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For A More Productive R&D Lab Apply LIMS Today!

As consumers we owe a lot to R&D labs, these labs provide us with novel products that add value to our lives and in case of medical miracles; they add more life to our lives. Yes, R&D labs help us by improving the products we use in our day to day lives; they also improve the quality of our lives. I sincerely applaud the organizations, governments and individuals who help run R&D labs that work for the greater good of the human race. Being an operation professional I have always wondered how these labs are run, can they become more efficient, can we improve the development time of these labs? These questions arise because of the nature of operation of R&D facilities, they operate under a lot of pressure; have limited finances, large no. of variables and an uncertain outcome.
So how can an R&D lab be more efficient? I believe the answer to this question lies in the way we approach the operation of such a lab, the clarity of the deliverables and the technology we employ we use to run the day-to-day operation of the lab. Yes, the planning at the DOE stage and the subsequent stages plays a very vital role on the success of an R&D project and the final deliverable obtained. It requires a methodical approach and involvement of all concerned departments, right from the design stage to the stage which delivers the first prototype. An R&D facility can be much more productive if it is gunning for a specific target rather than shooting in the dark. This means that a lot of thought needs to be put before even accepting the possibility of an end result of an R&D project.
Once the plan is in place and there is a general idea of the deliverable expected, the technology to be employed comes into play. By technology, I mean not just the equipment being used, but also the Information systems that lay the foundation of success for any operation. The information systems being employed in an R&D lab provide the required alignment, synchronization and integration to successfully execute the project. The most modern and highly coveted Information application for R&D labs available today is LIMS- Laboratory Information Management Systems.
Due to the dynamic nature and needs of an R&D facility no standard LIMS package can be suitable for your Lab. A Pharmaceutical lab has completely different objectives and operational needs than lets say an Aircraft development lab. This makes the design an application of LIMS a highly process specific and complex task .The core function of LIMS is sample management; this includes the request from sample from the customer, the process of sample creation and also the tracking & delivery of sample to the customer. This requires data management expertise that is compliance oriented and process specific.
A LIMS application can also have features beyond sample management, such as, equipment integration, electronic data exchange, export to excel/spreadsheets, audit management, barcode/RFID applications and the list virtually is endless. The presence of a good sample management application is pivotal for a successful LIMS system as the most important operation of any manufacturing R&D Lab is sample generation as per customer specs, effective sample creation and timely delivery of the said sample. If you agree with my views about the necessity of LIMS or have any other doubts/queries relevant to the topic, you can write to me at sumeet@i2ds.com or info@i2ds.com or just leave a comment on the Blogs page. If you would like to know how a LIMS application can affect the productivity of you lab, do write to me.

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