I always thought manufacturing people were early risers. In my last manufacturing job, the factory started production at 5 AM and I started most days at 6:30 AM (I was an internal lean consultant). I sometimes surprised the teams by showing up at 5 AM (much earlier than their supervisors, which is a whole different blog posting).
Tuesday, I'm starting a lean assessment with a hospital laboratory. They are a 24/7 operation by nature, but their first shift phlebotomists (people who draw blood from patients) start arriving at 3 AM and the peak is between 4 and 5 AM, hence I'll have to arrive at 4 AM to follow the “activity of the product.”
I'm going to ask tomorrow, as I always do, “Why is it necessary to wake up sick patients at 4 AM? Is this really best for them as patients?” I'll try to report back the answer tomorrow night if I'm not too tired after my early start. I know the typical answers and I'll let you speculate on those reasons here, if you like (click comments), but I'll report something back tomorrow.
At the least, this is the furthest thing from “level loading” the lab. At worst, it's poor “customer service” (and patient satisfaction studies generally show complaints from early blood draws). Many hospitals are attempting to level load the blood draws to benefit both the lab and the patient.
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