Book:LIMS Selection Guide for Food Safety and Quality/Taking the next step/Finalize the requirements specification and choose a vendor

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5.4 Finalize the requirements specification and choose a vendor

Now that the demonstrations have been conducted and more questions asked, you should be close to finalizing your requirement specifications with one ore more vendors. In fact, you may have taken LIMSpec, chosen a few critical requirements from it, added them to a few unique requirements of your own, and included them as part of an RFI or question and answer session with vendors. You then likely took those responses and added them to your wider overall specification (e.g., LIMSpec), along with your own notes and observations from interacting with the vendor. This may have been repeated for several vendors and their offerings.

At this point, you're likely ready to either have those vendors complete the rest of the responses for their corresponding URS, or you may even be ready to narrow down your vendor selection. This all likely depends on what the initial fact finding revealed. How well did the vendors respond to your laboratory's unique set of needs? Were there critical areas that one vendor could address with their off-the-shelf solution but another vendor would have to address with custom coding? Did any of the vendors meet your budget expectations? Have you followed up on any references and customer experiences the vendors provided to you?

It may be that several vendors are appealing at this point, meaning it's time to have them respond to the rest of the URS. This makes not only for good due diligence, to better ensure most requirements can be met, but also a reviewable option for any "tie-breaker" you have between vendors. In reality, this tie-breaker scenario would rarely come up; more often, some other aspect of the software, company, or pricing will be a stronger limiter. However, you still want to get all those vendor responses, even if you've early on filtered your options down to one vendor.

Ultimately, your specification document may look similar to the LIMSpec, or it may have a slightly different format. Many prospective buyers will develop a requirement specification in Microsoft Excel, but that has a few minor disadvantages. Regardless of format, you'll want to give plenty of space for vendors to submit a response to each requirement. For your convenience, a Microsoft Word version of Appendix 1's LIMSpec for food and beverage labs is also included as part of this guide (see A8. LIMSpec in Microsoft Word format). That document is editable, giving end users and vendors the flexibility to remove information and enlarge columns.

Additionally, remember that often is the case that after the URS is completed and final questions asked, no single vendor can meet all your needs. Be ready for this possibility, whether it be a functionality requirement or a budget issue. Know ahead of time where your laboratory is willing to be flexible, and how much flex you have. After all of your lab's preparation, and with a little luck, you've found a vendor that fits the bill, even if a few minor compromises had to be made along the way.


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Citation information for this chapter

Chapter: 5. Taking the next step

Title: LIMS Selection Guide for Food Safety and Quality

Edition: First Edition

Author for citation: Shawn E. Douglas

License for content: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Publication date: January 2023