A Trip to the Doctor’s Office

Friday, August 5th, 2011 : 0 Comments

Photograph by Cam Vilay

Today I accompanied a family member to see her doctor. We were about 10 minutes early, so I was pleased when, soon after we arrived, they called her name, and we were shown to an exam room. My first thought was that they run this office like my General Practitioner does – demand-driven pull. In more than ten years, my GP has never kept me waiting, and often will see me immediately when I arrive early. (Side note: I never feel rushed, and the staff is never frazzled. I credit her office policies and business practices for making this possible.)

However, that was not the situation today. We were kept waiting in the exam room for 50 minutes, without an explanation. It is understandable that a doctor could be running behind schedule, but failing to explain is not good business.

And this got me thinking about Lean and Pull, and the essential ingredient for success: Communication. Whether it is a doctor’s office, or a manufacturing facility, everyone is working on something. Productivity is critical, and so is progress. Communication is often the least expensive tool to use, and can reap a tremendous payback, relative to the time invested.

Want to make your Demand-Driven Lean implementation more effective? Try talking about the processes, and setting realistic expectations.

Your thoughts?

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