This is the subject of an email that landed in my inbox. The sender of the email was asking for real help. His wife, whom we will call Brenda was the sole proprietor of a business medical billing service. Because of the demand, she had not had a real vacation in 10 years and her workload was becoming unsustainable. Could I “Lean out her day-to-day processes and use that recaptured time to regain some center of balance?”
I met Brenda at her home office and within 3 hours, Brenda and I identified and categorized her product families, defined a data collection plan, and decided on 6 interventions to improve the process flow of her key processes. Three hours were enough to also teach Brenda the foundation of PDSA for experiments, ADKAR for change management, and the identification of defects to stop receiving them and passing them for process flow.
Two months after my visit, Brenda and I checked the results and her learning. She was ecstatic. Brenda told me about the impact of the interventions using the data collection system. She now provided her suppliers with real-time and specific feedback. Yes, feedback is a gift and they thanked her for that gift. Her suppliers reviewed their procedures and their training manual. All in all, Brenda had been able to slash hours of work by removing rework and reducing cycle times through some automation of her business processing work. Brenda’s eyes had opened up to see problems and solve problems. She told me “I had no idea there were so many defects. Now, I see defects everywhere, even in my kitchen!”
I hope Brenda and her husband have a good time on vacation.