device and pharmaceutical testing. In addition, since the old system
was located on a single computer, only one employee could use the
system at a time, which created bottlenecks in the laboratory and significantly limited the volume of samples that could be processed in a
Knowing it needed to update its systems, Nova commissioned a consultant to help draw up requirements for the vendor selection process.
The system needed to be user-friendly, easily maintained, config-urable and web-based. It also needed to support flexible functionality,
be capable of complex reporting requirements and meet all of the
agency’s regulatory requirements. Specifically, the new system had to
be able to:
• Centralize all data in a single database that supports multiple departments across the site
• Expand and evolve in order to meet changing requirements and regulations
• Track the status and workflow throughout the lab lifecycle, from
submission to final analysis
• Automate processes to eliminate error-prone or redundant data entry
and paper trails
• Accommodate multiple users, both internally and externally
• Manage documents and training records for audit purposes and
• Migrate data to and from customers both easily and efficiently
Reaping the Benefits
Nova Biologicals is realizing both expected and unexpected benefits
from implementing the LIMS. The solution has been instrumental in
helping Nova maintain its accreditation, refine work processes and
improve the quality and speed of reporting to customers.
The new LIMS has also allowed Nova to increase sample throughput.
While the legacy system only allowed one user to process samples at
a time, the new solution allows five people to process samples at any
one time, enabling Nova scientists to handle very high sample volumes in a shorter amount of time. This has eliminated bottlenecks, in
turn saving man hours across the company. The system also provides
location flexibility—users can access the system from any computer
using a web browser.
The new system has eliminated costly, error-prone paper-based procedures, in turn improving data quality, and it has significantly
improved the process for audits, as data is easily tracked and/or generated. Last but not least, Nova has improved efficiencies via the
built-in document management capabilities, report generation and distribution functionalities.
Water and environmental laboratories and testing facilities are facing
a series of challenges, from the aging U.S. water infrastructure to
stricter and expanding environmental regulations. A LIMS can assist
these laboratories and facilities with solving these challenges and, at
the same time, significantly improving operational efficiencies.
Figure 1. The EPA’s list of 12 Quality Control Elements
These 12 essential quality control (QC) checks must be clearly docu-
mented in the written SOP (or method) along with a performance
specification or description for each of the 12 checks.
1. Demonstration of Capability (DOC)
2. Method Detection Limit (MDL)
3. Laboratory reagent blank (LRB), also referred to as method blank
4. Laboratory fortified blank (LFB), also referred to as a spiked
blank, or laboratory control sample (LCS)
5. Matrix spike, matrix spike duplicate or laboratory fortified blank
duplicate (LFBD) for suspected difficult matrices
6. Internal standards, surrogate standards (for organic analysis) or
tracers (for radiochemistry)
7. Calibration (initial and continuing), initial and continuing perform-
ance (ICP) solution, also referred to as initial calibration verification
(ICV) and continuing calibration verification (CCV)
8. Control charts (or other trend analyses of quality control results)
9. Corrective action (root cause analyses)
10. QC acceptance criteria
11. Definitions of a batch (preparation and analytical)
12. Specify a minimum frequency for conducting these QC checks
Figure 2. Sample Management Workflow in the Environmental
A LIMS can help deliver end-to-end tracking for the environmental
analysis process, from sample collection to analysis, results, data
visualization and reporting.
Author: Colin Thurston, Director of Process Industries Product
Strategy, Thermo Fisher Scientific