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How Can We Begin A Laboratory Efficiency Project and What is Process Mapping?
In theory, there can be numerous ways to improve laboratory efficiency. The laboratory may purchase a laboratory management information system (LIMS,) increase automation, add resources or streamline workflow to name a few. Regardless of the ultimate strategies for improving laboratory efficiency, each laboratory efficiency project should follow a project plan and have the full support from senior leadership.
What types of problems can performance improvement methodologies solve:
· Improving turn-around-time(TAT), profitability, and customer satisfaction.
· Expanding capacity without additional capital.
· Reducing inventory and working capital needs.
· Reducing time and costs associated with delivering products and services.
How can PBSI assist your firm with performance improvement initiatives:
improvement team includes a Certified Master
Black Belt, a Six Sigma Black Belt, a PMP
Certified Project Manager and forensic experts
averaging two decades of hands on forensic
laboratory management and practice in some of
the country's leading forensic laboratories.
Our experience and knowledge of six
sigma is unparalleled in the industry and we
believe we are uniquely qualified to assist
our clients with laboratory efficiency
PBSI's performance improvement team includes a Certified Master Black Belt, a Six Sigma Black Belt, a PMP Certified Project Manager and forensic experts averaging two decades of hands on forensic laboratory management and practice in some of the country's leading forensic laboratories. Our experience and knowledge of six sigma is unparalleled in the industry and we believe we are uniquely qualified to assist our clients with laboratory efficiency projects. We can:
· Can you assess and quantify your organization's current process improvement opportunities.
· Can help you deploy or re-energize a new process improvement program.
· Can help you prepare your organization for change.
· Can provide training and mentorship using six sigma and other performance improvement tools.
· Can help you select and implement performance improvement software and technologies.
What types of performance improvement methodologies and tools are used by PBSI?
PBSI uses a number of methodologies and tools including Project Management, Change Management, Process Mapping and Lean Six Sigma.
Change management – if your culture and organization lacks senior management support for performance improvement initiatives or does not understand why change is necessary, the outcome of the effort will fail. PBSI can provide training and mentorship in accelerating change within the organization.
Process Mapping - Process mapping is an important tool in a performance improvement project, however it is just one of many Six Sigma and Lean tools that should be used during the improvement project. Process mapping allows the organization to create a visual representation of the individual activities in a process. One the map has been created, PBSI recommends that activity metrics should be identified and associated with the individual activities to provide modeling capabilities. There are a number of software applications that can assist your organization in this step.
Lean Six Sigma - PBSI recommends the use of the six sigma DMAIC methodology combined with lean strategies. The DMAIC methodology stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.
The Six Sigma methodology, developed in 1986 by Motorola, is a company-wide technique to achieve breakthroughs in productivity gains, PPM reduction, and in-cycle time reduction. Motorola's creation of the original formula led them to unprecedented growth, profitability, and recognition with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1999.
Six Sigma provides businesses with the tools to improve the sigma capability of their processes - leading to defect reduction and vast improvement in profits. Companies with an effective infrastructure that remains consistent with the classic Six Sigma system realize dramatic income improvements - often shortly after implementation. Six Sigma has been successfully used in clinical laboratory settings for over a decade and is absolutely appropriate for forensic laboratory projects.
By implementing Six Sigma wisely on carefully selected projects, companies will benefit from:
Lets see what activities are in each phase.
DEFINE - In this phase, team members identify and/or validate their improvement project, illustrate their business processes, define customer requirements and prepare themselves to be an effective project participant. Tools covered: team charters, SIPOC, process mapping, (as we define the current state of the process), Kano Analysis and VOICE of the customer, team dynamics. A key document developed in this phase is the project charter. The project charter defines the scope (what area of the laboratory we hope to improve) the goals and objectives, the time frame, the project budget and the project manager and his/her team that will complete the project. The project charter is absolutely essential and should be reviewed and approved by senior leadership and the project stakeholder or champion. Without support from leadership, the project will fail. Once the project charter has been signed and the team assembled, the project manager will develop a project plan. The project plan includes several inter-related plans for schedule, budget, resource management, vendor management ,communication management, change management, risk management and more. The size and the complexity of the project plan should be dictated by the size and the complexity of the project. PBSI recommends using the PMBOK project methodology from the Project Management Institute
MEASURE - During the measure phase, the team employs tools to determine critical measures necessary to satisfy customer requirements and develop a measurement plan to document process performance. Some of the tools used include statistics, sampling, control charts, calculating six sigma and simple data presentation.
ANALYZE - In the analyze phase the team works to analyze the performance data to further refine the opportunity for improvement. Common tools are Pareto analysis, determining root causes, data stratification, brainstorming, historical data, and problem solving techniques.
IMPROVE - With improvement, the project team and generates creative solutions that eliminate the root cause of customer defects or performance issues. Solutions might include automation, adding resources, developing new processes or purchasing new information systems. Regardless of the solutions identified it is important that management support the selection and implementation of the solutions and that the attempt to implement solutions be given the appropriate budget and time. During this phase the team will focus on various methods of solution identification including developing the Future State Process Map, prioritization, and implementation and learn how to gain approval for the solution and plan for impacts the changes will have on the organization. It is also very important to address change management during this phase.
CONTROL- In the final phase of the project the team will disseminate lessons learned, identify replication and standardization opportunities, and develop a process monitoring and management plans to assure new process performance is sustained. This will usually require additional project planning, auditing and compliance.
LEAN METHODS - Focusing on rapid reduction of process wastes and improving process flows. Some of the lean tools that are used include 5S, 7 Wastes, Flow, Pull, Value Stream Mapping, and Kanban.
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