Laboratory Wastes - 8 Typical Wastes in the Laboratory

The 8 Typical Wastes in the Lab


How to Increase Lab Efficiency

Typical wastes in the laboratory.
Typical wastes in the laboratory.

'Lean Laboratory' aims to optimize productivity and efficiency, whilst eliminating any steps that do not add value. That's why one aspect of 'Lean Laboratory' is the systematic elimination of laboratory wastes. The principle is to identify and then reduce or eliminate the time-wasting or unnecessary steps, in order to improve the efficiency and simplify the overall process.

'Lean Management' describes 8 types of laboratory wastes that exist in a business – independent of the industry – which do not add any value for the customer.  

These 8 laboratory wastes, often described as DOWNTIME, are:

  1. Defects
  2. Over-production
  3. Waiting time
  4. Not engaging all employees
  5. Transportation
  6. Inventory
  7. Motion and
  8. Extra processing. 

The guide "The Typical 8 Wastes in the Lab and How to Minimize Them" is a useful tool for lab managers. It explains what the 8 laboratory wastes are, but more importantly how to identify and eliminate these typical inefficiencies. Examples provided are based on operations using a range of benchtop laboratory equipment such as weighing, moisture analysis, titration, pH measurement, thermal analysis, etc.

Download the guide and get:

  • An explanation of the 8 Wastes of Lean Management;
  • Examples of where each of these wastes occur in a typical laboratory;
  • Recommendations for reducing or eliminating waste during typical laboratory operations  

Download your free guide and start eliminating unnecessary steps and time-wasters in your lab today!

One of  the 8 wastes is waiting time. See below how you can reduce it.

Waiting time

Stagnating or idle processes, missing materials, defective or unsuitable resources, can all tie up resources which cannot be used during this waiting time. for the LabWeighing ExampleMoisture Analysis Example
  • Waiting time if material is out-of-stock or not ordered in time
  • If lab instruments are defective or blocked (maintenance, calibration pending or defective)
  • Blocked lab facility
  • By running less critical procedures
  • By changing the settings of a device or instrument
  • Bench space in the lab is limited and an optimized weighing location is often difficult to find. Lab staff are walking around, the lab door is often used, air conditioning systems are not ideal. The balance is therefore often unstable with a long settling time
  • Repeatability of moisture results is seriously impaired by drafts, windows and air-conditioning units. Second measurements are often necessary for this reason. Moisture methods have not been optimized and take too long (>15 minutes)
Possible improvements
  • Implement Just-in-Time (JIT) principles
  • Kanban
  • Kaizen / CIP
  • Implement innovations and new technologies which reduce waiting times
  • Use balances with SmartPan or SmartGrid to weigh under difficult environmental conditions
  • Proper location of the moisture analyzer is critical. Often overlooked by lab managers, the halogen moisture analyzer should be located carefully in the lab

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