How lean is your QC lab? Can you easily cope with today's complexity and volatile demand? More and more QC labs are being asked to constantly increase analyst and asset utilisation, improve first-right-time and decrease lead times. With a resource planning tool, you create optimal flow of the QC lab activities. Learn how to constantly balance demand and capacity in six simple steps
Demand comes from multiple sources. You should consolidate the most important sources of demand for your QC lab, such as lot release and product stability testing, deviation and out-of-spec investigations, method validations and transfers, instrument and facility qualifications or calibrations, regulatory activities, reagent and standards management, and much more. These are the most common ways of consolidating data:
Lab supervisors also need to manage the competences and the availability of analysts and technicians. As the team manager, you have to keep track to swiftly exchange resources in periods of peak demand, and still oversee it all. You need to be able to:
In periods of peak demand, QC labs exchange technicians. This is common practice between release teams for instance, where the HPLC certified often jumps in with different teams. It is important not to lose focus, to guarantee the timely delivery of all the work.
While QC labs perform tests for different demand channels, modeling test methods to standardise work will help you to focus on the improvements only, and not on sub-optimisations. It starts with the definition of:
Defining standardised work is a common approach in Lean Six Sigma projects, as a result of value-stream mapping.
After the demand and capacity planning and services standardisation work has been completed, you calculate your resource requirements. How easily can you shape endless reports to get answers to these type of questions?
Common practice in QC labs are the “What if?” questions that help you discover new possible issues that might occur, and compare different solutions before deciding upon the best option. We discovered a way to play around and calculate the return on investment on scenario questions such as:
Last, but not least, is making sure things get done now that the planning has been completed. Providing teams with a comprehensive task list and tracking the work progress is what makes the difference. It will help you feed the performance dashboard with KPIs such as adherence to plan, throughput and foresight.
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