In recent years many developments in analytical techniques have been targeted towards the decrease of the analyses time. The aim is obviously to increase the amount of sample, per unit time. The result of this development is that in many cases the analyses time is no longer the rate-limiting step.
The rate-limiting factor has shifted towards the sample preparation and the data handling towards the final report.
In many laboratories the sample preparation and data handling involve a lot of manual steps.
Many laboratories still use Excel-based solutions for data handling and data storage, which are often manually filled with data. This is, next to being very time consuming, also susceptible to the introduction of transcription errors. Tracking & tracing and quality assurance of data in these Excel-based solutions is a big challenge, to say the least.
Some LIMS implementations still rely too much on manual data entry. The contemporary LIMS solutions, with the right implementation, are able to significantly increase the efficiency of a laboratory. Some functionalities that are used to achieve this are, automatic data transfer from instruments to the LIMS, automation of calculations and also the automatic generation of customer-specific reports. The LIMS can also play role in the management and improvement of the workflow in the laboratory. Most LIMS solutions are able to support the laboratory technician with the day to day workflow in the laboratory. This may involve SOP’s, work lists, calculations and specifications, report generation, instrument calibration, instrument maintenance etc.
In recent years, next to LIMS, also ELN (Electronic Lab Notebook), SDMS (Scientific Data Management Software and ECM (Enterprise Content Management) have gained a significant role in the laboratory data management.
To be able to efficiently handle the increasing number of analyses, laboratories will need to use faster analyses techniques like UPLC, hence will also need to enhance speed and efficiency of the sample preparation and data handling.
Laboratories experience a growing challenge to find the best route towards the best automation & software solution for their specific situation. Of course you may, in an early stage, turn to a number of vendor for help. These vendor however will not be able to provide you with an independent (free of commercial influences) advice. An alternative is to turn to an independent specialist for vendor-neutral support to determine your user requirement specification. This consultant can also guide you through the complete process of solution-selection, vendor-selection and implementation (project management) of the best solution for your laboratory.
LUFC LabConsultants has a number of highly experienced consultants who will assist you in the process described above. A good starting point is a (detailed) description of the current workflow and determine the parts of the workflow that would benefit most from automation (software and/or hardware).
LUFC offers a separate product for this initial investigation of your laboratory processes, called “laboratory scan“.
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