Process as cause & effect & cause & …
Lean, as a method of improvement, we think, a bad rap. Let's clear a few things up with what we mean when we call ourselves a Lean Collective.
Lean is the outcome of E. Demming's work, applied by Toyota, and is solely focused on increasing value by improving the process through applying the scientific method to understand the current state of affairs, how we do what we do within the process, and what we are trying to achieve. We lead with questions, not answers. And we do so from the patrons/patients/customers/consumers point of view.
It sounds so simple--the customer isn't always right but their assessment of our production is the only way to measure our outcomes. We as non-for-profits all have the most noble of missions, visions, and values. However, and you might agree, that alone doesn't produce the effects we all burn to build. The same is true of Lean improvement activity.
Lean, on its own, doesn't do a damn thing. However, it does offer a structured, holistic, inclusive approach to change, measurement, tools, and methods of communications about goals, successes, and most vitally, it is driven by one key concept--WHY? Why are patients waiting 8 weeks to see their PCP? Why is my staff turnover twice as high this year versus last? Why is funding down?
Why is something not performing in the way we want and need? There is one way to answer that question--understand our reality and improve our processes to effect change.