The selection, implementation and benefits of a fully customized Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), which was deployed in the laboratories of the College of Petroleum Engineering & Geosciences (CPG) at the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) is discussed. It is one of the innovative initiatives undertaken by CPG to streamline utilization of its facilities and ensure secure data management.
The sheer volume and diversity of experiments and measurements performed in the laboratories of CPG required that the management of equipment, data and information be done in a secure and professional way. This required an electronic system, which is efficient, robust and customizable to the specific requirements of the College. Eight different systems were meticulously reviewed and evaluated, from which a system was selected which allowed full customization and strong local support. The implementation was done in multiple phases with extensive training to ease the shift from the traditional lab practices to a complete electronic system.
With the implementation of this system, the College can fully track the existence of all equipment in each laboratory, their maintenance and calibration history and keep a comprehensive record of experiments and results. LIMS has also enabled CPG to compile and deploy standard operating procedures or Lab Execution System (LES) for all major equipment in the labs. The Sample Lifecycle feature allows users to login their samples and produce the complete sample report including the analysis, calculations, graphs and images within the LIMS. It also ensures that the sample follows the defined test methods and procedures. Barcode scanning and printing of customized labels further enhance the credibility of the tested samples. A recent upgrade has given users access to the system directly from the web, making it possible to use the system from anywhere. The system has been additionally customized to handle the management of OHS&E, car-pool and the e-learning facilities of CPG. Interactive live dashboards enable the users and management to view the system with critical information and data at-a-glance.
The CPG customized LIMS has proven to be very effective in our laboratory activities as it has improved the efficiency and quality of work by reducing the potential of human errors, accelerating the throughput of analysis, and enabling sample tracking activities. It is an essential step in the transitioning of CPG laboratories to fully paperless labs where all the data is stored and managed in a fully secure environment.