Bob Emiliani’s Videos from Virginia Mason’s Visit to Wiremold in 2001

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Today, I'm sharing a link to some videos our good friend Bob Emiliani has uncovered and posted on his website. Back in November 2001, leaders from Virginia Mason Medical Center visited Wiremold, a manufacturing company whose Lean transformation was covered in Bob's book Better Thinking, Better Results.

Note: the videos are no longer available.

In the intro video, Wiremold CEO at the time, Art Byrne addresses the attendees, which including Dr. Gary Kaplan, then and current CEO of Virginia Mason. Byrne refers to Virginia Mason already having conducted some Rapid Process Improvement Workshops, focusing on what's similar across their industries, as opposed to what is different.

Check out all of the videos, 2 hours and 45 minutes total. Bob's site doesn't allow comments, but you can come back here and talk about it. Thanks to Bob and to Wiremold for sharing. I honestly haven't watched all the videos yet, but I wanted to share the videos… and I'll share notes below, adding to them as I watch more videos. There's a lot to dive into over the weekend.

Art Byrne's Introductory Remarks:

  • Art guesses that the “touch time,” or the percentage of time a nurse is actually working with patients is only 10 to 15%. That's actually about 30 to 35% in typical med/surg nursing units and that was the case at Virginia Mason (I know this from previous reading about VMMC). Virginia Mason has reported more than doubling that direct patient contact time, by improving systems and eliminating waste. Either way, I agree with Byrne that it's “ludicrous” to put skilled nurses into an environment where there is so much waste.
  • I love how Art says they need to get rid of the “but, but, but, but, but we're different” reaction, whether it's from other types of manufacturers or healthcare people.
  • Can you find the “least waste” way of doing things?

Art Byrne's Presentation, Part 1:

  • This is an overview presentation of Wiremold's Lean story and success, as of 2001. The 2nd edition of Bob's book, sadly, tells the story of how things changed at Wiremold after they were acquired and management changed.
  • Interesting how Art challenges the hospitals to try to run their business so that charity donations to them are “gravy” on top of operating revenue. Even non-profits need to generate money to fund the future of the organization.
  • He challenges the hospital leaders to find a way to get a 20% productivity improvement each and every year. I've heard other hospitals say the pre-Lean baseline is negative productivity improvement.
  • How could a hospital have a “profit-sharing” plan for employees to share in the success in the organization, like Wiremold had?
  • How many people in healthcare spend their time checking the work of other people? This is an enormous waste… it's not the best way to ensure quality.

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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.



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