The other day, I was reading the latest issue of Esquire magazine, with an interview with the famed actor Robert De Niro.
One thing he said reminded me of Lean and the Toyota Production System:
“Sometimes if you have financial restraints, it's a benefit. It forces you to come up with a more creative way.”
This is classic Toyota thinking. The idea of putting “creativity before capital” is a core mindset of the Lean approach.
Toyota, after WWII, didn't have a lot of resources. That financial situation led to the necessity of creativity and different thinking.
Hospitals, today, often ask for “more people, more space, more money” when there is a problem. Maybe this coming era will force hospitals to put creativity before capital? Seattle Children's Hospital has avoided $180 million in capital spending by using Lean methods and process improvement instead of just more money.
More hospitals can follow that lead. And we'll all be better off – patients, staff, and the hospitals.
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