I was recently interviewed by a reporter at Becker’s Hospital Review and these are the articles, linked below, written for a hospital and operating room audience.
This first article came out fine, I think, although I’d take issue with Point #3 that you must “embrace technology” – a focus on technology isn’t strictly a Lean approach. That didn’t come from me.
Technology’s not bad, but it’s not always necessary. Toyota Way principle #8 says:
Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.
You can use technology and be Lean. You don’t have to use technology to be Lean. Technology “can” reduce the need for labor, but I’ve seen many cases where it does not reduce labor because the technology was bad or wasn’t integrated well into processes and the way work was done. You can eliminate the labor involved in manual inventory counts with a paper kanban system — technology might help,but it’s not a core part of the Lean approach. I’ve seen hospitals with amazing bar code-driven Lean inventory control, but such technology can actually hamper you if it’s not in line with your people or your processes.
I’ve seen many labs with automation technology that actually slowed the process and required just as much labor. Same is sometimes true in pharmacies. Nurses are often slowed terribly by poorly designed bar code scanners (for medication) or electronic medical record systems that don’t match their workflow.
This second article was driven more directly from my discussion with the reporter:
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