Lean and Six Sigma are being used in animal care. We’ll take a look at examples from Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana, and a veterinary article on how Lean can improve veterinary practice. We’ll finish with a short video overview of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services.


Using Lean Six Sigma to Improve the Cage Sanitation Process: Texas


In a paper titled “Using the Lean Six Sigma Methodology to Reduce Mouse Cage Sanitation Time for Animal Care and Use Programs,” authors Jamison V Kovach and Ansupa Dash discuss the use of Lean Six Sigma to increase the efficiency in the sanitation process for mouse cages.

The paper includes:

  • High-Level View of Cage Sanitation Process
  • Swim Lane Process Map of Cage Sanitation Process
  • Top Rated Causes of Waste in Cage Sanitation Process
  • Daily Schedule of Technician
  • Task-Specific Areas in Cage Cleaning Area
  • Control Plan for Improved Cage Sanitation Process
  • Audit Checklist of Improved Process

You can read the paper here (click on Free PMC Full Text Link on the upper right).

[Citation: Kovach JV, Dash A. Using the Lean Six Sigma Methodology to Reduce Mouse Cage Sanitation Time for Animal Care and Use Programs. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2019;58(5):551-557. doi:10.30802/AALAS-JAALAS-18-000121]


Applying Lean Six Sigma to Reduce Euthanasia and Improve Adoptions: Louisiana


In an article from the NIST official Baldridge Blog titled “Some Animals Owe Their Lives to Kind Shelter Staff—and the Baldrige Criteria,” author Dawn Bailey discusses the Lean Six Sigma project that focused on reducing euthanasia and improving finding homes for dogs.

In the article, shelter director Robin Beaulieu said the Lean Six Sigma project was an introduction to the Baldrige Criteria, which provided "the overall framework and mental model that focused on systematic performance improvement and alignment of all of the activities.”

The pilot Lean Six Sigma project established the baseline for continuous improvement efforts.

Euthanize and adoption rates significantly improved from 2010 to 2013: euthanasia was reduced by 67% (8,077 to 5,433) and adoptions were increased by 75% (1,661 to 2,224).

You can read Dawn’s article here.


Using Lean Methodologies to Reduce the Animal Care Officers Backlog: Indiana


In a City of Indianapolis Office of Audit and Performance (OAP) Report on Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) Animal Care Officers (ACO), the report discusses the Lean Kaizen process improvement project conducted to develop recommendations for IACS to reduce the ACOs service call backlog.

The report includes:

  • Pie Chart of ACO Work Week Times
  • ACO Time Breakdown of Productivity vs Waste
  • Attachments
    • IACS Organization Chart
    • Animal Intake Process
    • ACO Wild Animal Response Process
    • ACO Deer Response Process
    • ACO Root Cause Analysis Ishikawa Diagram

The report states that implementing the recommendations would allow a reallocation of over $103,000 of resources and a reduction in call backlog.

You can access the report here.


Applying Lean to Improve Veterinary Practice


In an article titled “‘Lean’ Into Toyota’s Management Strategies to Improve Your Veterinary Clinic’s Performance,” Ivan Zak (Ivan Zakharenkov) veterinarian and founder of Veterinary Integrated Solutions discusses the application of Lean manufacturing to veterinary practice.

Dr. Zak gives an overview of Lean and introduces value stream mapping, kaizen, and just-in-time for veterinary practice

You can read Ivan’s article here.


Video Overview of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services


San Antonio’s Animal Care Services is one of the largest in the country.

You can watch the video overview here.

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