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The Lean Lab – Part 1: Minimising Motion

The Lean Lab Principles is a management and organisational approach that focuses on delivering results efficiently in terms of cost, time and use of resources.

How the laboratory is organised plays a large role in its efficiency. Using a process such as a Spaghetti Diagram can visually show wasteful and needless activities to reduce unnecessary motion.

The process commences by obtaining an up-to-date floor plan of the laboratory which is used to track the average movements of lab personnel by day or hour. These movements are drawn onto the floor plan to create the Spaghetti Diagram which will begin to look like the example below.

First, estimate the total distance walked in metres/day to calculate the total number of metres walked/year. Next, create a new proposed layout that would reduce this wastage and map this movement onto the new layout. It is beneficial to involve the team in this proposed layout.

Minimising motion could involve simple changes – for example duplicating items such as bins, stock locations, copiers, sinks, and balance benches.

Once you have finalised the new lean layout, convert this time saving into cost savings. Consider a presentation to qualify your proposal showing the existing layout and the proposed layout.

Highlight all costs of the project and then compare with time savings. To convert your time saving to a dollar amount, use the formula below:

(Time Saved (hrs) x Number of working days (per year)) x Average wage (per Hr) = Pounds Saved per Year

e.g. (4 x 261) x 25 = £26,100 savings per year


15 October 2020


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