Many people in the industry will have heard of Autoscribe Informatics and its Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) solution, Matrix Gemini. People tend to assume that Autoscribe is USA based but in fact it is a home-grown success with a UK development team located in offices near Reading.
Founded in 1981, Autoscribe Ltd is a privately owned company. The founder, John Boother, is a qualified analytical chemist who had worked in sales for Beckman Instruments as the European Manager for Laboratory Automation. This role introduced him to the importance of laboratory management and automation systems. Realising a gap in the market for a PC based LIMS John expanded the Autoscribe operation into this market in 1990 and introduced in-house development in 1993.
This coincided with big changes in the laboratory industry, and the instruments they use, with computers still in their infancy. Taking advantage of these early Windows-based personal computers (PCs) Matrix LIMS was born. From those early days, the software has been continually developed to utilise the latest technology and extended to meet the needs of increasingly sophisticated laboratories and the measurement testing they must perform daily.
Today, Autoscribe has expanded beyond the UK to have offices in the USA and Australia, as well as distributors across Europe, Africa and Asia, making it a truly global organisation. Despite this Autoscribe still has a family feel. Many of its earliest customers are still clients today. The heart of this success is a LIMS system that enables configuration via built-in configuration tools, allowing the system to be optimised to the exact needs of every laboratory, without the need for programming skills. While most LIMS require software code changes to change the screens within the LIMS for example, Matrix Gemini LIMS allows these changes to be made using the configuration tools. This allows clients to easily change the system to suit their needs while preserving the ability to upgrade to new versions of the software to take advantage of new and improved features. One unique feature of the Autoscribe approach is that customer changes to a Matrix system using the configuration tools are supported within the annual support agreement at no extra charge. This approach means that system changes, support of those changes and upgrades are easily achieved.
Since its early days, Autoscribe has always recognised the value of trade associations such as the British Measurement and Trade Association (BMTA). The BMTA promotes the interests of its members, many of whom are laboratories, within the UK and globally, helping to drive best practice across the industry. Autoscribe is closely aligned with these goals, advocating that the LIMS solutions that BMTA members use should encapsulate and help laboratories adopt this best practice. To that end, the Matrix Gemini LIMS that we develop here in the UK and supply globally enables laboratories to comply with international standards such as ISO17025, FDA 21 CFR Part 11, and Good Laboratory Practice. Promoting these common objectives and listening to the needs of BMTA members allows us to develop the Matrix Gemini LIMS roadmap and keep it relevant to the needs of tomorrow’s laboratories.