High-Tech Quality Management Processes LIMS in Laboratories

Why is quality management an arousing requirement in laboratories? In order to automize operation and data management, laboratory technicians are aware that laboratory software's modular structure can make a difference in optimizing quality management processes.

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Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, the cuts in laboratory staff, the restriction of contacts, and the digital changes due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, those needs are growing. Furthermore, laboratories around the world are aware that quality management processes have the purpose to upgrade not just the quality of products but also the quality of work.

The word "module" embodies the concept of structure and immediately conducts flexibility, optimization, precision, and order. There is not just one software solution on the global market. Yet, among many, some could make the difference, LIMS is one of those solutions.

This article will outline the installation of LIMS software with a sophisticated modular structure into a laboratory to optimize and enhance quality management processes. The LIMS solution which will be considered is [FP]-LIMS, designed by Fink & Partner GmbH.

Yet, in order to analyze how modules can increase productivity and efficiency, it is vital to define quality management and LIMS software.

Quality management (QM) looks at the PDCA (plan, do check, act) circle, and on the systematical implementation of the fundamental principles of quality into organizations. So, one solution to coordinate and automate processes to enhance quality, productivity, and reduce costs is a software supporting quality management.

LIMS is short for Laboratory Information Management System and is a laboratory software for data and analysis management by keeping track of samples, data, lab workflows, and measurement systems.

So, LIMS is designed to enhance quality, productivity, and workers' safety in order to decrease errors and costs – characteristics that are put together can optimize the quality management processes. Often, LIMS software has laboratory extensions like open interfaces and modules.

For instance, [FP]-LIMS has a sophisticated software architecture and, therefore, a number of modules that can specifically manage quality processes. Let us discuss the analyses management module and why it is vital to QM.

The Analysis Management module takes over the data processing, analyses, and different qualities. As it doesn't only organize processes, analyses, and data but also collects them in base reports, this module plays a key part in quality management processes, speeding up productivity and reducing the chance to register errors. Reducing errors is also a synonym for reducing preventive production costs.  

The Inspection Order module also plays a crucial role in lab analyses. In fact, it is essential for quality inspection. Processing samples with different measurement methods and creating customizable reports complete the full quality inspection in quality management processes in laboratories. Furthermore, [FP]-LIMS can keep track of lab devices’ calibration and therefore set tasks for a specific day and time.

The ICP module is another essential module in support of quality management. This module's peculiarity is that an ICP analysis is produced for every sample, which is one of the requirements to achieve Quality 4.0, thus predictive maintenance assets instead of preventive.

The data is only stored when validated. Additionally, the ICP module simplifies the work process displaying the results in tabular form for each ordered sample within a sample series. The ‘audit trail function' is worth mentioning as it is vital to reach high-quality lab workflow standards.

The audit trail actually concerns the skills of keeping track of the records which have been performed into the database. In a laboratory, the audit trail is significant due to the large number of analyses being performed.

The Input Dialog is another module used for fast and easy manual configuration and operation. It has a vital administrative function of laboratory devices. It is sometimes important to configure the measurement deceives manually in order to reach high-quality and precision standards.

A number of measurement instruments do not possess an automatic interface with LIMS, which is why the input dialog can solve this problem and permit laboratory technicians to enter their results manually. [FP]-LIMS is also able to filter the gathered data and allow communication between devices because of the open interface.

Lastly, communication with the upper-level system like ERP, PCS, and SAP is vital for the secure storage of the laboratory data. [FP] -LIMS's certified interface SAP S/4HANA® allows the easy exchange of data and upgraded laboratory management.

SAP S/4HANA® is the ERP system for the next business generation designed for digitalized and automated laboratory workflows that fit into the quality management for Industry 4.0, the standards of Quality 4.0.

To summarize, the sophisticated modular structure of LIMS creates the basis for the right quality management processes for the upcoming requirements and standards due to their flexibility and reliability.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Fink & Partner GmbH.

For more information on this source, please visit Fink & Partner GmbH.

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