Laboratories are designed to be places of innovation and discoveries, with scientists working on their crucial research daily. Yet, in many cases, R&D labs are still using outdated methods of managing their workflows and assets.
In today's fast-paced research environment, laboratory management software has become an essential tool for streamlining lab operations and ensuring compliance. These software solutions offer a wide range of features, such as electronic lab notebooks (ELN), lab data analysis and reporting, lab inventory management, lab equipment scheduling and reservation, access control, and remote lab access and collaboration.
With the new year kicking in many companies are re-evaluating what works for them and looking into new tools that would improve their workflows. In this article, we will explore the key features of laboratory management software, the benefits of using it, and the top laboratory management software solutions in the market.
Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) are software solutions designed to manage and automate laboratory processes, such as sample tracking, data management, and reporting. These systems help laboratories organize and streamline their operations by providing a centralized location for storing and managing data, allowing for data analysis and reporting, as well as sample tracking and inventory management. LIMS can also help improve compliance and data security by providing tools for controlling access to data and enforcing regulatory requirements. LIMS are usually used in a variety of industries, such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and environmental testing, and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of different types of labs.
Some excellent LIMS software your lab should try:
Starlims is a popular laboratory management software solution that offers ELN, lab inventory management, and data analysis tools, as well as compliance and security features.
- Configure workflows for a wide range of research projects and laboratory processes.
- Interface with automated sample handling systems, analytical instruments, and system-to-system communications via web services, file transfer (text, CSV, HL7, ASCII, etc.), and direct database communications.
LabVantage LIMS helps laboratories manage their data and workflow - from sample tracking and data acquisition to reporting and compliance.
- Data retrieval
- Instrument interfacing
- Sample lifecycle management
- Lab execution optimization
LabWare enables laboratories to automate and manage their laboratory processes and data in order to improve productivity, throughput, efficiency, and data integrity. They provide an integrated platform for sample tracking, data acquisition, reporting, and compliance, helping laboratories to streamline their workflows and make informed decisions based on accurate and reliable data.
- Industry expertise
- Data integrity
- Validated workflows
- Robust reporting
- Reduced costs
- Quality and compliance
Electronic lab notebook (ELN)
An electronic lab notebook (ELN) is a software application designed to digitally capture and manage laboratory research data, replacing traditional paper-based lab notebooks. ELN software allows researchers to document their experiments, results, and observations electronically and provides tools for data analysis, sharing, and collaboration. ELNs offer many benefits over traditional paper notebooks, such as improved data security and traceability, enhanced collaboration, and easy data retrieval and organization.
Some of the best electronic lab notebook software available on the market today:
Benchling ELN is a cloud-based electronic lab notebook that provides a user-friendly and efficient platform for scientists to document and organize their research data, while facilitating collaboration and data sharing across teams and organizations.
- Unlike other electronic laboratory notebook software, the Benchling Notebook is built to be as usable as consumer software.
- Directly populate Notebook entries with results from instrument runs. Link that data to samples in your Registry.
- By bi-directionally linking to other entries, samples, and other Benchling data, you can see the complete, interconnected history of any Notebook entry.
Ideal for any lab - whether you’re just starting up, a small or large academic institution, or a globally operating company, eLabJournal ELN offers a comprehensive electronic lab notebook that provides a wide range of features for data management, such as sample tracking, data analysis, and reporting, that are designed to streamline laboratory processes and increase efficiency.
- Trace, match, and visualize your exact lab workflow
- Improve productivity and collaborative efforts
- Elevate research with a truly secure and compliant online lab notebook
eLabJournal includes modules for sample tracking and protocol management.
ResearchSpace ELN is an open-source electronic lab notebook that provides a secure and flexible platform for researchers to document, organize, and share their experimental data, with a focus on long-term data preservation and interoperability with other scientific data management systems.
- Feature-rich notebook
- Easy collaboration
- Powerful search & linking
- Flexible import & export
- Data security & compliance
- Support in deployment
Laboratory inventory management systems are designed to help laboratories track and manage their inventory of lab equipment, reagents, and other supplies. These systems provide a centralized location for storing and managing inventory information, making it easy to track stock levels and reorder items such as consumables when needed. Many lab inventory management systems can also provide features such as barcode scanning, automated notifications for low stock levels, and reporting capabilities.
