Toyota has produced a series of videos that show how their innovations, technology and otherwise, have benefitted people outside of automobiles.
One video that caught my eye was their 80-second video about the use of Lean and the Toyota Production System principles to improve care at Allegheny General Hospital in Pennsylvania.
Update: The video seems to be no longer available, unfortunately.
Allegheny is the hospital where Dr. Richard Shannon did such innovative infection reduction work using Lean methods, as documented in sources including Naida Grunden's book The Pittsburgh Way to Efficient Healthcare: Improving Patient Care Using Toyota Based Methods. You can listen to my podcast with Naida here.
In the Toyota video, Nancy Banks explains that the Toyota Way is:
- Continuous Improvement and
- Respect for People
“If you have a process, you can improve it. That's what TPS is all about.”
She explains that errors and defects are often caused by inconsistency, waste, and overburden. Lean and TPS helps people reduce these problems in any setting, including healthcare. Some use the Japanese words of mura, muda, and muri. Often, the emphasis is on muda (waste), but it's important to focus on the other two. For example, overburden leads to errors or leads to people being forced to cut corners to be able to get things done, which also often leads to errors.
Until the “unintended acceleration” problems, Toyota has been known for and associated with high quality over the past 20 years or more. But, recently, this reputation has taken a nasty tumble.
In recent news, Toyota has been somewhat (or completely?) vindicated by the NASA report that shows none of the vehicle accidents were caused by electronics problems or throttle control problems (read this article from the outstanding writer Ed Wallace, from my local Fort Worth paper: “Mainstream media owe Toyota an apology“). Maybe now people have to be less apologetic for Toyota's association with quality improvement efforts? Maybe we can focus more on what's wrong with our opportunistic politicians and our oft-hysterical media? You might also want to listen to my recent podcast with Jeffrey Liker on this topic.
Is Toyota less of a dirty word in your organization with the recent reports? Or did you not even hear of this in the media? Or have people not been wound up about mentioning Toyota or TPS in your workplace?
What do you think of the Toyota video? Did you cringe at “we had to standardize everything” as an inaccurate oversimplification, as I did? I doubt they really standardized everything to the n-th degree, but rather they focused on things that mattered for patient outcomes and for freeing up nurse time for patient care.
People from the hospital mentioned how you're always making things better and you're improving everyday, with Lean and TPS – a powerful and important message. One woman added:
“Toyota has changed my outlook on healthcare. I have a lot of hope where I didn't have hope before.”
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