How Much Value Are You ACTUALLY Providing to Your Lab Customers?

To help aid in transforming your laboratory into a highly efficient and streamlined operation, you will need a thorough understanding of every activity that is done in every workflow of your lab, and how much value each activity adds to your organization. Lean Six Sigma uses a strict filter to categorize laboratory activities into three distinctive categories: Value-Add, Waste, and Incidental.

1. Value-Add Activities

You’d be very surprised to learn that most of the work you do in your lab is not value add (in fact, more than 90% of it is probably incidental or waste). To be considered value add, an activity must meet all three of the following criteria:

  • Your customer must be willing to pay for the activity
  • It changes the form, fit, or function of a product or service (ie. converts input to output)
  • It must not fall into any of the categories of the 7 Wastes


All great laboratories are constantly working towards eliminating wasteful activities. While it is next to impossible to completely eradicate all waste, the pursuit of eliminating it will always make your testing more efficient. There are 7 types of waste:

  • Redos/Defects/Quality Errors
  • Motion
  • Extra-Processing
  • Waiting
  • Transportation
  • Work in Progress & Extra Inventory
  • Overproduction

You can read more about what each one of these wastes mean here....

3. Incidental

Incidental activities are anything else that are not value-add or waste. It is a task that you must do in order to meet your client’s needs for the value-add part of your testing, but is not value-add in and of itself. A lot of QA/QC checks and accreditation requirements under ISO 17025, GMP/GLP/GxP, etc… would fall under this umbrella.

Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you comprehensively assess every process and activity in your laboratory from start to finish so you can start working towards focussing on the value-add, automating and optimizing your digital processes, and eliminating the waste!