An Introduction to Lean at Eurofins
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An Introduction to Lean at Eurofins

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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

Lean House

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;

  • A general tidy up and reorganising of the lab. We managed to responsibly dispose of a huge amount of electronic equipment to Earthlink, scrap metal recyclers, as well as set aside unused glassware to donate to school science departments
  • The addition of smarter IT solutions to make simple things like data processing less manual time consuming
  • As well as some good old fashioned team building, giving the staff a chance to work with those from different departments, as well some theoretical tools to help them implement improvement ideas on their own

In practice this looks like:

Process Mapping to understand and measure everything that goes into a specific operation

 

Photo - Cupboard Doors

Movement Mapping and cupboard doors removed to comply with the lean philosophy of visual control

 

Photo - Lean Stock Room Photo - Workstation Stock

A well ordered stock room using the lean "Kanban" system and Just-In-Time stock control at workstations

 

Before After

Before and After: organised for optimum efficiency whilst ensuring increased analyst safety and comfort

The process of developing a Lean lab is a never ending one and we will constantly push to deliver an unparalleled service to our customers.

Please get in touch if you have any questions, feedback or would like to find out how this philosophy of continuous improvement can improve your laboratory service experience