Art Byrne from Wiremold / Lean Thinking


    Thanks to blog reader Osvaldo for passing this long. If you've read Lean Thinking or anything about Wiremold's lean journey and wondered about Art Byrne, here's an update on what he's doing today. Update: An oversight on my part, I should have mentioned Bob Emiliani's book Better Thinking, Better Results, more info here on Bob's website.

    In this profile, it talks about Art was injured very badly in a skiing accident. He's now involved in working with some hospitals to implement lean methods:

    Deeply grateful for the care he received at Saint Francis, Art made a very substantial gift to the Hospital in 2000. But for Art, that's only a beginning, and he wants to do more.

    “I can continue to give Saint Francis money,” he says, “and I've actually put the Hospital in my will. So, if something happens to me, Saint Francis gets taken care of anyway. But I think there's a bigger gift I can give.” Art goes on to explain about Kaizen, the system of process management or lean thinking he brought to Wiremold and applied with spectacular results. Kaizen is a methodology to improve every process to get the most from human and material resources.

    “The gains are astronomical,” he says, pointing out that improving systems and paperwork at the Hospital would help free more time for nurses to care for patients and for doctors to practice medicine – which is what they and their patients want them to do. Art offered to help, the administration of Saint Francis was interested, and the first Kaizen has already been held.

    “Hospitals have difficult circumstances – everybody is squeezing the health care dollar, so you have to run the business better. That's what I'd like to contribute. Then I'll know I've really given something back,” Art concludes

    From this, it sounds like they are using Kaizen Events. I hope they are also using other systematic lean improvement methods (and lean management) to make sure they are not just getting isolated improvements. It's great to see Art is doing better and is giving back with his lean experience.

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. Wow. If those of us that are in healthcare can get a heavyweight like Art Byrne on our side, and if some of his lessons and successes can be brought to our world, we have a chance to do something spectacular.


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