Incorporating Lean Principles into Pharmaceutical QC Laboratory Design

Industrial Management Consulting
Industrial Management Consulting

Incorporating Lean Principles into Pharmaceutical QC Laboratory Design: building design influencing laboratory behaviours and effectiveness.

Lean principles were applied in both older legacy facilities and newer state-of-the art facilities.
Throughout the Lean Lab program in NV&D it was clear that laboratory design and layout has a
strong influence on processes, behaviors and communications. Some designs proactively
support lean practices including flow, visual management, standard work and excellence in
workplace organization. By contrast, other laboratory designs can require extra time and resource
(waste, discourage communication and even impede work flow through the laboratory).
Based on our observations, and with the aim of improving future laboratory design, we developed
a comprehensive set of laboratory layout and design guidelines that actively support lean
principles and best practices in laboratory operation.

These guidelines were reviewed and refined at an intensive two day workshop on lean laboratory
design which included over a dozen participants representing Novartis stakeholders from several
different divisions and invited industry representatives. The workshop included submissions and
presentations by Novartis participants representing laboratory management, QC analysts and
engineers and from recognized industry leaders in lab design and in the application of Lean in
laboratory environments. The workshop incorporated breakout and working sessions to develop
Lean Lab design guidelines and a re-design exercise for a planned new Novartis laboratory
facility (a case study).

This paper presents the main themes and outputs of the workshop including: A Lean vision for
QC environments, analyst ‘voice of the customer’ feedback on existing designs, interpretation of
Lean design by three major design-architect companies, Lean design recommendations and
guidelines for achieving the Lean vision and workshop feedback.

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