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From Spreadsheet to LIMS – A Real Solution

Small laboratories face unique challenges when it comes to process management, particularly when they are growing and unable to invest in a full-scale LIMS.  They have to be able to track and control their processes at a high level today, but still structure their processes in ways that will enable a smooth transition to a LIMS down the road.

The good news is that tools are available to help these labs today – tools that will work as the lab continues to evolve.

The first step is an automated data input process. Studies have shown that when humans are transcribing long numbers, they will get 1 out of 30 digits wrong.  That human error factor of more than 3% is bad enough, but it’s compounded by mistakes in reading or typing information during this time consuming process.

A barcode scanner can be an effective solution – and one that is surprisingly affordable for just about every lab.  In fact, barcode scanners have advanced to the level that a basic one can be obtained for the price of a smartphone.  And chemically-resistant barcode sticky labels cost just a few cents apiece. (See accompanying feature for more information on optimizing barcodes.)

Determining what software to use to automate the data collection, storage, and retrieval processes is a critical step for labs.  UNIConnect has discovered and implemented a universal model of laboratory process management in the UNIFlow product.  Information from a spreadsheet can be imported directly into the UNIFlow – eliminating extra steps and reducing the potential for errors.  Labs can create a spreadsheet, upload the data via barcode scanner, and then use UNIFlow’s tracking and control capabilities to manage that information.

When should a laboratory step up to automation?  For faster growth, the earlier the better.  And UNIConnect can help with an affordable solution that will take you from spreadsheet to automation today, and adapt to your changing needs in the future.

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