Lean QA

Bringing Flow to the Review and Release Process

Published by Gerard Doorley in Lean Laboratory, Lean QA 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.

The Trouble with Dedicated Resources: Leveling the Workload

Published by Adrian Fegan in Lean Laboratory, Lean QA, Lean R&D, Lean RA on January 17, 2019

Dedication of resources may seem like a good way to have “Subject Matter Experts” (SMEs) get through work quickly, but it gives rise to a costly productivity penalty. The antidote is to level the workload across the team (without compromising the important role of the SME!).

Three Ways our Batch Records set us up for Failure (and how to address them!)

Published by Adrian Fegan in Lean QA on October 9, 2018

One of the ways we can improve Batch Record Right First Time (RFT), and hence throughput time, is by improving the Batch Record design.  By reengineering the document we can reduce the opportunities to make errors.  Batch Record (BR) redesign is an important part of a Lean QA (Lean in Quality Assurance) project, because it not only addresses RFT and throughput time, but it also leads to a reduced review effort (and hence workload) for manufacturing and QA reviewers.

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.

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.

Deviation and CAPA Management – Milestone Management for a Robust, Transparent and Efficient Process

Published by Gerard Doorley in Lean QA on June 21, 2018

It is an inescapable fact that deviations will occur at various points along the production cycle. An organization’s discrete approach to the management of such deviations will define how laborious and complicated the ensuing investigation and correction process is.

Real Time Batch Record Review – Better Quality, More Speed, Less Cost … and Real Training!

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

Real Time Review™ of Batch Records can be quite a departure from the current review process in most Life Science companies.  It will typically mean migrating from the commonly found process in which you find multiple stages and levels of review, by several Manufacturing and QA personnel, to a quicker, more efficient review process.

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.