Organizing Your Lab with Lean 6 Sigma Principles

This online course explains the use of Lean 6S principles in organizing the physical workplace for efficiency. The course shows how to eliminate the four types of waste: mistakes & reworks, excess inventory, unnecessary transporting and unnecessary motion. To accomplish this, the six sequential steps of Lean 6S are explained in detail and illustrated with photographs as well as graphics. Examples of Lean 6S initiatives at the State Hygienic Laboratory in Iowa reinforce the results that can be accomplished by employing these principles. Additionally, the course includes several interactive sections to engage the user. This course provides a solid basis for anyone who is considering the use of Lean 6S principles in the workplace.


Course Level

This is a basic, entry level course.

No prior knowledge of the subject is necessary to participate in this course.


Intended Audience

This course is useful for laboratory staff at all levels, from those in ancillary services to laboratory directors. Anyone who has ever found themselves buried in clutter or working in an unorganized or poorly organized space will be glad to learn the six simple steps that can lead them to a more efficient work environment. While this course is directed to laboratory personnel, it will also appeal to the broader audience described above.


Learning Objectives

After completion of this course, the participant will be able to:


Identify 6S as a form of LEAN management. 

Identify the steps/sequence of the 6S Process. 

Recognize and discuss the four forms of waste addressed by 6S principles.

Discuss the nature and importance of the planning process.

State the primary purpose of each step in the process. 

Describe key tools or methods used in each step.

Identify benefits achieved through the 6S process.



APHL would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following person in development of this course.



Lorelei Kurimski, MS

Certified Lean Master

Performance Excellence Consultant, State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa



The Elusive Lean Enterprise (2nd Edition). Gilpatrick, Keith and Furlong, Brian. 2007. Multi-Media Publications Inc. Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.


Five S Organizational Improvement Process. See, Richard. Lean Program Consultant, University of Iowa. 2009.

Retrieved on June 10, 2015 from


Waste Identification. See, Richard. Lean Program Consultant, University of Iowa. 2009. 

Retrieved on June 10, 2015 from



• Any external link provides additional information that is consistent with the intended purpose of APHL's site.

• APHL cannot attest to the accuracy of these sites.

• Linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement by APHL or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the site.

• You will be subject to the destination site's privacy policy when you follow the link.