A Brief Video Look into Lean at VIBCO


I may have shared this video before, but it's worth taking a quick video peek into one of my favorite companies – VIBCO. When I was living in Boston, I had the pleasure of visiting the gemba a few times and I was really impressed with the Lean culture, led by Karl Wadensten.

In the video, you'll see comments from visitors, including a surgeon, who could tell there was something powerful in the Lean culture at VIBCO.

The surgeon saw how elements of the Lean culture are transferrable and another visitors noticed how “non-hierarchical” the environment is.

The video:

VIBCO really seems to get it. They are obsessively customer focused and EVERY employee is working to make their job easier and they're working to eliminate waste. I've talked with the people on their shopfloor and their enthusiasm and passion is inspiring. The pride that you see in their eyes when they're showing you their kaizen improvements is impressive – we need to see more instances of that in healthcare – replacing environments where nurses and front-line staff aren't allowed to engage in continuous process improvement.

It's that sort of culture that healthcare leaders are trying to adopt with Lean. I visited VIBCO earlier this year with a group of 25 hospital leaders from Rhode Island and they all wanted to bottle up the environment and culture – they realized it required a new style of leadership and Karl articulates that very well during these visits. The hospital executives weren't buzzing about tools like 5S or kanban systems – they were buzzing about the culture. It's not easy and it's not a quick fix (it can't be bottled and it can't be bought), but the leaders seemed inspired to change.

You can listen to Karl on his “Lean Nation” radio program just about every weekday.

Other related videos:


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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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