Implementing a laboratory management systems (LIMS) in your lab opens up a world of possibilities and numerous benefits. Before you roll out the system, it is a good idea to take time to gather information, plan for the implementation, communicate your intentions, and get everyone involved in the process to avoid problems down the road. Read on to discover useful tips and suggestions to have a successful LIMS integration project.
1. Get Everyone Involved – Scientists and lab staff are busy. They do not have time to spend countless hours in meetings listening to how LIMS is going to benefit them. You may also have some people who are reluctant to change. However, engaging everyone sooner, rather than later, will pay off once the system is rolled out.
2. Ask Questions of Your End Users – Learning what matters to your lab staff and scientists will help identify project objectives and goals. Ask what problems are limiting your staff in their activities. Find out if any staff have seen other LIMS in use and/or policies they think would benefit your lab. Ask staff if they have any ideas they think would help improve productivity and workflows.
3. Develop Work Process Maps – Creating a visual representation of work processes helps determine exactly what you need the LIMS solution to do. Plus, it can be fun for your staff to be able to map out their individual work processes. TIP: Take the time to confirm the inputs, steps, documentation, and so on are actually what occurs with your staff, as sometimes they are different from what you think.
4. Use Work Process Maps to Develop Solutions – Working from the process maps alongside the LIMS solution provider will help develop a customized system that will meet your needs and ensure your staff will adapt the system once it is implemented.
5. Include Essential Staff During the Design Process – Normally, the LIMS provider will want to meet several times while designing your solution. During these meeting having essential staff on hand to ask questions, pose concerns, and further explain processes is of benefit for both you and the provider.
By taking the time to carefully plan your LIMS, involve your staff, and verify each aspect of the design process, you will avoid implementing a solution that is wrong and which will not work for your lab. Simply guessing what your staff needs and choosing for them is never a good idea, as this often results in your scientists and staff telling you later the system is all wrong, not to mention a lessened willingness to adapt to using it. In addition, taking the latter approach is also a waste of time, money, and resources.