Lean and Continuous Improvement

Non-Manufacturing Example of High Performance Culture & Continuous Improvement!

Unfortunately, many people still think that continuous improvement, high performance cultures, and/or people-centric concepts are for manufacturing.  Those that do, are definitely missing out!

Point and case:  Scott Smith and I recently had the opportunity to visit and participate in a gemba (go & see) with Karla and Michelle from the Paris Dental Centre.  This is not your run of the mill dental office, and they certainly demonstrate that these concepts go well beyond the typical manufacturing environment!

Our gemba started at the main entrance at the front reception desk where the receptionists quickly greeted us with a smile and asked how they could help.  What was different than what I’m used to in a professional office was that their duties had been stream lined with the customer in mind.  How?  There were no phones!  They managed the direct face-to-face contact and relationship with their customers, rather than answering a continuously ringing phone line of incoming calls.  They focused on their customer, value streamed the roles/responsibilities, and created smooth flow.

As our gemba took us throughout the facility, it was obvious that 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain) principles were also in place as this rather large and very busy dental centre was orderly, and had effective visual controls throughout the facility.  Each of the main departments had visual team boards where the teams would conduct daily stand-ups to review their performance results, discuss ideas for improvement, and communicate important messages.  Even the dentists had their own board where they met daily to review performance and drive improvement in their work.  Standardized work was being implemented in the various roles throughout the office as well.

Now, are there opportunities to do more or to improve further, gain more engagement?  Of course!  We all have those opportunities!  What we have to remember is that continuous improvement, high performance or a people-centric organization is never ending.  Why?  Things are always changing!  Everyone on this journey hits the wall at some point and feels they are not progressing.  What’s important to reflect on is where you’ve come from, keep doing what’s working, tweak what’s not, and then keep plugging away at the next steps towards where you want to be.

Great job Paris Dental Centre, keep up the good work!

Cover picture:  From Paris Dental Centre – Michelle Vaandering, Karla Stonham, Heidi Burton Paris Dental Centre;   from HPS – Scott Smith

Similar topics: 

Gemba by any other name is… go & see! Gemba is NOT just for manufacturing processes!

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