An Introduction to Lean at Eurofins
In this competitive industry, continuous improvement is the only way to get ahead:
For our customers, this means faster turnaround times with exceptional quality
For our staff, this means a safer, more comfortable and more efficient working environment
For the Planet, this means a reduction of energy consumption and waste to landfill
Lean, for those who might not be familiar, is a methodology derived from management practices developed within the Japanese manufacturing industry and Toyota in particular. Lean is a customer focused strategy used to improve the lab performance based on the expectation of our clients.
As it applies to a laboratory is all about streamlining, error-proofing and generally improving every aspect of the lab; from bottle dispatch to analysis and reporting. We aim at removing all the steps that don’t bring value added to our customers while maintaining a high level of quality. This process involves evaluating and measuring everything that goes into a specific operation, understanding where the value comes from, focusing on these key activities and eliminating any unnecessary steps or materials. Systematic problem solving with root cause analyses are in place to guarantee that count measures are taken to permanently solve the issues we face.
Our "Lean House" pictogram with Customer Satisfaction as the main focus
In a stressful, high throughput environment, it’s the little things that count. So in the roll out of Lean we directed our attention initially towards eliminating the small annoyances around the lab to gain some quick wins. This included things like;
In practice this looks like:
Process Mapping to understand and measure everything that goes into a specific operation
Movement Mapping and cupboard doors removed to comply with the lean philosophy of visual control
A well ordered stock room using the lean "Kanban" system and Just-In-Time stock control at workstations
Before and After: organised for optimum efficiency whilst ensuring increased analyst safety and comfort