Monday, November 29, 2010

And that includes you...

It is often said that 5S, the Japanese system of workplace organization, is for everyone. And that includes you, Mr/Mdm Healthcare Executive.

For example, today I have been working with the executive assistants of a large healthcare organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Of course these are people who owe their jobs to their very high level of function and exceptional organization skills. On the surface there may not appear to be much opportunity, until we stop to consider how valuable their time (and their bosses' time) is.

Okay, so they may not hoard paper and pens. (Well, maybe they do.) And everything is reasonably neat and clean. (Sort of.)

Tell me again why you can't get your feet under your desk. What about the placement of that printer? And what is that CPU doing on your desktop? When exactly was the last time you used that thing? Do you really need all these forms? If I had to do your job, where would I begin? I notice that you can't see each other (in your cubicles and private offices), so you rely on email and the telephone to communicate with each other. How is that working?

The point is that despite appearances there is plenty of room for improvement in the C-suite. 5S can free precious space and executive time and mitigate communication defects. Not to mention the power of leading by example...

It is not for nothing that 5S is called the foundation of lean healthcare. It prepares the environment for the implementation of standard work and ensures adherence to standard work when implementation is done.

The foundation stone is laid--where? In the C-suite, of course!

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