Operational Excellence Mixtape: April 10, 2020


Thanks as always to Ryan McCormack for this…

Healthcare – Creating Value for Patients

Healthcare and hospital staff around the world are working tirelessly to provide care during this crisis. I thank everyone that is selflessly sacrificing in service to all of us.  We all deeply appreciate you and your dedication to the mission of healthcare. Thank you.

Operational Excellence

I've long been a proponent of daily operational huddles as a foundational habit for operational excellence.  Now, with the proliferation of distributed work, the daily huddle is more important than ever.

There is a bunch of stories faulting lean for shortages of critical equipment during the current crisis, mostly referring to Just-In-Time systems and an obsession with zero inventories.  Mark Graban reminds us that lean does not mean low inventory, and it is simplistic to blame lean for these shortages. 

The Toyota Production System can help non profits.  Here's a story about how Jamie Bonini and Toyota Production System Support Centre (TSSC) is helping food banks to create more meals, improving outcomes at a children's hospital, and help speed up recovery processes after disasters

Many of us have been thrust into a distributed workplace and are figuring out its unique challenges. Candor, openness, and engagement are just as important in distributed work. Amy Edmondson shares the power of psychological safety for distributed workplaces.  

There's more to root cause analysis than asking why 5 times.  Farnam Street on Proximate vs. Root Cause: Why You Should Keep Digging.

Leading & Enabling Excellence

AN interesting study in psychological safety this month as the Navy contributes to a culture of fear when they relieve Captain Crozier, the Commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, from duty for sounding the alarm about the safety of his crew.   In the days following, the crew cheers him as he leaves the ship, while the Acting Navy Secretary calls him ‘stupid'.  

You can't check in too often with remote employees.

Coaching – Developing Self & Others

With conferences everywhere are canceled and being replaced with online collaborations, the question remains, “do conferences facilitate collaboration and networking?  According to these studies – yes

I know several people who practice “bullet journaling” as part of their routines and standard work.  I may give it a try.

Books, Podcasts, Videos

The Improvement Kata in 10 minutes.

I found several OpEx lessons at play in the popular Netflix docuseries How to Fix a Drug Scandal on Netflix, a popular docuseries, 

I recently read Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything, and What's Your Problem: To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve.  These are both serviceable books on problem solving for opex practitioners.  Both are more accessible than typical LSS or A3 texts, but are strong on business case and weak on experimental methods.  I recommend them as useful consulting guides.  I did a 1000 character review of BPS here

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Ryan McCormack
Ryan is an operational excellence professional with over 18 years experience practicing continuous improvement in healthcare, insurance, food manufacturing, and aerospace. He is an avid student of the application of Lean principles in work and life to create measurably better value.


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