Case Studies

Lean Labs

Lean Labs

Sector Pharmaceutical


This project focused on application of “Lean Labs” in a pharmaceutical industry with an aim to reduce lead time for sample analysis as well as improve productivity of QC/Analyst team.

Actions taken

Current state value stream analysis of the lab with an aim to eliminate delay contributors and create “flow”. Develop a future state that helped increase productivity and reduced lead times.


Significant improvement in process with fewer steps and simplified process flow. Helped save man-hours and reduce lead time as well as improve overall capacity of the lab.

Situation – deep dive

SSA recently delivered a “Lean Lab” project for a leading Pharmaceuticals company in India. The company’s Quality control lab was the focus of transformation journey. The overarching aim of this project was to minimise non-value adding activities, cut down lead time, create even flow, improve Sample/Analyst Ratio, and improve overall productivity of the QC/Analyst team.

Actions Taken – deep dive

  • Demand analysis of products and test classification based on Runners, Repeaters and Strangers.
  • Designing system for scheduling of incoming samples to analyse which analyst to be scheduled on which test and on which equipment.
  • Lean layout redesign was done in such a way that all the materials required for the tests were available nearby and transportation was reduced.
  • Kitting helped to improve productivity as entire set was provided beforehand to analyst to do the test.
  • 5S helped to improve efficiency by eliminating the waste of searching and transportation.
  • SMED helped to convert most of the internal activities to external activities thus reducing setup time of machines.
  • Inventory management was introduced to ensure zero stock out situation.

Results – deep dive

  • Significant improvement in scheduling and flow across the lab.
  • Reduction in overall lead time achieved.
  • Visual management helped make progress visual to all stakeholders and therefore help reduce errors and ambiguity.
  • Overall improvement in throughput and productivity of QC analyst team.