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    Lean in Laboratories

    Whether in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, chemicals, or food, laboratories are key in the overall capability to deliver products or services to your customers.

    Lean in Laboratories

    Accelerate and Improve Laboratory Response

    Laboratories contribute to the value stream at different process stages:

    • At the early stage, by controlling the quality of raw materials, through statistical or thorough inspection to ensure that 100% of incoming product meets the established quality level.
    • During the production process, to validate product quality at production start-up or at specific stages of the process.
    • At the end of the production process to conduct the necessary controls on finished products so that QA can release the production batches.

    Because laboratories are a vital link in the value chain it is important to find ways to improve capacity and utilization, reduce lead-times and increase reliability. Applying operational excellence techniques provides useful ways to address these challenges.

    infographic helpful hints for quality control labs

    click to enlarge

    Operational Excellence in Laboratories Results in Drastic Improvement

    You can apply all the Lean principles in a laboratory to improve flow and reduce waste.

    • Implementation of 5s will create a well-organized workplace and eliminate wastes such as; search time, excessive waiting, material/consumable stockouts, ergonomic issues, etc.
    • Kata coaching and problem-solving will empower technicians and guide team activities.
    • Establishing work standards will ensure everyone understands the analysis activities, follows the established protocols, and implements equipment maintenance activities.
    • Implementation of SMED to reduce set-up times will make better use of available time (man and machine time) to conduct analysis and validate results.
    • Creating a structured planning and scheduling process will ensure on-time delivery.
    • Implementing visual management will communicate standards, daily demand, activity sequencing, and progress to plan.
    • Establishing a performance management process will allow you to manage and measure progress and help develop countermeasures.

    Info Graphic - 5 Helpful Hints for Lean R&D/Industrial Labs

    click to enlarge

    Implementation of Lean techniques in laboratories brings dramatic results: 

    • 40%-50% reductions in changeover time
    • Lead time reductions ranging from 50% to 90% depending on the type of analysis and service
    • Productivity improvements from 30%-50%, allowing for cross-training and redeployment of staff
    • Significant reduction in the costs of supplies as a result of visual inventory management

    What Lean Lab Clients Are Saying

    • “I wanted to let you know that after 7 years of work, we have been awarded the Shingo Prize, the real one. We are happy to have achieved this very ambitious goal and to be the first French site to have it and only the second pharma site in the world. A great adventure! We will accept the prize in April in Florida. Thank you again for your contribution over the years 2013-2016 which made it possible for us to build solid fundamentals in Visual Management and Lean Lab.” -A.B., Global Manufacturing Performance Senior Director TechOps Division, Ipsen Pharmaceutical Company
    • “We have been able to reach all our targets in 2019, and this is mostly due to the Lean Lab program which has made us capable of guaranteeing 24hr response time to our customers.” Laurent G., Managing Director – Synlab Analytics & Services
    • “It (Lean Labs) is so great. Everything has changed.” Sophie S., Quality Director – Aoste
    • “Through Lean Labs, I have become another person, and a real manager.” Francoise A., Laboratory Manager – Aoste

    Read more about how Lean implementation improves Lab operation in our White Paper “Leaning the Quality Control Laboratory”

    Operational excellence in laboratories (Lean Lab) means engaging technicians in continuous improvement, generating a shared vision of excellence, and defining new performance standards.

    If you are interested in improving your lab performance we can help. Contact us and let us convert your lab into a Lean Lab capable of rapidly delivering qualitative results to operations, QA and the supply chain for standard production batches and the analytical tests required for the development of new products.

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