While the CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) teams on television may be able to resolve a case in under an hour, real life criminal cases can take days, weeks, months, even years to finish.

And like many real life police units throughout the country, the police in Monroe County in western New York found themselves faced with a backlog of criminal cases involving DNA analysis.

To eliminate the backlog, decrease case turn-around time, and increase overall quality of lab reports, Monroe County outsourced the crime lab work to Sorenson Forensics. Sorenson is the first accredited forensics lab that offers Lean Six Sigma consulting services for DNA labs. They use the methodology to improve performance, efficiency, and quality. They indicate it has:

  • Helped them streamline casework reviews
  • Eliminated variation, defects, and waste
  • Created continuous, value-added flow

Now Sorenson consults with other forensic agencies to achieve the same results. The goal is to move caseloads through the system more efficiently, quickly, and accurately. Forensics investigators get results in days and weeks, rather than months.

According to Sorenson Forensics Executive Laboratory Director Tim Kupferschmid:

“A Lean Six Sigma process, when effectively implemented into a crime laboratory, results in a dramatic decrease in turn-around-time and the elimination of the existing backlog.” 

While results may vary, Sorenson suggests that using LSS reduces:

  • Operational costs (20% to 30%)
  • Rework (100%)
  • On-time delivery (100%)

Additionally, it improves customer and employee satisfaction.

Remarkable advances in DNA testing and high-tech diagnostics provides labs with the ability to dig deeper into crime scene evidence. The job is methodical and time consuming. The ability to decipher traces of evidence is complicated. Crime labs are “under the gun” to produce reliable evidence.

As with anything new, fear of change in a crime lab makes people nervous. Lean Six Sigma is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Management needs to be involved and support the changes every step of the way. Constant communication is imperative.

However, crime labs have found that LSS offers:

  • Increased team morale
  • Reduced lab-processing times
  • Reduced backlog
  • Increased output
  • Reduced errors

This is great news when you’re constantly up against deadlines. Even better, it results in more crimes solved and more criminals taken off the street.

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