The Lean Journey (and Mass Vaccination Sites) at Munson Healthcare: Kaleb Foss and Butch Bowlby


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Kaleb Foss and Butch Bowlby

My guests for Episode #418 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast both work for Munson Healthcare in northern Michigan. They are Kaleb Foss, Continuous Improvement department manager, and Butch Bowlby, the system director of Pharmacy.

In this episode, we'll hear about their “Lean origin stories” and we'll hear about the approach to Lean and continuous improvement at Munson. We'll also take a fairly deep dive into the setup of their mass vaccination site (which they set up for employees with just six days' notice!).

Topics, questions, and links related to today's episode include:

  • Tell us a little about Munson Healthcare
  • What are your Lean origin stories? How did you get exposed to Lean and why is it important to you?
  • How would describe the approach to Lean or CI at Munson?
  • What does that idea of transformation and a management / operating system mean to you, Butch?
  • How would you describe some of the benefits or results that you've seen at Munson Healthcare?
    • Cultural indicators & language, root cause
    • Patient safety
    • Staff safety, psychological safety
  • Tell us about the challenge of setting up mass vaccination clinics
  • Looking at Zero Waste vs. Zero Harm goals
  • Why was standard work and evolving that SW so important?
  • Why and how has that focus shifted away from mass sites? What have you done to design a process for that?
  • Why and how has the focus shifted away from mass sites? What have you done to design a process for that?
  • What comes next for you and Munson??

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network

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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.


  1. Great work from both of you, as well as your teams. I’m curious as to what level most decisions were made , especially freezer sharing and branching out to physician groups.

    • Thanks Joe, much appreciated! All of our core decisions like freezer sharing and branching out to physician groups were developed and then vetted through our Vaccine Steering team. This was a core team of cross functional leaders in our Physician Network, Pharmacy, Quality and Safety, our System CMO, Community Health, Corporate Communications, Infections Disease and Continuous Improvement This allowed us to have team consensus and support. It also allowed alignment to our Sr. Leaders to know where we were in our decision making and and if barriers surfaced they could help remove them timely.


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