Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Ipswich pigs teach the value of standardization

Standardization, or reduction of variation, is a big part of the Lean philosophy, and that was our topic today during our training workshops at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.  To illustrate the value of standardization in helping to bring about consistent quality of output with less effort, we employed the pig exercise.  Regular readers are familiar with it.  You can see the first of the sequence of three blog posts describing it here.  In part one, participants are asked to draw a pig on a grid, following oral instructions.  In part two, written instructions are provided.  In part three, the written instructions are accompanied by a picture of the desired work product.

Fortunately for his patients, resident Satheesh Iype is a better surgeon than artist.  With good humor, he accepted the friendly ribbing of the entire group at his depiction of a rabbit -- or goat -- or pig.

By round three, all participants were able to produce an accurate and speedy rendition of the desired pig design.

On a more serious note, Sateesh offered the following thoughts after the workshops and particularly after spending time at gemba, shadowing and observing workers in the hospital:

I think my greatest achievement [from this week] is a change in attitude.  I am taking a positive attitude.  Over the last two days, I have been observing other employees of the Trust, i.e Darren, the X-ray porter, and Tom, the HSDU stock manager.  I respect them even more and understand the important role they are playing in the process.  I see things with a different perspective and will try to take every effort to cut down time wasting.

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