What is Lean Lab?

Lean Manufacturing principles can be applied to any function of pharmaceuticals. A significant opportunity for cost savings in the Quality function in Pharmaceuticals. Lean is about “the complete and thorough elimination of wasteful practices”.

Lean Lab is systematic approach on testing products and materials to deliver results in the most efficient way in terms of cost and speed.  Lean lab is a management process which is derived from Lean Manufacturing methodology. Lean Labs deployment involves a management approach of studying the current state value stream through VSM mapping. The aim of Lean Lab is to use less effort, less time and fewer resources to test incoming samples. Lean laboratory programs are generally associated with Pharmaceuticals, FMCG, Food, Beverage and Life organisations.

Lean lab gap analysis start with VSM and Gemba walk in order to know the variations in the process. Once we completed Lean Lab Gap analysis then a future map is created which will be the to-be process that will be free from all the 8 waste (Defect, Overproduction, waiting, non-utilization of resources, transportation, motion, extra processing and more Inventory). We have to Take Kaizen & OE projects for Variation and 8 waste in the Process. This exercise helps to increase the efficiency and reduce incidence.

Lean Laboratory is a management and organization approach derived from the principles of Lean Manufacturing – essentially, process optimization driven. A lean laboratory is one which is focused on delivering results in the most efficient way, in terms of cost and/or speed, with the most efficient use of resources

Lean Lab principles, a new way of working that would:

  • Minimize non-value added activities
  • Reduce throughput time
  • Reduce unit costs
  • Align QC and manufacturing by focusing on information and material flow
  • Dedicate resources to create standard work and define standard roles for analysts
  • Dedicate resources to create standard work and define standard roles for analysts
  • Identify key performance indicators to support daily analyst performance reviews

How to find variation and 8 types of waste in Lab?

For finding variation and waste, the best tool we are using is VSM (Value stream mapping) ,it help to identify waste in lab process. Value stream mapping can be applied to both the product and customer delivery flows. Product flow focuses on steps required to optimize product delivery and completion. We can do VSM by step by step process-

  1. Document the current process
    1. Identify and list every step in the process.
    1. Identify customer value.
    1. Define how you want to see the perfect process
    1. Identify those gaps of the current process
    1. Identify major initiatives to reduce or eliminate waste. We will take Kaizen or Continual improvement projects as initiative to eliminate waste

What are benefits of Lean Lab implementation?

There is tremendous benefit to implement Lean Lab approach for any lab, some are these-

  • well defined, structured and controlled laboratory processes
  • lab capacity and resourcing requirements understanding
  • Reduced lead-times and cycle time
  • Awareness of takt time by all employees
  • More consistent and predictable laboratory performance
  • Productivity enhancement and efficiency
  • Reduced costs
  • Work In Process (WIP) reduction
  • Improved Right First Time (RFT)
  • Empowerment & motivated employees
  • Customer satisfaction

Goals of lean in lab are the same as lean in Manufacturing or anywhere else—i.e. improving performance via the introduction of flow and the elimination of waste. But, labs and batch disposition processes are not the same as manufacturing, so we have to think about our Lean solutions differently.

How Visual Workplace help in Lean Lab Process

Objective of a visual Lean lab is to eliminate information deficits and minimize wastage for time associated with questioning, asking, searching or waiting for resources.

Visual workplace using labels, colours and signs within the lab. A visual lean lab ensures that the improvements are easily understood and clearly visible to all the employees.

Visual Lean management let us assess a designated workspace immediately and make the absence of any item obvious. A visual planning board can be used to allocate incoming assays in a standardized way to a levelled lab schedule. That provides a way to manage the workload visually.

Through Visual board staff can see lab capacity, can see the work in process and work to be done, and can see whether they are working as per lab and customer demand.

Lean Lab—Quick Changeover

The principles of reducing changeover time in manufacturing operations can be applied directly to lab operations to improve turnaround times. Using 5S principles and establishing changeover kits can help enormously.

After applying Lean Lab we can get results like below mentioned points-

 Reduction in Throughput time by 30-40 %

 The percentage of time that personnel spend in value-adding activities climbed by 12-15%

 The percentage of right-first-time testing increased by 5-8 %

 Cost reduction by 10-20%

Lean Lab implementation can answer various questions like-

What does lean process stand for?

How will you prepare any lean in laboratory?

How do you explain lean?

Is VSM lean or Six Sigma?

what is lean laboratory in pharmaceutical?

Can Lean Strategy to Improve Efficiency In Pharmaceutical QC Labs

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