Why Flexibility is key when it comes to laboratory software



In this day and age, laboratory systems clearly need to be robust; handling large volumes of data, and producing accurate, well-presented reports are an integral part of lab operations.
However, lab workers often face the frustration of rigid systems, which can place limitations on processes and overall output.
Fully configurable LIMS offer a number of potential gains for the laboratory; we take a look at the most significant.

Varying requirements

Lab requirements will vary, even at a project level or between different organisational groups.
However, it is often accepted that software systems may not be an exact fit. In many organisations, laboratory software that satisfies a good percentage, but not necessarily all requirements, will be deemed an appropriate solution.
This means that labs essentially have to adapt their processes to fit the system they are using. This will obviously place restrictions on certain business processes.

Different teams are likely to have differing workflows, however the constraints of their software mean that one team will often need to adapt. Easy customisation alleviates the problem, allowing different users or groups to adapt settings, without compromising the core functioning of the system.

Increased efficiency

Configurable solutions allow laboratories to choose the most efficient methods and carry out tasks in a way that makes sense for each project. For instance the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at Warwick University picked Matrix Gemini LIMS because its flexibility allowed it to be easily adapted for the needs of battery testing in the Energy Innovation Centre in a way that other LIMS solutions simply could not.
Research and testing methods will differ widely by industry; however in every case output needs to be carefully controlled, whilst ensuring compliance with all governing regulations.

Innovation

A laboratory system also needs to evolve with new techniques and working practices.
Laboratory staff require the flexibility to try new approaches, without the worry that they won’t be supported by their LIMS system. This encourages new ideas and innovation within the company.

A recent example of business innovation is NationWide Veterinary Laboratories that wanted to link all its sites together along with providing key workers remote access from home. The dual web/desktop interfaces of Matrix Gemini LIMS as well as its ability to price a quotation for work and invoice customers when the work was completed made it uniquely suitable for the nationwide laboratory.
Complete and genuine configurability, without the need for complex code or scripts can be a significant factor in the success of a new LIMS implementation.

Cost Savings

Pre-configuration is often listed as a selling point of LIMS systems, however the reality is that many of these solutions are restrictive, whilst requiring on-going support.
A custom solution avoids the potential issues and costs of regular support and up-grades. What is more, non-technical staff will be able to configure the system to best suit their needs, both on initial set up and at subsequent stages, dramatically saving resource.

Out of the box, yet flexible

Matrix Gemini LIMS is both an ‘out of the box’ and flexible solution, characteristics which are normally regarded as mutually exclusive.
The system is genuinely user configurable, allowing changes to be made at implementation and on any subsequent occasions, according to laboratory requirements.

Matrix Gemini LIMS can also be configured for almost lab situation. To date the system has been used in laboratories spanning almost every sector from the food and beverage industry to pharmaceuticals.
The system offers users a dual web and desktop interface, which updates simultaneously. Matrix Gemini also works equally well on a PC or mobile device.

Flexibility for Results

Flexible LIMS solutions can offer numerous benefits for the laboratory from accurate, easy access data to improved efficiency.
Easy customisation is essential to suit the needs of different projects and teams and support business processes. It also gives laboratories the freedom to design menus, screens and workflows around the specific needs of its users, without changing the core code.
Perhaps most important of all, a truly bespoke LIMS system gives laboratory workers the opportunity to develop and improve methods, driving business performance.