In today’s blog, I’d like to address a question we discuss a lot with prospective customers:
First off, there’s an important point I need to make. Yes, some LIMS providers claim that their solutions can manage quality. Unfortunately, these quality add-on components advertised by LIMS providers just don’t get the job done. This can lead to wasted time and putting your accreditation at risk. Time and time again, we hear from lab directors and quality managers who feel they’ve been misled by these products.
So let’s get one thing straight, though both an eQMS and a LIMS system can help streamline the operations in your organization, they are different and serve different functions. We’ve written a separate blog that describes their differences here.
We’ve even recorded a webinar with our LIMS partner, JusticeTrax, about Integrating your LIMS and QMS.
What often happens is, laboratory managers will consider only investing in a LIMS system to save money and reduce the number of programs they’ll need to train new laboratory employees on. So when some LIMS products are marketing themselves as 2-for-1 software, why wouldn’t someone consider that option?
Fair enough – but you must understand how often our account executives hear a story that goes like this:
A new director at a startup lab has a strict budget and has to make some choices about her initial investments. When evaluating the costs of a LIMS and an eQMS, she considers going with a LIMS that claims they offer an eQMS component. Oftentimes, the thinking here is that she’ll try it for a few years to see how it works.
The problem is this lab director is wasting money from the get-go. Not only is she taking a chance on her accreditation, but she’s wasting staff hours trying to make the LIMS perform a function it does not support. The cost of this error will add up because she will probably end up spending more money paying her staff significant overtime to get this done on top of all of their other assignments and she’ll risk burning them out.
Sometimes during initial conversations with our team, potential customers feel that quality is something they can manage manually. “I achieved accreditation using excel sheets and shared drives,” some say. Sure, excel sheets and shared drives can serve as a beginning for quality management, but what happens when your organization begins to expand and grow over the following years? As your organization grows, so will your number of staff, customer expectations, and the quality data that you’re responsible for managing. The Lab Director who was once able to play the role of Quality Manager and manage two or three staff now has a team of 12, a growing lab, and a growing amount of quality data to manage manually on their hands. That’s just too much for one person to handle. This is the point where we see a lot of organizations coming to us looking for an eQMS, wishing they had started with an eQMS in the first place. Here’s why:
As you introduce new processes and policies; like corrective actions, internal audits, equipment maintenance, and staff testing and training, Qualtrax is configurable so you can customize it to fit your needs at all times. Also, our system provides the power of automation, which cuts down on unnecessary manual work like tracking versioning, updating master document lists, and setting up alert systems for document review.
For the past year, you’ve been working hard to set your lab up for success. You’ve hired the right people, attained accreditation, attracted a base of loyal customers and you’re projecting growth. Then, to your complete surprise, your lab manager leaves, taking with them all of the institutional knowledge of how you track and manage quality. When you implement an eQMS like Qualtrax, the quality system is owned by your organization and doesn’t live in the brain of a select few individuals.
The bottom line here is that LIMS systems will never provide the same quality management that Qualtrax does and manually managing quality is a waste of staff time and can put your accreditation at risk!
If you’re interested in learning more about Qualtrax or would like to chat about how an eQMS could save your organization time and money, schedule a demo of our product! Our account executives are experts in the field of compliance and accreditation management and would love to talk to you.