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Throughput time improvement in a Contract Research Organisation

Client situation & approach

Our client is a Contract Research Organization (CRO) in the USA. Our client, a leader in the third-party contract testing field engaged us to improve the throughput time from sample receipt to COA approval. This environment is quite a challenging one given the paucity of forecast data and the need for a dynamic, flexible workforce to meet challenging customer turnaround times. Additional foci of the project included the creation of standardized roles and a robust and consistent capacity planning process. We supported in:

  • Short term assay-specific volatility levelling, increased flow dynamics and standardized work aligned to customer needs
  • Capacity planning process integrated with the client’s sample management IT system
  • Standard best practice approaches to visual management, 5S and consumable inventory management.




  • Re-engineered front-end framework resulted in priority samples reaching the testing laboratories faster (30-40%) without any retardation of routine samples, resulting in increased on-time delivery/customer service
  • Optimized capacity planning structure gave rise to significant decreases in workload volatility (20%), ensuring consistent and repeatable performance
  • A substantial increase in workforce flexibility (40%), ultimately contributing to greater customer service
  • Implementation of visual management, sample management, consumable inventory management and 5S / workplace organization systems improving overall productivity.