Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Implementing a Two-Bin KanBan System at St. Clair Hospital

As a final project for a Heinz College course on Healthcare Quality Improvement, a group of CMU students met with St. Clair Hospital (Mt. Lebanon, PA), to assist them with a Supply Room reorganization project modeled after the Toyota Kanban Two-Bin System.  The idea for this implementation came from the Seattle Children's hospital, which had undergone a similar reorganization with dramatic success ("Factory Efficiency Comes to the Hospital", NY Times).  Our group was specifically assisting in the final two "S's" of the 5s System, which is an integral part of any methlogical implementation based off of Toyota Production System principles.  Specifically, the 5s System includes:

5S Methodology 
  • Sorting
  • Straightening or Setting in Order
  • Sweeping or Shining (Cleaning up any loose items or garbage)
  • Standardizing
  • Sustaining the Practice 
In order to promote "Standardization" and "Sustaining the Practice", our team made recommendations that were quite similar to the changes undertaken by Starbucks when they also implemented TPS methodologies into their stores ("Latest Starbucks Buzzword: “Lean” Japanese Techniques", Wall Street Journal).  Starbucks recommended moving coffee beans closer to the coffee makers, as well as color-coding labels, which cut down in employee movements, as well as improved the quick identification of different materials.  In a similar fashion, we identified functional groups of materials that were often used together for specific procedures.  Some of these included:

    • CNA Supplies
    • Personal Care Items
    • Tape and bandages
    • Isolation/Infection Control supplies
    • Secretary Supplies
    • Needles
    • Oxygen Tubing
    • Suction/NG materials
    These materials were given specific colors, and the areas of shelving were labeled accordingly underneath the corresponding bins.  Eventually stray materials could be moved closer to their functional groups, which would reduce excess movement and time by nurses gathering items for a specific procedure.  These excess movements are non-value added waste, referred to as (muda) in TPS terminology (The Evolution of the Toyota Production System, IBSCDC).

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