Glossary Item

LIMS - Laboratory Information Management Systems


A LIMS is a data collection and reporting system designed to be used in the laboratory. These tend to be very specialized systems, and there are only a few suppliers of “true” LIMS systems.

However, except for situations where the lab is very large, 90% or more of LIMS systems functions are provided by enterprise oriented Statistical Process Control Systems. As an example, when compared to the GainSeeker SPC system, there are only the following features of traditional LIMS that are not available, at least not as traditional functions. Most of these can be set up using GainSeeker, just not as elegantly as in a “True” LIMS. However, in some areas, GainSeeker SPC is has functionality not available in many traditional LIMS, specifically in its capability to interface to instruments.

The significant differences between a fully featured enterprise SPC system and a LIMS are:

* Microbiological Test Expression - Microbiological tests tend to be reported not in absolute terms, but rather in terms of below a certain threshold. Whereas an SPC system would report an instrument result of PPM as .009PPM, a LIMS may report this as <.010 PPM.

* Work Orders - A fully featured LIMS system is like an ERP system in many respects, to the point where it may require a work order to be generated to have tests performed. This is in keeping with the concept of a LIMS being more of a total management system for a lab, as opposed to a data collection system. Again, this may be a requirement of a large lab.

* Test scheduling - For larger labs where there are many technicians, many high end LIMS systems allow a level of automatic scheduling of personnel. This assumes that there are a number of specific tests that need to be done, and a limited number of resources to do them. In a sense, this is very similar to Finite Capacity Planning in an ERP system. But the reality is that most plant labs are less than 20 people, and scheduling is not a major problem.

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This page last updated: 02/20/2012