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.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A final toast to IHI

Just when I thought it was safe to eat the oatmeal, I discovered problems with the bagels!  Readers from last year's IHI National Forum may recall my series of articles about the non-Lean system used to serve oatmeal at the conference facility.  That was a four-part series.  And remember, too, this Lean conference in Springfield, MA, where they had a problem serving the toast.

So, now, look at this set-up.  I first saw the potential for a problem when I came downstairs and noticed a really, really large number of bagels and one four-slice toaster per station.  I guessed that this would create backlogs.

And, voila!  When the people came to eat, sure enough.  Not enough toasters for the flow of traffic.  We had introduced a blocking batch process in what should have been a cleaner continuous process.  This creates waste, in the form of unnecessary time spent.

One of the hotel staff people saw me taking the pictures, and we started joking about the problem.  S/he said, "We used to have another toaster at each station, but the electrical circuitry in each socket got overloaded, so we had to remove one.  This back-up always happens."

This demonstrates that in a facility, Lean starts in the design.  The architect and electrical planner for this conference center did not have a full understanding of how the building would be used.  Waste built in is waste that lasts forever.  Another lesson to those in health care.

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