I saw the following in a submission for a session at the 2012 Society for Health Systems conference, where I’m the Lean track chair.
One submission said the following:
“Lean efforts often succeed but do not always provide meaningful benefits”
What? If there are no meaningful benefits, how is that a success?
That’s mind boggling to me what anybody would consider their Lean efforts as “a success” if there are no benefits in safety, quality, waiting times, cost, staff morale, etc.
If somebody is gauging success in terms of how many projects they ran, how many value stream maps, they created, how many people they trained, or how much 5S they did, those are the wrong success measures.
You can have “meaningful benefits” without hard financial savings. I’m not equating “meaningful benefits” to short-term ROI, but there’s really no point to Lean if you aren’t making things better for patients, staff, physicians, and the healthcare organization itself. If there are no meaningful benefits, that’s not Lean, that’s L.A.M.E.
How else would you interpret that quote?
About LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Innovation and Improvement Services for KaiNexus.