Efficient, Optimised Laboratory Workflows with Lean Lab Guide
4 Apr 2019
A newly-published guide from METTLER TOLEDO aims to help labs cutdown on unnecessary workflow steps using lean management principles.
The ‘8 Waste’ Guide has been created to give lab operators and managers a concrete methodology for identifying time- and resource-wasting lab efforts, and in turn optimise routine workflows such as buffer preparation, batch release, and other common activities.
Labs often perform the same operations repeatedly, causing process steps to become familiar and difficult to assess critically. ‘8 Wastes’ were originally identified by Toyota’s chief engineer Taiichi Ohno within the context of the company’s manufacturing program. Applying the framework to labs of all types can improve lead times and process accuracy.
The guide describes what the 8 wastes are, according to the acronym ‘DOWNTIME’, which refers to: defects; over-production; waiting time; not engaging all employees; transportation; inventory; motion/distances; and extra-processing. It goes on to provide examples of where such wastes typically occur in a laboratory environment, and describe applicable guidelines for assessing workflows using common lab equipment.