Every Department (QC, QA, R&D, RA, Manufacturing, etc.) has its share of non-routine work that must be completed. This can include new instrument qualifications, method validations/transfers, SOP reviews, batch record updates, etc. It is easy for these tasks to get lost in the mix of all the other work. This is of course until there is a hard deadline or annual reviews are approaching! Then resources have to be dedicated to these non-routine projects to ensure that they are completed on time. While this is happening routine work is building up and once the project is cleared we have to set about dealing with the backlog.
Implementing a Real Lean project, with leveling, flow and standard work, gives us the tools needed to monitor and control the routine work of the department with exactly the required resources to meet the business’ needs. But a BSM Real Lean project goes a step further by providing designated flexible resources that can be used to complete the non-routine tasks.
Similar to routine work, best practice involves visually managing non-routine activities. In the simplest iteration the work should be visually listed alongside the routine work. On a weekly basis we should be briefly reviewing projects for due dates and upcoming required actions. Further improvements to this process include setting due dates for projects and assigning an expected amount of effort required to complete the project. For long projects spread over weeks or months we should develop interim milestones (with associated due dates) to ensure the project receives continual attention. This can also be useful for projects which are reliant on external people. It is very easy for documents to be sent out for review and ‘forgotten’ about until close to the due date.
By comprehensively managing the non-routine work we can make sure all activities get the required amount of attention and this will reduce the last minute push to get projects over the line. As part of a BSM Lean project we will help develop visual management solutions which include these non-routine activities.
This blog was written by Adrian Fegan, Principal Consultant at BSM-USA. If you would like further information on Managing Non-Routine work or any other aspect of Real Lean, send an email to Adrian Fegan.