Lean workflow cycle

Most organizations understand the importance of investing in a lean or process improvement central office. What is not so clear is how to strategically develop both the senior leadership  and the lean team for the key roles and the multiple skills required in the evolution of an organizations lean transformation. This session will explain the blue print that Lee Memorial Health System has used to architect the lean management system deployment, and how the process of people development begins with and is sustained by the lean office development process.  Hear from practicing lean specialists that began with diverse backgrounds from no healthcare experience or no lean experience, to become accomplished lean healthcare practitioners.

An example of poka-yoke in action: A large amount of workflows in a payroll process were being terminated abruptly. Users were provided with a standard set of action buttons for each step: “Approve to Next” and “Approve to Close.” The former approved the step and sent the workflow forward, while the latter approved and closed the workflow. The cause for the high number of terminations was the confusing nomenclature on the buttons. The issue was resolved by providing mouse-over texts on both the buttons clearly labeling the scenarios when each should be used.

If we let the person who’s best at performing the “specify” function handle more of that work, then we may also need to coordinate handoffs between ourselves. Adding the specify-complete column communicates to the team that a work item which was previously in the specify state is now ready to be pulled by anyone who wants to move it to the execute state. Work that is still in the specify state is not eligible to be pulled yet. If the owner of a ticket in the specify state wants to hand it off, he can put it in the complete buffer. If he doesn’t want to hand it off, he can move it directly into the execute state as long as capacity is available. It might be that the execute state is full, and the only eligible work is to pull another ticket from the ready queue into specify.

Caveat:   Blitzes are all too often un-targeted, .  done with little concern as to the overall impact on the total company.   The results of such un-focused blitzes typically have a significant local impact, microcosms of excellence , but little or no impact on overall company well being.   See “Solutions Looking for a Problem” below.

  • Blow-Through BOM’s (Bills of Material):   Many “assembled product” manufacturers need to maintain subassembly identity, and/or control configuration, for replacement parts.   In these circumstances, rather than have a flat bill of material, it is much more practical to continue to show all subassembly levels on the bill of material. A “Blow Through” level, allows the subassembly’s parts to be called out, for kitting or backflush purposes, on the next higher level assembly.   The MRP algorithm “blows through” .  treats the subassembly’s parts as if they were called out on the next higher-level assembly.
  • Boom-Bust Cycle:   Some Causes:   I just got off the phone with a steel finishing plant / distributor.   He said that their on-time delivery performance was terrible, and that their lead times had extended considerably.   When I mentioned some ways to fix this issue, his response was classic:   “The customers have learned to expect it”   “We can’t turn down orders.   We just promise what they want to hear, then beg forgiveness.” And what do the customers do in these situations?   You’ve go it!   They double order.   They order high “just in case”.   They ask for it early, knowing full well that it will be late.

    I try to apply “lean thinking” into all aspects of life, not just to work and certainly not just to construction projects (if you ever meet me in person, ask me to tell you how I manage my family’s weekly grocery list). When trying to inspire lean thinking in others, I encourage them to pick something that bugs them – it doesn’t matter what it is – and work their way backwards from there. The goal is to make life easier by reducing waste and/or add value; finding ways to simplify the process by speeding up or eliminating steps and handoffs wherever possible.

    Lean workflow cycle

    lean workflow cycle

    Caveat:   Blitzes are all too often un-targeted, .  done with little concern as to the overall impact on the total company.   The results of such un-focused blitzes typically have a significant local impact, microcosms of excellence , but little or no impact on overall company well being.   See “Solutions Looking for a Problem” below.

  • Blow-Through BOM’s (Bills of Material):   Many “assembled product” manufacturers need to maintain subassembly identity, and/or control configuration, for replacement parts.   In these circumstances, rather than have a flat bill of material, it is much more practical to continue to show all subassembly levels on the bill of material. A “Blow Through” level, allows the subassembly’s parts to be called out, for kitting or backflush purposes, on the next higher level assembly.   The MRP algorithm “blows through” .  treats the subassembly’s parts as if they were called out on the next higher-level assembly.
  • Boom-Bust Cycle:   Some Causes:   I just got off the phone with a steel finishing plant / distributor.   He said that their on-time delivery performance was terrible, and that their lead times had extended considerably.   When I mentioned some ways to fix this issue, his response was classic:   “The customers have learned to expect it”   “We can’t turn down orders.   We just promise what they want to hear, then beg forgiveness.” And what do the customers do in these situations?   You’ve go it!   They double order.   They order high “just in case”.   They ask for it early, knowing full well that it will be late.

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