Lean Lab projects at Patheon & Esseco

Patheon at Paperless Lab Academy

At the PLA2021 Europe, we´ll have the opportunity to walk along the project of reviewing laboratories processes aiming for lean management.

Roberto Rollini and Barbara Pirola will share with us their experiences and lessons learned from a 2 year project that has brought the laboratory to a next level of efficiency and compliance.

Lean management imply efficiency by reviewing and limiting all non added value activities

Lean Management and Lean Lab imply optimized efficiency, concomitant with the minimization of any activities that do not add value: namely, of the 8 different types of waste that result in unplanned laboratory “DOWNTIME”:
Defects, Overproduction, Waiting time, Non-engagement of all employees, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Extra processing Quality Resources Time Triangle

Lean Laboratory is a management and organisational approach derived from the principles of Lean Manufacturing – essentially, process optimisation driven.

Laboratories have different challenges compared to manufacturing environments; while most of the key principles of traditional lean still apply, there are many unique points to be adopted in laboratories which can be measured accordingly to the Quality, Time & Resources triangle in which costs invested, quality claimed and time implies for it should be balanced for an optimal productive process.

Listening to the lab people: one of the key asset for successful change management

“This type of project can’t start without listening and observing how the laboratory is working and understanding the company business priorities” comments Barbara. Actually, Barbara is now looking for initiating a new lean lab project at Esseco, where she has recently incorporate as Director QA/QC.

In fact, Barbara first initial findings are that even if a lot learn at the pantheon project can be easily implemented, she still has to sure that everyone is on board, ready for the change. Barbara will show us the first steps that have already been done yet she’s been careful in avoiding assumptions that one fits all.

On the other hand, Roberto is sharing the results of a 2 years project and confess that the commitment from the lab people was surprisingly positive. As soon as they understood the principles of lean management they started to proactively propose alternative solutions that could improve their daily work.

Barbara Pirola, director QA/QC at Esseco. About  20 years of experience in the Pharmaceutical field, FDA regulated. 10 years in leadership roles: Quality assurance manager, Quality Compliance Manager, Quality Control Manager in the pharma services at Patheon and now at Esseco. Enthusiastic manager who is recognised leader in driving Quality Culture and motivate teams to be best in class.


Esseco is a supplier of sulphur-based chemicals and sulphur by-products offering high performance and safety levels, as ensured by certified processes, continuous plant innovation and a constant focus on market needs.

Roberto Rollini, Sr Manager Practical Process Improvement – Operational Excellence at Patheon. Roberto considers himself a modern leader able to connect and to everyone at different level of the organisation. Very determined in achieving a mature lean status where Continuous Improvement is part of site’s day life. He is promoting  the culture of continuous improvement into the site making the change sustainable and effective.


Patheon is now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific which has been recently recognised with Six CMO Leadership Awards, wining across all six categories: Capabilities, Compatibility, Expertise, Quality, Reliability and Service.


Paperless Lab academy 2021 program

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