We recently hosted Mr. Hideshi Yokoi, president of the Toyota Production System Support Center in Erlanger, Kentucky, and Mark Reich, a general manager at TPSSC. This is part of our own orientation to Lean process improvement. Together, we visited gemba and observed several hospital processes in action, looking for ways to reduce waste and reorganize work. It was fascinating to have such experts here and see things through their eyes. Mr. Yokoi's thoughts and observations are very, very clear, notwithstanding a command of English that is still a work in progress.
The highlight? At one point, we pointed out a new information system that we were thinking of putting into place to monitor and control the flow of certain inventory. Mr. Yokoi's wise response, suggesting otherwise, was:
"When you put problem in computer, box hide answer. Problem must be visible!"