Implementation of lean tools in a scientific research and development facility

De Luna, Raul
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Z Pulsed Power Facility of Sandia National Laboratories is facing many challenges with limited funding. The facility is expected to increase the number of experiments completed per year, while maintaining high quality of data output, with fewer resources available than in prior years. Consequently, Lean Six Sigma methodology was applied to analyze the current situation, define a future state, and generate detailed steps to be followed in order to reach these improvements. This paper focuses on two separate dimensions of potential improvements in R&D laboratories: effectiveness of the operations and efficiency of the system. Stage 1 focuses on effectiveness with an emphasis on standardization of operations for every department that interacts with the facility. Stage 2 focuses on the efficiency of the system. Once tasks are standardized, the value stream can be improved by analyzing the critical path of the process and sorting out non value-added activities based on customers' perspective. Lastly, Stage 3 is to progress in both dimensions, by continuously improving standard work procedures and the flow of value stream. The result is an improved R&D facility that is flexible enough for job variations within the standardized framework.

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Lean Six Sigma methodology, Process Stability, Scientific R&D laboratory
Mechanical Engineering