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The Challenge of Overcoming Success

Summary: A successful DNA testing laboratory that provides identification of contaminants for environmental monitoring services needed to grow its business without increasing operating expenses. A combination of theory of constraints (TOC), Six Sigma, and lean helped the laboratory take a holistic approach to process improvement. Improvements identified included redesigning the workflow and laboratory layout based on a refined understanding of customer needs, introducing new operating rules to better manage the interaction between the laboratory and other upstream and downstream processes, and minimizing the effects of customer sample preparation techniques. As a result of initial improvements, lab capacity more than doubled and overall business capacity increased by 25 percent with no staffing increases.

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