For many labs, choosing a new sample management system can feel like a daunting task. Whether it’s your first time using software to manage your samples, or you are looking for a new sample management system to replace an existing application, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Sample Management System Features
When evaluating a system to manage your samples, it is important not to think about whether “it’s the right system”, but rather if it is “the right system for our laboratory’s needs right now and in the future”.
Think about the features the system offers and how it matches up with your lab processes and workflow. Are the structured that you would have to change your existing lab processes? Do you feel that you require a system with more flexibility so that it can be configured to your existing sample management process? Beyond your current lab operations it is also important to consider the future of your lab – do you plan to introduce new assays, processes, or sample tracking procedures and will the system be able to handle those?
Aside from features, you should also think about how much effort it will take for your team to implement and configure the new system.
Sample Management System Pricing
The price of the sample management system is also an important consideration. Make sure you are aware of the factors that determine system pricing. This may include pricing tiers based on the database size, number of users, number of samples, availability of certain features or other price determining factors. Make sure you are comfortable with any potential increase in cost as your lab grows and your needs change. This can help prevent an unexpected and significant increase in cost at a certain capacity. Making an effort to estimate usage, including users and amounts of data, prior to choosing a system will help you be a more informed buyer and help plan for the future.
Adopting a Sample Management System in the Lab
Once you feel comfortable with the feature set and cost offered by a particular solution, the single-most important factor in implementing the software is gaining adoption within the lab.
Incorporating a new sample management system into the lab can be arduous and challenging. Scientists are used to working in a way that is most efficient for them, and introducing a new system may be disruptive to their normal way of operating. To minimize this disruption and foster adoption of the new system, make sure to include the end-users in the lab during the evaluation process. Allow them to test their scenarios and evaluate usability. Create an environment where their feedback is valued and taken into consideration, and ideally choose a system that helps boost their efficiency and complement existing processes. Choosing a software that provides tools for data validation, integration and reporting are all good ways to help scientific efficiency move in the right direction.
Once you have chosen a sample management system, determine an implementation plan that will work for the group, and allow for some trial and error. Pick one or two lab processes that can be moved to the new system, gather feedback and make improvements as needed before implementing a new set of processes. Have a concrete timeline that will empower users to fully test the system and provide time for feedback and checkpoints.
Product Highlight: LabKey Sample Manager
LabKey Sample Manager is a feature-rich and intuitive sample management software designed to boost the efficiency and productivity of your lab. Easily track samples, manage their lineage, define laboratory workflows, and unify your samples with assay data. Learn more out sample manager using the links below:
Sample Tracking – End-to-end sample tracking features including chain-of-custody tracking, sample types and sources, and lineage views
Sample Data Integration – Integrate assay data with your samples and assign metadata for a complete picture of your ongoing experiments
Sample Management Workflow – Assign samples to user-defined workflows and monitor the workflow completion status at each stage for every sample
Explore Sample Manager – register to see LabKey Sample Manager in action!