Some of the top inventory management systems:
A cloud-based laboratory inventory management system that provides a user-friendly platform for managing lab inventory, and reagents, automating purchasing and tracking orders and facilitating collaboration among lab members.
- Create barcode labels for items in your stockroom
- Scan barcodes from your mobile device to search for the items in Quartzy
- Easily increase or reduce the amount in stock
Avantor Inventory Manager provides features such as barcode scanning, automated notifications for low stock levels, real-time inventory tracking, and reporting capabilities, to help labs streamline their inventory management processes and improve efficiency.
- Ease of use
- Data-based, real-time reporting
- One-stop and on-demand replenishment
- Automation of time-consuming tasks
- Customized warehousing
Labregister by LabForward is a versatile inventory management system that provides a wide range of features for managing lab inventory, including barcode scanning, automated stock notifications, customizable inventory lists, and location tracking.
- Unlimited material lists and items
- Upload pre-existing lists
- Customizable properties for each inventory list
- Attach safety data files to your items
- Apply data validation rules for attributes
- Advanced search and filtering of items
A mobile laboratory inventory management system hosted in the cloud. It helps research labs quickly locate their stored items in the lab. It's a plug-and-play solution with a dedicated label printer that can print labels for items, equipment, and locations with unique ID codes and human-readable text.
- Print lab-grade labels with QR code and text from any device
- Upload pictures or items and location form the mobile app
- Easily update storage locations
- Batch-scan mode for editing many items at once
- Share inventory information with the whole team
Equipment scheduling and management
Another tool crucial for any lab, no matter how big or small, is laboratory scheduling software. Lab equipment schedulers allow laboratories to schedule and reserve lab equipment, implement booking rules, and record downtimes. These lab resource management systems are ideal for storing and managing equipment scheduling information, making it easy for scientists to view availability and schedule time on specific instruments. Laboratory equipment scheduling software can also provide features such as maintenance management, booking rules, access limitations, and reporting capabilities. This can help to improve lab efficiency by reducing equipment downtime, and ensuring that equipment is available when needed.
Clustermarket equips lab managers with an easy-to-use software solution enabling them to coordinate equipment usage, plan maintenance activities, and generate reports for resource planning. Research teams benefit from equipment access management and insights on utilization and maintenance.
- Asset monitoring
- Equipment management & scheduling
- Instrument maintenance
- Real-time tracking
- Reporting & analytics
Google Calendar can help streamline the scheduling process by providing a centralized, easy-to-use platform for scheduling and managing access to equipment, which can help to minimize scheduling conflicts, improve efficiency and reduce downtime.
- Due dates
- Working locations and hours
Stratocore software helps research facilities manage and maintain their resources, including laboratory equipment, by providing a web-based software tool and a suite of implementation and support services.
- Core facility scheduling and ordering
- Core facility invoicing
- Facility usage tracking
- User rights and training management
- Reporting & statistics
Laboratory voice assistants allow scientists to perform daily lab tasks using voice commands. They can be used for tasks such as data entry, sample tracking, and equipment control. These tools use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technologies to understand and respond to voice commands, making it more convenient for scientists to interact with their lab software. Laboratory voice assistants can help improve lab efficiency and reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks, allowing scientists to focus on their experiments and research.
Some of the top lab voice assistants available today:
LabVoice is a laboratory voice assistant that allows scientists to perform lab tasks using voice commands, such as data entry, sample tracking, and equipment control, making it more convenient for scientists to interact with their lab software and improving lab efficiency.
- Take pictures
- Record videos
- Scan barcodes
LabTwin laboratory voice assistant utilizes natural language processing (NLP) technology to understand and respond to voice commands, allowing scientists to easily document their lab work, search their lab inventory, and manage their lab equipment, while minimizing the time spent on manual data entry.
- Capture data in real-time
- Enable hands-free data access
- Automatize data structuring
- Improve compliance
HelixAI allows scientists to interact with their lab equipment and perform experiments using voice commands while utilizing natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) to understand and respond to voice commands.
- Access reagent and product information
- Walk through your experiments
- Manage your inventory