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Project Description

Illumina is a leader in technologies to advance genetic testing and improve human health.  One of its key units—a laboratory that provides DNA screening for health issues—faced challenges in performance, customer relations, growing competition, and new service introduction.  We were engaged to analyze and support improvement efforts, while building capability and mindset for continuous improvement.  A key requirement was to challenge the status quo, yet preserve the collegial culture of the lab.

Our initial assessment uncovered various process bottlenecks and client interface disconnects.  Pivotal’s popular Sigma Station simulation workshop proved to be an important early step to get buy-in on the need to challenge assumptions, boost efficiency, and improve service levels.  We facilitated mapping of the end-to-end lab “value stream,” and led a thorough review of improvement priorities.

Over the next two years, we coached project teams, advised change sponsors, led Kaizen events, trained Green and Black Belts, and validated impact on lab performance and culture.  Methods including 5S, Visual Management and Program/Portfolio Management helped integrate changes into day-to-day operations.  Pivotal also provided design support for layout and process flow as the lab moved to a new facility and prepared to expand services.

Project Results

  • Significant reduction in turnaround time, greater consistency in handling methods, improved customer relations (physicians submitting patient specimens for analysis)
  • Achievement of 98% on customer experience and product quality performance indicators
  • $3 million inventory reduction and 300% revenue growth
  • Smooth start-up and ongoing operations in relocation to new facility