Please check if the LIMS you choose helps you follow and therefore comply with the guidelines applicable to your laboratory.


You may need to consider the license cost, third party tools that may need to installed, customization charges, installation fee, hosting charges, technical support provided, cost of upgrades and the services the LIMS vendor offers.


Configurability enables a LIMS to be modified to mirror laboratory workflows by altering screen designs, menu designs, terminology, report design etc. without the need for a software customization project than needs engineers to write code and modify the product. Configuration enables a LIMS to adopt to the changing operations and business requirements of a laboratory and can be done by laboratory personnel themselves instead of hiring a vendor to do so for them. A LIMS that offers configuration tools should be preferred since it saves on costly customization that require a large budgetary allocation.

Custom Reports

Reporting is an indispensable part of a LIMS because it enables users to get a clear picture of collected data and potential trends. The selected LIMS software should provide custom reporting templates based on your requirements and facilitate professional custom report generation by enabling you to add signatures, company logo, user notes, and images with a caption.

Do cross check all rating and reviews before buying a LIMS.