But take a look anyway, if you have an interest in process improvement in hospitals. This is a collection of my best posts on this topic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bullish on the Container Store

Quick, buy stock in the Container Store. As we continue with our expanded use of Lean process improvement techniques at BIDMC -- often originating from a BIDMC SPIRIT call-out -- a big part of each project seems to be reorganizing stuff. Here's an example from a recent exercise in our food service area.

The "before" picture shows you what things were like for the folks who organize and retrieve kitchen and serving supplies. Notice the mish-mosh of boxes, and look to see how hard it is for the staff member to reach the high shelf. Also, consider how dangerous it is for her to do so, with the chance of boxes falling on her head. The supplies themselves are kept in the original packing boxes, requiring someone to open a box each time something is needed. Only after opening the box, too, can they see if the inventory is running low.

The "after" picture shows you the change. Notice that the top shelf is now off-limits. Meanwhile, supplies have been organized in see-through containers, each with a clear label showing what is packed therein. The bins are easily pulled to permit removal of the supplies. And, because the original delivery boxes have been emptied, inventories are clear on a continuous basis.

As we say in the hospital world, this is not brain surgery, but it does require a thoughtful view of the work situation. That view, by the way, is constructed by the people who work in this area, not by some high ranking administrator. They get guidance from our Lean project team in the basic principles, but they are the ones who own the solution.

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