LIMS Laba

Guide To Getting Your Team Up to Speed with A LIMS

Switching from one form of the management system (usually Excel) to LIMS is one of the most significant changes in a laboratory. It fundamentally influences how the lab attendants or scientists work and relates to the samples, each other, and the laboratory. 

LIMS has a history of not working out for everyone who decides to include it in their laboratory processes without proper planning and preparation. There are many reasons why a LIMS implementation can be unsuccessful. 

Check below for the tips and guidelines to get your team up to speed and fully integrated with a LIMS system, so your integration process doesn’t fail.

Tips To Get Your Team Up to Speed With a LIMS.

Check out the below tips to help your team accelerate LIMS Use rapidly

  1. Selecting the Right Project Manager/Team Leader

Having the right project or team leader is necessary for successfully getting the team up to speed with LIMS and the implementation of LIMS so that the team can use it effectively. Like other IT projects, LIMS projects can be challenging to achieve and have a high failure rate if not done correctly. Selecting a project manager who is up to handling the transition is one of the most important key pieces.

A LIMS project manager should be able to navigate all of the expected and unexpected factors that come with implementing a LIMS. Some of these factors include the variety of complex instrumentation, processes and workflows in a laboratory, stringent compliance requirements in highly regulated industries, contracted testing some labs may do, etc. Choose a project manager that can confidently navigate all of these hurdles and so make sure that your project manager can motivate, organise and control resources to make sure that your project:

  • Adds value to the business and laboratory
  • Gets delivered within budget and according to set down a schedule
  • Has a high level of user adoption across sectors
  • Meets and even exceeds your user requirements
  1. Selecting a suitable LIMS for your lab (Process of selection)

The selection process of LIMS has a considerable effect on the implementation of LIMS in your laboratory and how fast it will take for your teams to get used to it as a part of their lab workflow. When selecting a LIMS tool, it is essential to pick the one that best suits your requirements. 

Picking a LIMS solution can be very tedious as it takes a lot of time and needs commitment and money to pick the right tool and set it up properly. Selecting a LIMS tool with sub-par functionality compared to what your lab needs can be a problem rather than a solution for your lab. 

There are steps to be taken when picking a LIMS tool. One of the most important and neglected is Work Process Evaluation(WPE). WPE is primarily used to identify what function your LIMS will be handling in the company or laboratory. 

Steps for Selecting a LIMS Solution

  • Form a team that includes members of management, LIMS users’ representatives, quality control staff, IT staff and the lab manager.
  • Evaluate the company’s financial health as part of the WPE and estimate how long it will take before you need an upgrade based on growth.
  • Assign the team a task of determining the requirements of the LIMS tool they need based on the laboratory operations. The team will begin determining the ideal tools and features.
  • It is vital that when they have made their findings, every interested stakeholder is aware of the objectives, requirements and scope of the LIMS solution.
  • After you have narrowed down the list of possible LIMS solutions, you should sample and test the available solutions to determine which is most compatible with your lab. It should match the specific requirements as previously stated.
  • You need to determine the design/format of a LIMS tool which could be challenging because of the intricacies of selecting a LIMS solution.
  • Use your budget and requirements to determine the format/design of the solution you believe will serve your laboratory operations best. Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions is gaining more ground and impact in this field.
  1. Limit Customisation of LIMS

Customisation of LIMS tool can make it incredibly difficult to use, maintain and implement. When customising LIMS, it is essential not to get too carried away with being “different” or personalising it based on only one person’s preference instead of the entire team that will use the LIMS tool. Making changes in the processes in the organisation can be a far better thing to do instead of altering the LIMS system to fit the current workflow.  

Too much customisation could be ineffective, lead to misplaced samples and not use LIMS to its full potential. It is also important to note that these customisations typically cost a lot of money and could rack up over time. However, that does not mean there are no opportunities for customisation in your LIMS. Some areas where we recommend customising include:

  • The user interface of your LIMS system; Depending on your operations, you can customise it to improve your overall productivity.
  • Functionality and type of instrumentation you will use with the LIMS. Some instruments are passive, and others will need bi-directional and user input before getting feedback.
  • You will use the database system (RDBMS) to collect and analyse data. Since no two laboratories will have the same data, you need to apply some level of customisation to give the customer the easiest way to present their data.
  1. Prepare for data loading and migration.

Data loading is much more strenuous than people usually expect when switching to LIMS solutions. It would be best if you weren’t pushing this back to the last few days as it can significantly hinder the work in the lab, affecting the business. It would be best if you carried out all your data loading and migration processes during the implementation of your LIMS. Extracting, translating, loading, and testing the new required system data is essential for familiarising the team with LIMS. 

Establish a clear understanding of how you intend to migrate your data to the LIMS system and give a transition period for everyone to move seamlessly. It is the project owner’s responsibility to determine the projected state of the laboratory before, during and after the LIMS implementation. This will help develop a plan for seamless data transfer and transition to the new status quo.

  1. Organise Training sessions

Training sessions can make the transition to LIMS for the team move smoothly. Educating each member of the team and stakeholders about the importance, functions, uses, and scope of LIMS tools enables them to understand how to use them more effectively and speed up the processes. Make the training part of the requirements for continuing with or joining the team, so everybody takes it. 

Use each individual’s job description to determine the training and what is essential to know about the system to avoid problems in the team. The training should show parts that involve their respective jobs; making role-based training programs makes it easier and faster for individuals to adjust to their roles involving the LIMS tools.

Ensure that the training given should also follow the layout/configuration of LIMS to avoid confusing people. Professionals familiar with the particular configuration of LIMS used by the company make the training guides for maximum adoption and use of LIMS to its total capacity.

  1. Use Proper Validation

Making sure the LIMS system Is validated and working should make it easier for team members to use it without encountering issues that could drag back the project process. Validation is a requirement by most regulatory bodies to ensure data accuracy and purity to have excellent and precise results. Computer System Validation (CSV) is compulsory when making slight edits to old systems or installing a new management system.

All LIMS systems need to abide by a set of FDA standards, and auditing the system can be a rigorous process, so make sure you plan for it, so you do not have to do it more than once. The validation process can be manual or automated, depending on the body and the processes involved. Some of the reasons why validation is necessary to include:

  • Test fitness for intended use
  • Establishing a traceability matrix to match requirements to specifications
  • Planning for audit readiness
  • Considerable monetary savings as there isn’t any stop for post-release updates
  1. Plan appropriately for Maintenance and Upgrades

Maintenance of the LIMS system is a high priority as most processes in the lab are now dependent on it is imperative that it doesn’t fail and keeps working as intended. Any faltering in the system can slow down the team and its projects and potentially ruin some projects. Maintenance occurs at least every quarter or twice a year to keep the information updated and keep the LIMS system in top working condition.

Conclusion

There are many things involved in getting the team up to speed with LIMS tools, and most of these processes are very important as they help ensure smooth operations in the company. They also assist in making sure quality work is being produced and the company is in line with the regulations from regulatory agencies. 

Carrying every team member helps boost productivity significantly as each member is in the team for specific things they know how to do correctly. Hence it is vital not to leave any member behind in the workings of the new LIMS automation tool.