What is Lean?
Lean is typically associated with waste minimization, continuous improvement and respect for people. All of these measures contribute to more productive and efficient processes. Lean manufacturing is modelled on the Toyota Production System (TPS).
A leaner laboratory can make significant improvement in routine testing and analyses. Lean is already widely adopted to the manufacturing industry where many processes have benefited from continuous improvement projects. The laboratory is no exception! Whether it’s a clinical, diagnostic, analytical, quality control or microbiology lab, a lean lab will result in:
- Enhanced productivity
- Reduced waste (muda)
- Increased throughput
- Faster turnaround times (TAT)
- Significant cost reductions!
- Better employee morale
5 Lean Principles
- Value: define what is of value to the customer
- Value Stream: identify the value stream, eliminate waste
- Flow: Create a constant flow
- Pull: Produce on demand
- Perfection: Continuous improvement
Continuous Improvement - Kaizen
By adopting a Lean culture, laboratory processes can be improved significantly. Identifying and eliminating waste can really reduce costs. When the lab and processes are optimized in the Lean Six Sigma way, lab life is made a lot simpler and more productive. The Lean culture has a strong emphasis on respect for people – continuous improvement relies on this attribute. The lean culture values the process owners - i.e. lab technicians, scientists, supervisors etc. and has a policy of empowerment, each individual is responsible and engaged in a team effort to ensure continuous improvement or Kaizen. A lean lab should be an enhanced and more simplified productive environment with the added advantage of boosting morale.