Importance of a Lean Laboratory

How a visual workplace can improve a laboratory’s efficiency by 50% Healthcare companies expend a great deal of resources, time and money in the laboratory to test their products’ quality assurance. A lean laboratory focuses on testing products and materials to deliver results in the most efficient way, helping to reduce cost and improve speed. The aim is to use less effort, time and resources to test incoming samples, so as to improve measurable performance and reduce costs - to deliver the most efficient and least wasteful process.

The visual workplace is a key lean concept that emphasizes putting critical information at the point of use. Many healthcare companies are surprised to learn that only a fraction of their activities actually add value for their customers, with 50% or more of a laboratory’s activities considered waste!

Visuals Critical To Eliminating Waste

The goal of a visual workplace in lean laboratories is always focused on improving measurable performance and reducing costs. A primary cause of waste is information deficits – employees simply lack the knowledge they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. This leads employees to waste valuable time and motion searching, waiting, retrieving, reworking or just plain giving up! A visual workplace eliminates questions, generating significant improvements in productivity, quality, customer satisfaction, safety, and much more.

Here are some examples of how visuals can eliminate wasting efficiency and time in a lean laboratory:

Visual order

Using location identifiers such as labels and tags to clearly identify storage place for every piece of laboratory equipment. For larger movable equipment, mark their return locations with floor marking tape

Visual standards

Display operating procedures and maintenance instructions using labels and tags at the point of use to ensure that staff follow safe and efficient practices consistently

Visual equipment

Put in place operator control labels, gauge indicators and hazard warning labels to ensure correct equipment usage and quickly detect operating abnormalities

Inventory control

Use replenishment indicators, inventory labels, equipment ID to clearly identify flow of samples through laboratory

Visual displays

Scoreboards, slogan banners, kaizen improvement displays can inform staff of key initiatives, track performance and recognize their achievements

Visual safety

Equipment hazard labels, chemical labels, and warning signs ensure hazards are clearly identified and provide information on how to work safely

Visual workplace helps achieve long-term improvements

The kaizen-style of management strives on making continuous improvements on work practices, and a visual workplace helps to ensure employees are aware of the constantly upgraded work processes and flow in a lean laboratory. The use of visuals also helps to ensure that the new standards remain clearly visible, readily understood, and consistently adhered to by all your employees in the long run. The visual workplace is simple to implement, and goes a long way to achieve a successful lean laboratory with improved efficiency up to 50%!


The Author: Brady Corporation Asia Pte Ltd For more information, please contact us at Tel: (65) 6477 777 or

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