Implementation of Lean Thinking in the Diagnostic Laboratory


This paper explores implementation of lean thinking in the diagnostic laboratory and its credibility. It is a concept, which ensures minimal Wastage and advance maximization of resources, which is an imperative mission to every institution. Consequently, it seeks to ensure value addition in customer overhaul delivery and quality products, which is a key element in laboratory operations. The paper stresses the need to apply effective laboratory management techniques, which are technologically oriented and coordinated with high standard of professionalism that restores dignity into this field of operation.

Consequently, the paper highlights major standard shifts needed to ensure effective operations and quality service delivery in the laboratory operation. This has indicated can be attained through adequate training of laboratory staff members, adoption of technological enabled systems to enhance effectiveness and detailed application, of sensitization programs on quality matters. Variably, the paper also explores the urge to espouse new technology in its operations by ensuring timely replacement of outdated equipment to enhance quality service delivery.

These fundamentals are significant in fathoming the significance of executing lean thinking concept in this industry as it seeks to advance sanity levels in the laboratory sector. In addition major effects of this concept is also discussed where increased profits, operation, minimal wastage and customer approval is extensively identified as its major benefits. Therefore, this concept is an ideal concept, which should be adopted by laboratory agencies and institutions to advance effective operations and customer satisfaction.


Lean thinking is a phenomenon, which advocates for minimal wastage of capital and maximization of the value of customers in an organization. Although the ideology of lean thinking has its origins in motor vehicle manufacturing, it can be also well adopted in many organizations for example diagnostic laboratories. If properly implemented, the dogma promises organizations immediate positive results and quality work.

This paper provides an explication of lean thinking in diagnostic laboratory (Bell 50). Further, the paper offers suggestions on the necessary changes that need to be made in contemporary running of diagnostic laboratories. The suggestions are based on observable facts in laboratory operations including setbacks that arise when laboratories fail to implement lean thinking. Consequently, it analyzes the effects that can be visualized in laboratories with the implementation of the lean principles of management.

Necessary Paradigm shifts in current running of laboratories

The laboratories need to incorporate contemporary technological advancements that will enhance the efficiency of services. Evidently, numerous laboratories have not included valuable procedures that can improve their output. Currently researchers have created robotics that can assist scientists to set up and analyze experiments within significantly short periods (Ghosh 45). The involvement of the robotics lessens the amount of problems with the procedures that may be done improperly on the reason of human faults and distractions. This can reduce the costs of hiring technicians and have a reflexive influence on how to conduct experiments.

In addition, including software programs will facilitate the scientists’ analysis of the experiments in a more elaborated manner. There are programs that the technicians can utilize to view their progress on ongoing tests. According to National Research Council (U.S.) of 2009, this enhancement of the laboratory equipment will be able to assess the different stages of a patient’s life and assist the physicians to urgently attend to their patients. This will be an enormous breakthrough for the medical department of hospitals universally.

Sensitizing the employees through attendance of seminars and conferences

This would be a strategy to borrow and share new ideas that would help to improve the standards of laboratory for the better. Precautionary principle is to be applied to ensure that minimal injuries are experienced. Harm will be reduced in laboratories and free working conditions without stress will be encouraged. The idea of conferences puts people together to share experiences that others have not experienced, and, thus, boosts productivity output. People have different laboratory experiences and all of them put together would form a better solution to the problems experienced in the laboratories (Quest diagnostics 43).

The Laboratory workforce should be trained on the efficient methods of conducting research. This involves training of the staff to conduct research or tests that meets the present requirements. Research that comprises of present epidemics anomalies can hugely benefit the community. Adequate training may require the utilization of experts or employment of consultancy services to advise the management on the best options.This will provide solutions to numerous troubles that the staff and their profession involves

Laboratories can also devise approaches through which they can acquire additional funds other than the funding of the government of their institutions. They can create programs through which their employees will contribute and empower the other workmates to have a feeling of belonging and, thus, improve the productivity of the employees. Such a policy can assist the laboratory to conduct research in opportune time and have additional resources to supplement the funds that were disbursed (Graban 69)

Replacing equipment to increase efficiency is also of great importance. This ensures that faulty equipment in the laboratory is replaced. The faulty ones are normally prone to harming people in rampant accidents. Maintained equipment also provides good results during experiments in a laboratory hence efficiency is improved. This increases work output in a laboratory because there is eradication of flawed materials that could endanger people’s lives. According to the final paper on Quest Diagnostics (1), most diagnostic laboratories make use of machinery that has inefficiencies. These laboratories endanger human lives by delivering untrue results to their clients.

