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Chemistry Laboratory Problem

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  • #51114

    Molly
    Participant

    I am trying to apply six sigma to our chemistry lab, with the focus being mainly on wet chemistry testing turn around time reduction. Due to the variety of tests performed on the raw materials we get, I’m finding it challenging to define a single process for the area. Some tests are performed more rarely than others and require a variety of reagents and instruments. Also, the times on these tests vary from 1 minute to 1+ day. Has anyone tackled something similar before?

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    #176729

    Chris Seider
    Participant

    Consider doing a pareto analysis on your total time spent on categories of testing.  Find the top usage of lab testing times and focus on reducing that average or median of the testing times…… Consider making those category times a Key Process Indicator for your lab and use as part of your control plans.

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    #176771

    Joe Brennan
    Participant

    Hi Molly.
    I supervised a testing lab in support of new product development at a major photochemical company. We had a similar demand where any test could be requested without any notice to let us prepare our plans.We split the workload plans into a group of common tests and the remaining unique (and usually more complex) tests.We developed a “kit” of all reagents required for the unique group of tests and made the kit complete with work instructions and reporting forms.These kits were then pulled from inventory when a sample and request was made and the lab tech was assigned to that “mini-project” and then work undisturbed until they complete the sample.This let us plan the work loads, advance an much of the pre-work as we could and then gave them time to execute the plan and report results to the customer.Some Lab tech enjoyed that type of “special project” work while others preferred the routine.Most of the “Special” tests were wet chemical methods and we found the self-made kits worked to reduce the time searching for exotic reagents and special tools required. We used the SMED principles of external and internal time to guide the efforts.I hope that helps your efforts.

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    #176774

    Houston Lean Six Sigma
    Participant

    Molly,
    Using Lean concepts considering all work conducted within the lab may allow a better optimization path.  Not knowing your improvement scope, goals, or timeline it is hard to come up with hard and fast advice…  however…  focus on the 8 manufacturing and 7 office wastes… information flow maps…  applying Value Adding & Non-Value Adding principles, constructing Spaghetti and/or handoff maps – and then optimizing using a multi-generation approach… applying SMED (as mentioned in an earlier post)… and utilizing Lead Time Reduction or ADelta-T could all yield different levels of optimization.  In addition, consider creating work cell to drive one-piece flow…   using supermarkets and kanban to manage reagents and supplies, etc, etc.  Hope this helps rather than hinders –  

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    #176807

    Cyberchief
    Participant

    I have just finished a Lean Ssix Sigma case study in a Federal forensic laboratory. I am planning to submit for publication to the iSixSigma Magazine in November 2008.
    I have used Six Sigma statistical analysis to help identify potential improvements and have used most of the Lean tools to implement changes in the testing laboratory.  I have done successfully what Houston -Lean Six Sigma has done (previous post on your request)! Cell design was the answer for analysis. It would have been niced to chat with the Houston-Lean Six Sigma fellow to exchange ideas!
     

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    #177299

    Molly
    Participant

    Those were some great suggestions posted. Has anyone had experience in FIFO working well with samples with
    shorter turn around times mixed in with samples with long turn
    around times for wet chemistry? Prioritization of samples is proving to
    be difficult.

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Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

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