Editor's Buzz

Cross-training to Alleviate Workflow Bottlenecks

In our June Leadership & Staffing article, author Allison Champion describes her lab's cross-training program in which technicians develop capabilities in more than one area and adjust their focus as needed to alleviate workflow bottlenecks. In th

Pamela Ahlberg

In our June Leadership & Staffing article, author Allison Champion describes her lab's cross-training program in which technicians develop capabilities in more than one area and adjust their focus as needed to alleviate workflow bottlenecks.

In the July/August issue, author and lab manager Mark Gibson shares a similar story--describing the advantages garnered from a Six Sigma program that also included the creation of "flex analysts"--individual analysts whose tasks alter, or "flex," based on the workload.

"We realized that what we primarily needed was an individual geared for specific tasks, and not necessarily someone experienced and knowledgeable of the full spectrum of HPLC theory. As a lab manager and chemist, the idea made me feel a bit uncomfortable, as anything less than a fully trained instrument chemist would increase the opportunity for errors and rework. Yet, it was successful. Training our current lab analysts to perform basic process HPLC analysis allowed us to begin balancing our lab work load and enabled samples to move more smoothly through our processes," says Gibson.

Has your lab implemented anything similar? If so, what were the results? If not, what's stopping you?

Please share.