Monday, August 10, 2009

Problem must be visible!

Well, back to work after some weekend diversions!

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!"


Anonymous said...

Speaking of making problems visible, what do you think of the news reports about 200,000 deaths from medical errors?

Your fellow blogger, Mark Graban, has been writing about this. Curious about your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Transparency is key, both for an individual institution and for society as a whole.

Hal Amens said...

Managed a project for Toyota. They really know lean. Was allowed 3 pages for final report, two of which had to be mostly graphics. Forced clarity of thinking. Healthcare needs more of this kind of thinking.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Yokoi's vision is so true of society today. All have become too dependent on the "box". Although the "box" can be utilized to help in the research process to improve the "Quality of Services" within an organization, an automated database program is only as good as the lines of codes within that specific program.

In a global competitive market, it is critical for an organization to not be so dependent on machines to catch a flaw within a specific process. A machine cannot see everything that the human eyes can see.

With the right humans (well educated and who understand that quality improvement within any process requires continuous observations and continuous changes to the processes) to make a process more efficient. The continuous observations and continuous changes in the processes can only be seen by the human mind.

A computer cannot be designed to replace the processes that our human mind considers in determining what our observation has shown us when we are properly educated and when we utilize some of the human processes that already exist in similar environments.

Mr. Levy, How has Mr. Yokoi’s wise response affected your organizations decision on whether to purchase a new information system to monitor and control your inventory?

I am an older student working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology Management at Western Kentucky University. I completed a 300 level Quality Management class this past summer. I am very excited about Quality, Lean, Six Sigma and other areas to improve an organizations ability to provide the best of services humanly possible.

I have no hospital experience. My career objective is to become a CEO of a hospital someday. My ambition doesn’t stop at being a CEO. I want to lead our team to earn the Malcolm Baldrige Award.

I understand this award is only available to the best of the best. Our team will be prepared to achieve this outstanding achievement.

A future hospital CEO,

Tim Manley

P.S. Within my Quality Assurance class, I learned that Toyota and the Japanese culture have opened the door to quality improvement in so many ways. How did you come to hear about Mr. Yokoi?

P.S.S. I have decided that I will research some of the hospitals that have obtained the Malcolm Baldrige Award to help our team prepare for the process to achieve this Great reward.

I will always remember that the quality of service provided to everyone, both the internal as well as the external customers, will always require continuous improvement.

“Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn't do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.” -- Vince Lombardi