Waste Removal

Lean Biomanufacturing, Dr. Nigel J. Smart

The million dollar question in lean biomanufacturing is (drum roll please)….how can we go about removing all of that waste? Although the process seems rather grueling, trust in the fact that waste removal is beneficial to your research. Waste removal will have a major impact on your team’s overall biomanufacturing goals. Yes, sometimes various components of your research cannot be eliminated. And if that is found to be true within your specific case, you’re not alone. Many researchers find that some components are just too vital to eliminate. Especially when it comes to raw materials, as it is vital that you deliver and check for defects before they are put to use. With that being said, you cannot always eliminate waste, but you can most certainly minimize it as much as possible.

Now let’s get to it. It’s important to first eliminate components in your research that are most easily able to be eliminated, otherwise known as “low hanging fruit” components. Before going ahead and investing major time and effort into complex waste removal practices start with the materials that can most obviously be considered waste. Although this seems logical, many would be surprised at how many researchers overlook this step in lean biomanufacturing and instead strategize complex methods for removing harder to eliminate waste.

Don’t fall victim to this practice. Don’t overlook the obvious. The effort to remove the most obvious form of waste is much less than with the most technical waste removal processes that often come after.

At the same token, it’s important to understand which components will take too much effort and time, as those are probably not worth your time due to little return of investment or other unavoidable factors. A decision tree process is helpful in deciding what can or cannot be eliminated, but still, a certain level of skill and experience will be necessary in order for this technique to work. A tool like a Pareto curve will also help to identify how important it is to remove various materials or components from your work.

Of course with modern technology, researchers can readily identify many components of their methodologies more easily than in the past, which is another important aspect to remember in lean biomanufacturing.