Lean Laboratory

Lean Tools versus Lean Systems

Published by Andrew Harte in Lean Laboratory on January 17, 2019

Since the emergence of the Toyota Production System (TPS) in the early nineties there have been many successful introductions of Lean manufacturing to all types of differing industries from Healthcare to Retail. Providing Lean consulting services has become big business. But without understanding the deeper principles behind Lean, companies can be too focused on the application of Lean Tools instead of deploying Lean as a holistic system. “Managers are struggling to combine lean techniques into a coherent system.” (Womack & Jones, Beyond Toyota: How to Root Out Waste and Persue Perfection, 1996)

Bringing Flow to the Review and Release Process

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

The concept of flow is a key element in achieving lean operations. This fact has not gone unnoticed by laboratories but many still struggle to achieve real flow and very often the final review and release of samples can prove to be somewhat of a bottle neck. The final review and release tasks should not be thought of as being autonomous or decoupled from the testing process and should be incorporated in the flowed process.

Optimising QC Lab Testing

Published by Gary Ryan in Lean Laboratory on October 9, 2018

QC test methods and the overall testing approach employed in laboratories can themselves be inherently wasteful. What steps should be taken to identify and eliminate such waste?

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.