Today we’re talking about the use of LIMS (laboratory information management systems) at chemicals manufacturing companies. These companies are challenged to be more agile than ever in their business processes. Because market forces are continuously driving these companies towards a more diverse portfolio of customers, all with more specific product requirements, the organization must keep pace with these competitive changes. Agility in business requires agility in the laboratory. Your day to day concerns in the laboratory are now the concerns of the business and just might have to do with the improving margins, maximizing yield and resolving quality problems.
A laboratory information management system (LIMS) is a necessary component of your company’s technology infrastructure and one which can help your lab contribute to the organization’s success. A LIMS will automate your laboratory and integrate with applications and instruments in the lab and also with enterprise systems across your organization. With a streamlined workflow in the lab, and a centralized repository for data that is available to the entire organization as it is needed, lab data can become a critical part of any key business metrics and have direct impact on management decision making.
Whether the company is producing basic or specialty chemicals, household, industrial or agricultural chemicals or personal care products, chances are you’re facing increasing pressures to lower costs, control waste, reduce inventory, increase efficiency, and maintain regulatory compliance. Do these challenges sound familiar to you? They are driving business decisions in every industry and in those industries where laboratory testing and analysis is a core requirement of the business, the laboratory has a direct role in helping solve some of these challenges. In companies around the world, a LIMS is the relied upon tool to integrate all the various components of the lab, to automate processes, centralize data capture and deliver that data to those parts of the company where key decisions are made about the business.
American Laboratory recently published an article that talks about data management in chemicals manufacturing companies, and how a laboratory information management system (LIMS) can improve workflow, save time and increase productivity. Colin Thurston from Thermo Fisher Scientific is well spoken on the topic and has dealt with chemicals customers around the world on solving some of the problems just stated. Take a look at this well written article, Achieving Success in Chemical Manufacturing: How a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) Ensures Flexibility in the Lab for an in-depth look at how a LIMS can help drive greater efficiencies in your lab.
Another challenge for chemicals laboratories is maintaining quality, continuously improving sample turnaround time, and meeting ISO 17025 requirements. These challenges are routinely addressed by automating the workflow in the lab, integrating instrumentation and equipment and centralizing data collection in a LIMS – all of the things that a LIMS is designed to do. Let me point you to another good article recently published by LNG Industry, titled Increasing Yields. Here you’ll find a good outline of some of the ISO 17025 requirements and how a LIMS can help you monitor instrument calibration, user training and prepare proper documentation for your customers or regulators as well as improve workflow in the lab. The desired end result is increased productivity, quality and yield.
What kind of LIMS are chemicals companies looking for and relying on these days? An ideal LIMS is one that serves as an integrated platform capable of supporting key enterprise processes and systems as well as providing full integration capabilities for laboratory instrumentation and applications. Specifically developed for enterprise deployments, Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS is the choice for many chemical companies because it is scalable, flexible and configurable to accommodate a variety of workflows, lab types and user communities. SampleManager LIMS integrates easily with other applications and instruments in and out of the lab, providing one standard user-interface and enabling data sharing across the organization. A new release of SampleManager LIMS will be announced at Pittcon in Philadelphia on March 18. SampleManager 11 will allow users to build their own workflows to reflect their individual lab processes, allowing them to take ownership of workflow management and allowing them to be synchronized with the changing requirements of the lab, all without specialist IT intervention. More details on this release will be available right after Pittcon so stay tuned.
In the meantime, a good source of information about LIMS in chemicals manufacturing facilities can be found at Chemicals Resources. Here you will find technical information, webinars and case studies as well as additional published materials covering a range of chemicals industries.