Lean and Operational Excellence in Laboratories: EFESO Consulting

5 Sep 2018 – The pharmaceutical sector is very different from the short cycle manufacturing environment that Lean was originally developed for (i.e. mostly batch processes with relatively long cycle times).

This means that the significant wastes are also different and often harder to reduce or eliminate plus there is often significant volatility in short interval workloads. This rightly impacts how lean and operational excellence best practices are applied.

Many weaker Lean initiatives in Pharma are based almost totally on simple waste elimination and the application of easy to understand tools like 5S, Value Stream Mapping and Kaizen. While these methods will certainly yield some results, more significant and sustainable gains will be realised by also applying the deeper ‘Real Lean’ concepts of leveling, flow and standard work. This ‘Real Lean’ & WCOM approach includes innovative methodologies and solutions specific to the Pharmaceutical sector.

This committee meeting with Tom Reynolds, Vice President at EFESO Consulting, included many examples of real project outputs, where he introduced the ‘Real Lean’ concepts of Levelling, flow and Standard work which do not receive sufficient attention in most internal lean programmes. The combination of Real Lean and WCOM can deliver sustainable step change on a scale that generic Lean / Sigma techniques and simple loss reduction simply cannot achieve.

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