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Extending 'Lean' Principles To Quality Systems

This article was originally published in The Silver Sheet

Executive Summary

ADOPTING “LEAN” MANUFACTURING may be an option for some device firms as they cut costs during rough economic times, but the concept should be extended to their quality systems to prove truly effective, experts say. “Don't make quality lean, but integrate quality throughout your lean process,” says Linda Lovett, a consultant who implemented lean quality methods at Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic subsidiary Kyphon. Meanwhile, another Medtronic division, Physio-Control, is optimistic it will soon clear up its FDA compliance problems in part because it is adopting lean quality, and small manufacturer Osmetech says it now closes CAPAs quicker because of the technique. “By applying that tool, I'm able to have regularly scheduled meetings for CAPAs,” says Bob Dicheck, VP of quality & regulatory for Osmetech.

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