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What is a LIMS?

LIMS is the acronym for a Laboratory Information Management System. 

This is a software-based solution with features that support a modern laboratory’s operation.

A proper LIMS provides at least the following core functionality:

Sample Management

Sample management is the primary function of a LIMS. From login of a sample or specimen to disposal, the LIMS will keep track of all activity associated with the sample.


The LIMS should provide the ability to create new reports and modify existing reports.

Instrument Integration

Transfer data automatically between the LIMS and instruments in the laboratory.

Enterprise Application Integration

The ability to export LIMS data to other critical business applications within the organization.

Audit Management

The ability to generate an audit trail of a sample’s journey through the laboratory.

This diagram represents an overall picture of how an ideal LIMS solution would be implemented.


We’ve included what we consider to be core functions that should be included in most LIMS implementation.

At the center of the solution is the LIMS with a modern SQL relational database that can grow with the laboratory. Along the left are some of the typical functions that a lab would perform in the LIMS during the course of their workday. This includes:

  • Sample login or pre-login of samples with barcoding.
  • Sample scheduling
  • Instrument integration
  • Report writing
  • Ability to email, print or fax final reports, CoAs, invoices, worklists, backlog and production reports and a variety of ad-hoc reports.
  • Integration with other enterprise applications (accounting, SAP, other ERP solutions).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: How do I get started with my LIMS project?

Answer: Download the ATL Roadmap to LIMS Success Guide

ATL has created a 28-page step-by-step guide that organizations can use to plan the selection and implementation of a LIMS. This guide is designed as a workbook that will walk you through a LIMS project – from defining project scope through final deployment

Click Here to Download Your LIMS Guide

Question: How do I select the right LIMS for my laboratory?

Answer: Download the ATL poster whitepaper “It’s Time to Buy a LIMS: Words of Advice for Both Novice and Experienced Buyers”

Click Here to Download This Poster