Lean Laboratory

Are Dedicated Paperwork Reviewers a good idea for your QC Lab?

Published by Adrian Fegan in Lean Laboratory on September 2, 2020

In labs, testing often takes priority while the review is somewhat of an afterthought. However, it is important to realise that until the results are reviewed and approved, we should not consider a test to be completed. There are several reasons why review may not be completed promptly, including volatile incoming workloads and changing/competing priorities.

Structured Problem Solving – The key to Lean?

Published by Darragh Sweetnam in Lean Laboratory on August 26, 2020

Companies that have successfully implemented Lean understand that the “Stability” or foundation the House of Lean is built upon is Structured Problem Solving. The iterative improvement loop offered by Structured Problem Solving allows for the correct Lean tools to be used at the correct time and in the correct way.

Understanding Lean Lab for Operations Excellence Teams

Published by John Larkin in Lean Laboratory on August 19, 2020

Service level is a key deliverable in any lean lab project, and the business will not tolerate poor lead time performance in order to deliver benefits elsewhere.

When designing lean lab solutions, a key design target is to be as productive as possible, while delivering consistently against the lead time targets of the business.    

Improving Laboratory Productivity after Workload Increases

Published by Andrew Harte in Lean Laboratory on August 5, 2020

Has your QC Lab grown naturally over a period of time from a small lab into a bigger lab due to a growth in business demand? Are your employees under a lot of stress with never ending emails and phone calls from production and supply chain looking for sample approval? This expansion in activity is great news for the business but is most likely causing operational problems in your lab.

The Importance of Visual Management in a Lean Laboratory

Published by Cathal Boyce in Lean Laboratory on July 29, 2020

A Laboratory is usually a busy environment with many different activities simultaneously in progress. Having a good understanding of what is happening with each sample and test, or at least having quick access to that information is essential to the smooth running of that lab. Consequently, the importance of good, effective and up to date Visual Management cannot be overstated.

Surge Capacity in Labs

Published by Tom Reynolds in Lean Laboratory, Lean Manufacturing, Lean Programs on July 17, 2020

One of the key goals of ‘Lean Lab’ is to create lab processes that operate and are resourced at the ‘levelled demand rate’. This enables the Lab to efficiently and productively meet the needs of the business.

3 Important Questions to Consider when Designing Labs with Lean in Mind

Published by Adrian Fegan in Lean Laboratory on October 29, 2019

Building (or refurbishing) laboratories is a costly and time-consuming activity for a company. Poorly designed spaces can be costly in terms of lost productivity, slower turn around times and higher inventory of equipment and consumables.

Project Based Labs

Published by Tom Reynolds in Lean Laboratory, Lean R&D on October 14, 2019

Laboratories with project based workloads often have greater volatility in both the volume and mix of work than other lab types. The work content of later steps may only be clear after the preceding step is complete.  This all adds to an inherently unpredictable workload, both for the overall lab and for individual personnel. But there are some core strategies that you can deploy to make project labs more productive.

Raw Materials / Consumables Laboratories – Understanding the Nuances and a Strategy to Ensure Best in Class Performance

Published by Gerard Doorley in Lean Laboratory, Lean QA, Lean R&D on January 17, 2019

Raw materials / consumables labs are integral to the smooth and stable operation of a production plant and as such they perform a very important function. The cardinal sin for an incoming materials laboratory is to cause a change in the production schedule due to a material not being released on time. While most plants will try to have some sort of fixed production schedule, production environments are inherently fluidic and dynamic in nature. This fluidity can negatively impact the lab; often leading to constant prioritization and re-prioritization cycles of materials to be tested in the laboratory. This means that a lot of unnecessary non value-add effort is expended on scheduling. The net effect of all of this is a pressurized environment where analysts feel that they are in constant firefighting mode.

Waste in Laboratories

Published by Tom Reynolds in Lean Laboratory, Lean R&D on January 17, 2019

Laboratories are not the same as manufacturing environments so do the standard Lean ‘Wastes’ even apply in Labs?