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Quick Glance Case Study: Increase Capacity, Reduce Resource Effort

“The Lean review enabled the team to increase the capacity of data sets, whilst reducing their hands-on resource effort” 

After completing a ChangeWise Lean Practitioner training course, one candidate submitted the following work-place project to gain their qualification to LCS Level 1c.

The Business Challenge

In 2018 and 2019, our laboratory had 2 chemical testing appliances installed – this was a new process for the company.

To agree on the process for the new appliances, we consulted with various other companies and built a model around what had worked for them. However, the process and working space has not been fully optimised for the benefit of the method.

Whilst the method was not regulatory, it was something that our organisation had a strong desire to achieve in order to deepen our sector knowledge, and ultimately improve our service and product. However, as a result of existing funding, work was completed on an adhoc basis, as and when time was available. This meant that we were not generating the value required, as the nature of the results meant that the machines are most beneficial when you generate continuous data sets of samples over a prolonged period of time.

We agreed that a lean review was required to increase the capacity of data sets, whilst reducing the hands-on resource effort.

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Key people involved from client site

A strategy group including members of Senior Leadership Team, laboratory Team and Chemical Specialists were involved in the various elements of solution delivery.

Lean Methodology Employed

DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analise, Improve, Control)

Various Lean methodologies were used, including; current state mapping, Kano model, root cause analysis, ease vs impact matrix, implementation plan, silent brainstorm, movement map.

Current State Finding and Issues

The team completed process mapping to better understand the individual processes for system set-up and sample processing. We were able to determine:

  • How many samples we would need to process to create useful data.
  • Overall time frame for completing a full set of samples.
  • How much work would be possible if we had a dedicated resource (4 complete runs over a period of 9 hours).

Using the Kano Model, we determined the needs, wants, delighters and enragers that existed in the current state; it became clear that the existing location was not optimised for the process and was acting as an enrager. Data gathered from the current state mapping also revealed that the movement of analysts and timings for the more labour-intensive process steps was causing waste and dissatisfaction.

With this information, the team analysed the problems and their root causes using a fish bone diagram. This highlighted three components as the root cause:

  • Equipment location; not located where the analysis takes place
  • Shared equipment; this means that travel is required for different parts of the process
  • Equipment use; existing tools had the potential to cause a bottleneck

Future State Solutions, Benefits & Outcomes

To initiate future state thinking, the team took part in a silent brainstorm that focused on the three root causes. This provided a wealth of information for the work undertaken, and produced some really interesting ideas which we plotted on an Ease v Impact matrix to agree which solutions would take priority:

  • Replacement of certain tools
  • Dedicated equipment
  • Improved equipment location

Various outputs were created to help us deliver the solutions:

  • An implementation plan based on the agreed prioritised solutions
  • Updated movement map to reduce travel time required
  • Equipment moved to a central location where the processing would take place
  • Out of use equipment to be re-purposed
  • Standard Operating Procedure for the end to end process
  • Standard training for anyone who would be involved in the process

Photo by Ricardo Arce on Unsplash

In Summary

With the new process now in place, there have been no missed samples reported and the process is running smoothly. This means that the Lean review has enabled us to meet our goal of increasing capacity whilst reducing our hands-on resource effort…….all achieved without additional funding.

Interested in looking at how Lean can help to increase capacity and throughput whilst reducing resource effort? Contact us at info@changewise.co.uk and let’s talk about how we can help.

ChangeWise believes employee engagement is the foundation for successful Change. Training and coaching your people to use simple continuous improvement techniques will enable your organisation to continuously adapt and stay ahead in a constantly changing and challenging environment. 

For updates and interesting Lean Change insights, connect with us on LinkedIn. 

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