Effect of adopting thinking principles on laboratory running lean

The first principle of lean thinking is the identification of clients and specification of their worth. When laboratories delineate the value for their products and services from the client’s point of view, it becomes simpler to eliminate wastes. Diagnostic laboratories which adopt this first principle avoid so much wastage of resources in their business. They ensure that their customers get services that they need from the laboratories (National Research Council 40).

This has a positive effect on the running of laboratories because there is conservation of resources, which can be used in future by the company. Consequently, there is a realization of many ways that can be applied in order to get rid of any waste in the laboratory by the laboratory management. Further, future wastages by the laboratory are arrested in good time. If this first principle of lean thinking is applied in the running of any diagnostic laboratory then, as the first effect, there would be a better laboratory run (Protzman, Mayzell & Kerpchar 110)

The second principle is identifying and mapping the value stream, which is the collection of events in the laboratory ensuring release of laboratory merchandise. Here, laboratories decide on suitable delivery procedures of their services. After the relevant laboratory authorities have made the necessary decisions, running of the enterprise involves the next important stages. These specific stages result into increasing of the amount of products and services at the market which will be offered in the diagnostic laboratory.

According to Steve (98), the next principle is creation of flow by eliminating any waste that arises from production in the laboratories. The application of this principle results into improving the customer service; as a result more clients report positive feedback on the running of the laboratory. There should be more conservation of resources of the laboratory after observing this principle (Bell 28). Wastes that arise from over-production are arrested since there is no processing of services that could be considered inappropriate or unnecessary. Further, as a result there is a better choice of services offered at cheaper rates to the clients. This also increases the rates of the laboratory visiting by the clients, and, thus, increases profits for the laboratory.

According to Middleton & Sutton (168), responding to the pull of customers is the next important principle. It enables laboratory management to have knowledge of products which clients want and customize their production. Only services needed by customers shall be offered by the laboratory. This will affect running of the laboratory positively because the management will experience an easier time when dealing with their clients. Additionally, the running of the laboratories which observe this principle, becomes more affordable to the laboratories. This is because there is customization of services to individual clients and as a result no wastes are recorded.

The last principle is pursuit of perfection where laboratories engage in re-structuring their activities and eliminating more waste. The ultimate goal is value addition to the laboratory customers. When there is achievement of perfection even in running of the laboratory no wastages are recorded by the laboratory (Vasilash 59). The effect achieved here in the running of laboratory is creation of more wealth in the laboratory corporation because more clients come to the laboratory when they realize that there is observance of perfection. In running this diagnostic laboratory, well-established procedures are developed and more goals are realized.

Lean thinking is considered to be a management theory which can aid diagnostic laboratories to utilize less of the human labor. According to Vasilash (89), the principles save laboratories from using larger sums of money to devote in majorly in expensive work forces. The saved amounts can then be used to make alternative improvements within the diagnostic laboratory. With such improvements that can be made, laboratories can have a good reputation in the health industry.


It is paramount that necessary shifts are to be made in running varied enterprises including laboratory business. When institutions stick to old methods of undertaking their operations, they miss new opportunities that aid in achieving effectiveness. Diagnostic laboratories ought to embrace current changes in their running so that they serve people in a more improved manner. Necessary paradigm shifts ought to be taken in running of diagnostic laboratories in order to achieve better services for customers. In addition, laboratories need to be run in modernized ways and with commendable management because they are extremely important institutions in people’s lives. There should be adoption of lean thinking principles in modern laboratories’ running for fewer losses to occur in the laboratory organization.

Works Cited

Bell, Steve. Lean Enterprise Systems: Using It for Continuous Improvement. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. 2006. Print.

Ghosh, Michael. Design rules, metaroutines, and boundary objects: A framework for improving healthcare delivery systems. Montana: Montana State University, 2006. Print.

Graban, Mark. Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. New York, NY: CRC Press, 2011. Print.

Middleton, Paul & Sutton Jones. Lean software strategies: Proven techniques for managers and developers. New York, N.Y: Productivity Press, 2005. Print.

National Research Council (US). Bulletin of the National Research Council. Washington, D.C: National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009. Print.

Protzman, Charlie, George Mayzell, and Joyce Kerpchar. Leveraging Lean in Healthcare: Transforming Your Enterprise Into a High Quality Patient Care Delivery System. New York, NY: CRC Press, 2010. Print.

Quest diagnostics. Quest diagnostics at piper jaffray healthcare conference – final. (2008). Fair Disclosure Wire, pp. n/a. Web.

Vasilash, Godwin. “Think lean”. Automotive Design & Production, Vol. 108(9): 58-58.


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