In just six months of applying Lean Six Sigma techniques, the State Police Crime Lab in Baton Rouge, La., USA, has dramatically reduced the turnaround time for the processing of evidence in criminal cases.

When evidence is brought into the lab, it must be screened, sampled, extracted, measured and quantified to create a profile. Before implementing Lean Six Sigma, this process often took months to complete. Today, the evidence is processed in a matter of hours. “Some days we were putting out 2 or 3 cases a day,” said Captain Layne Barnum. The lab’s goal now, he added, is to process 12 to 15 cases per day.

In the last three years, the backlog of pending cases, has shrunk from nearly 2,000 cases to 339. The goal is to eventually get to a point where there is no backlog at all.

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