Applying Lean Manufacturing Principles & Tools to Laboratory Operations 2009-01-1191
Lean manufacturing has greatly changed the way many companies produce products. Lessons learned in lean manufacturing are being applied to many non-manufacturing situations including design, logistics, and transactional processes. Such tools can be applied to metallurgical laboratories which support daily production or design and development. Four key principles of lean management and nine tools are presented with specific examples demonstrating how these lean tools can be successfully applied to a metallurgical laboratory operations. These principles and tools have been successfully implemented by the author in a captive metallurgical laboratory over the last year resulting in reduced cycle time, higher productivity, less variation in analysis methods allowing for direct comparison of data over time, and improved quality.