Lean waste assessment in a laboratory for training chemical analysts for the pharmaceutical industry

Cláudia C. E. Muiambo, Isabel M. João, Helena V. G. Navas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to make a lean assessment of a chemical analyst training laboratory in a higher education institution and identify the main types of waste on a daily basis and understand the lean maturity of the laboratory and establish priority areas of intervention to make the laboratory leanest. Design/methodology/approach: A single descriptive case study methodology was used to carry out the lean laboratory evaluation. The lean manufacturing waste terminology was adapted to a lean analytical laboratory environment, and a lean waste assessment step-by-step procedure was developed to reach the study goal. Findings: Three types of waste (i.e. transport, waiting and defects) were the main contributors of the problem. The Pareto analysis results showed that 37.5% of the different types of waste contributed to almost 51.4% of the problems. The case study allowed on diagnosing wastes, understanding the lean maturity in a teaching laboratory setting and priority areas of intervention Practical implications: Some data collection methods were used, and tools were developed to answer the research questions. A waste measurement instrument was created to evaluate lean waste in a chemical analytical laboratory, and a lean classification scheme was built to understand the lean maturity of the laboratory. The lessons learnt of the lean assessment in a teaching laboratory and the developed tools will be helpful for future research and for practitioners in a teaching chemical analytical laboratory setting. Originality/value: The number of lean assessment studies in teaching laboratories is not very significant, and this work contributes to overcome this gap illustrating the lean waste assessment foundation with a step-by-step procedure and tools used in a teaching laboratory to perform a lean assessment and identify opportunities for improvement. A generic roadmap to lean laboratory waste assessment and continuous improvement is proposed with the key elements to take into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal Of Lean Six Sigma
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 2021


  • Case study
  • Laboratory waste
  • Lean
  • Lean tools
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Sustainability


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