Lean Laboratory

Why can't my department get ahead and be productive

Published by Andrew Harte in Lean Laboratory, Lean Manufacturing, Lean QA on October 9, 2018

In operations where the short interval (e.g. daily or weekly) workload varies, the most common method of distributing the work is to share it equally between the available people. We call this method “available work through available people”. The consequence of this approach is that even low daily workloads expand to fill the day resulting in poor productivity. Carefully designed standard work can improve your department’s performance by consistently making the most out of people’s time.

Can and should Lean be applied in Labs?

Published by Tom Reynolds in Lean Laboratory on September 4, 2018

Lean originated in the automotive industry and it’s easy to see how the tools and concepts are a good fit for that type of manufacturing. It’s much less obvious however that Lean can and should be applied in Labs.  In recent times Lean Lab projects have become quite common but…

Is Lean really an appropriate strategy in the Lab environment or are labs just blindly following trends?

Improving Lab Performance with Six Sigma

Published by Andrew Harte in Lean Laboratory on September 4, 2018

Do you want to reduce lead times while improving productivity in your QC testing laboratory? Read the following case study to find out how.

Lab Testing - The Prioritization Problem

Published by Adrian Fegan in Lean Laboratory, Lean R&D on September 4, 2018

Lab testing schedules are often dominated by complex prioritization strategies but there is a less stressful way to successfully deal with samples.

Understanding Service Level Agreements in Lean Projects

Published by Adrian Fegan in Lean Laboratory on September 4, 2018

Service level agreements provide a basis for the metrics against which performance of groups are measured. Discussing and understanding the reasons for (or even implementing) service level agreements are an important initial stage of Lean projects. 

Change Management in Laboratories / Quality Organizations

Published by Gerard Doorley in Lean Laboratory, Lean QA on September 4, 2018

BSM lead large, transformative change initiatives on sites across the world in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. Management of such initiatives is not trivial and can indeed be quite difficult, but the benefits that can be realized constitute a marked improvement on the status quo. Over the past decade, BSM have developed detailed and structured methodologies to ensure that change is implemented smoothly and, most importantly, that it is sustained into the future.

Changeover Management in a Controlled Operations Environment

Published by Gerard Quigley in Lean Laboratory, Lean QA on July 26, 2018

Time in an operational environment can be classified as (1) processing time and (2) non-processing time. Focusing solely on making the processing time efficient is a significant cause of lost improvement opportunities.  Standardising variable non-processing time activity (e.g. changeovers) can realise a surprisingly large improvement: a typical changeover standardisation program alone usually achieves 50%+ reduction in changeover times.  This increases the time available for processing, but also increases yield and the productivity of resources.

Breaking Barriers in Pharma – How Lean processes help Information flow between Departments

Published by Andrew Harte in Lean Laboratory, Lean QA, Lean R&D on July 26, 2018

Working as a consultant for different pharmaceutical companies I have come across some interesting examples of how “walls” between departments and between companies affect operations. One complaint you often hear within the industry is that of poor communication between the Manufacturing Department (who manufacture the product) and the Quality Department (who Inspect, test and release the product). I came across one particularly poor example of this last year.

Managing Non-Routine Work

Published by Adrian Fegan in Lean Laboratory, Lean QA on April 11, 2018

Every Department (QC, QA, R&D, RA, Manufacturing, etc.) has its share of non-routine work that must be completed.  This can include new instrument qualifications, method validations/transfers, SOP reviews, batch record updates, etc. It is easy for these tasks to get lost in the mix of all the other work. This is of course until there is a hard deadline or annual reviews are approaching! Then resources have to be dedicated to these non-routine projects to ensure that they are completed on time. While this is happening routine work is building up and once the project is cleared we have to set about dealing with the backlog.

Time studies, work measurement and standards - how not to alienate your team

Published by Andrew Harte in Lean Laboratory, Lean R&D on April 11, 2018

A critical component of improving any existing process is first measuring it! “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” (Bohmer, 2008) There are multiple tools for determining a process’ baseline, such as process mapping and spaghetti diagrams. Possibly, some of the more controversial tools are those used for work measurement and standards. There are four recognized methods for gathering information on the time it takes to perform a task (or set of tasks).