Terms like organizational agility and business agility are all the rage nowadays. Companies need the ability to rapidly react and respond to changing business conditions, whether caused by shifts in the economic environment, new competitive threats, evolving customer expectations, or increased regulatory requirements.
The question, of course, is how to increase agility, particularly at large, complex enterprises with hundreds or thousands of employees working across geographic, functional, or divisional boundaries.
With that in mind, here are three tips to move any organization down the path toward increased agility.
Tags: Scaling Improvement
In healthcare, as in any organization, one of the major keys to success is the ability to retain qualified staff. Not only do engaged and capable employees deliver more discretionary effort to the business, but they also present a positive image of the organization to patients and their families and friends.
In the very competitive healthcare field, keeping trained staff members is crucial to avoiding employee overwork and burnout as well as the high costs of sourcing, hiring, and onboarding new employees. At year-end 2016, average hospital turnover rate was 16.2% as reported in the annual NSI Nursing Solutions, Inc. survey. Financial impact to the organization adds up quickly when “the average cost of turnover for a bedside RN ranges from $38,900 to $59,700 resulting in the average hospital losing $5.13M to $7.86M, annually.”
We at EON have been fortunate to work with a number of premier companies across a variety of industries. Two industries where we’ve done considerable work are chemicals/petro-chemicals and heavy process, which has allowed us to learn quite a bit about what it takes to make continuous improvement relevant and sustainable in environments that tend to be highly asset intensive. As one consultant I know once put it, it’s important to understand how CI works at a facility that is mostly pipes, vats and tanks. So, here are 3 tips for applying CI to the process industries.
Tags: Continuous Improvement
What is the pacemaker in a healthcare facility? Not a medical pacemaker device, but instead the process step that determines the rate of patient throughput. For most surgical hospitals, it is the operating room (OR). The number of patients in admissions, pre-op, post-op, waiting rooms, hospital beds, and on the road back home ties largely to the flow rate or patient cycle time through the operating room.
Over the past decade partnering with clients to design and deploy their continuous improvement models, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to successfully drive an approach that is both impactful and sustainable. And there’s no doubt that one of those success factors is to have certainty and alignment on CI program scope. Simply put, everyone in the organization needs to understand what’s in and what’s out when it comes to CI.
To be clear, I’m not saying that the scope of an organization’s CI program can’t evolve over time. It absolutely can and should evolve, particularly if it’s driving impactful business results. A perfect example of this evolution can be seen by looking at DuPont, a client that we worked for several years starting in 2009. DuPont made the decision starting in 2007 to evolve its CI model from a series of relatively disconnected and functionally-focused methodologies and tools to an integrated solution called the DuPont Production System (DPS). The focus for DPS at that time was on improving performance across its global network of 200+ plant sites. It was only after DuPont successfully deployed to most of these plants (and generated more than $2 billion in value capture) that they then expanded DPS to select transactional service functions and the end-to-end supply chain under the moniker “Demand-Led Fulfillment.”
Tags: Continuous Improvement
To some extent, the throughput of your healthcare facility can be measured based on “bodies on beds.” As in hotel operations, if you’re seeing low occupancy of your beds, you may not be pulling in the required revenue to cover your fixed operating costs.
Given that consideration, one of the key efforts that you may need to pursue to improve operational performance is to get a new patient into a bed or room as quickly as possible after the prior patient is able to be discharged. This process is known as patient room turnover.
When I asked one of the 2014 Industry Week Best Plants leaders the percentage of full time resources assigned to continuous improvement at his plant, his response was “everyone,” and he looked at me quizzically. “No, I realize everyone should be involved in CI work,” I replied, “But how many are fully devoted, dedicated resources?” He shook his head and still insisted they really didn’t look at continuous improvement support that way.