Incorporating Lean Principles into Pharmaceutical QC Laboratory Design – PDF Download

Manostaxx – Indusrial Management Consulting

The Vision: Laboratory areas should be specifically designed to support the key lean principles
of Leveling, Flow & Standard Work, 5S and visual management and to minimize ‘transport’ and
‘motion’ wastes and optimize space utilization.

Vision to Practice:

• Less internal walls and lab separations (to facilitate sharing of workloads, equipment or
resources) ‘Open space’ design is the baseline unless there is a specific need for a
controlled environment. Where separations are required for technical reasons the
preference is to use glass to allow visualization of the activities inside.

• Incorporating designated areas and wall space for visual management displays and
huddle meetings.

• Incorporating space for visual sample queues (based on the physical samples and/or test

• Use of Sample centric and / or Test centric cells and cellular bench arrangements (U,L H,
Comb & Spline).

• Central location of equipment that will be shared within a lab.

• Open or glass fronted cabinetry and shelving to promote good housekeeping and support
5S activities.

• Three point consumable storage system:
o One large central storage location for all QC/micro,
o Medium sized regional shared central storage close to users,
o Limited storage with less than one week storage at point(s) of use.

• Manager and supervisor office(s) located within each laboratory with limited glass
partitions for visibility and privacy of conversation.

• Data entry / review desks integrated into the test area to support ‘real time’ data entry and

• Space and equipment requirements calculated based on leveled demand rates.

• A move away from personal ownership of equipment, bench space or desks.

• Use of a limited number of shared ‘hot desks’ for non–test and project tasks. In addition to
routine testing workloads, labs usually have significant amounts of non–test and project
tasks. It is best practice not to mix routine testing and non-test or project tasks in the same
working day but also to rotate individuals between testing roles and non–test and project
tasks. The use of a limited number of hot desks re-enforces lean behaviors and provides
an appropriate space for the specific type of work analysts are involved in on any
particular day.

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