Abstract When an industrial laboratory has to perform almost 80 000 scheduled analyses in a year in addition to nearly 20 000 unscheduled analyses it definitely requires some kind of management system to survive. If the laboratory is an ‘information island’ within the company, then the factory may be in a great danger. Thus, a user-friendly system is required to export information from the laboratory to all sections of the company. This paper presents an actual solution for processing chemical data in a petrochemical company. The laboratory information management system (LIMS) implemented in the Repsol Petroleum Refinery of La Coruña is described and the data system organization and automatic entry of results are discussed. Great emphasis has been placed on quality assurance topics related to LIMS.