As 2006 ends, I hope many of you had a GREAT lean year. Please add your comments about your lean accomplishments for the year, or at least one key lean accomplishment.
I was very fortunate to do a consulting project with a hospital laboratory. In a 14 week project, we significantly changed the lab layout for improved flow, implemented 5S and visual management, put new “standard work” in place, started a kanban system, and worked on learning to manage in a “lean way.” The team learned new problem solving methods (such as the “5 Whys” and started eliminating workarounds by fixing root cause problems.
It was just a start, but we reduced the lab Turnaround Time (lead time) by 35% without adding headcount while freeing up 250 square feet of space. Doctors (and patients) are more consistently getting test results on the patient chart on time for morning rounds (85% on time versus 60% on time), which makes them very happy.
The hospital is just starting their lean journey, in this department, and throughout the hospital. They know they are not “lean” and done after an initial project. They know it is an ongoing effort and a new way of operating. The beauty of the above results is that my client team did it. I helped, but I don’t deserve all the credit (nor will I claim it).
For that, and so much more, I’m very thankful for 2006.
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