VA Pittsburgh Definition of TPS


VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Toyota Production System

Here is a nice succinct definition of the Veteran's Affairs hospital production system in Pittsburgh. It draws on the work of Spear and Bowen and their “Decoding the DNA” definition of TPS.

The definition lists the technical tools of Lean, but more importantly includes this gem:

Every worker is viewed as having the right to perform meaningful work under the guidance of a teacher to meet customer needs.

The Toyota Production System is a system: its parts and organizing principles depend on each other to work. Thus TPS must be implemented as a system in order to function.

Lean as a system, respect for people — very important concepts if you're using Lean or thinking Lean.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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