IET, Inc.
3539 Glendale Ave
Toledo, Ohio 43614

Case Study 2-01972

Tackling overhead costs in the laboratory.

IET demonstrated that industrial engineering tools and techniques can be used to improve indirect labor productivity in laboratory settings by providing detailed recommendations for lowering technician headcount by 25%.

The Customer

Novartis Consumer Health develops and manufactures a wide range of products that enhance the health and well-being of consumers.

The Challenge

Consumer health products demand strict quality control in manufacturing. Numerous laboratory tests are conducted on raw ingredients, in-process materials and finished products to ensure compliance with FDA and other regulatory requirements. One Novartis facility employed more than 25 Quality Control Lab Technicians to monitor product quality around the clock. Site management had been challenged to bring indirect labor costs in-line with other similar facilities and they wanted fresh ideas on how to do it.

The Solution

IET provided a team of engineers to measure and evaluate the work content of QC Lab Technicians. Utilizing work sampling techniques, IET’s engineers observed the technicians performing their normal work routines and recorded various work activities as value added, non-value added, or delays. Non-value added activities and delays were targeted for elimination or reduction. IET recommended various changes to improve productivity including the adoption of work standards, better work scheduling, improved workplace organization, eliminating distractions and shifting administrative duties away from technicians. In all, IET identified improvements that would allow the customer to reduce its laboratory technician headcount by 25% with zero capital spending.

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